Aldeburgh Music Club archive

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection comprises papers of the Aldeburgh Music Club from its foundation in 1952 to 2008, including:

Annual general and committee meetings minutes 1952-2008, constitutions 1969-1982.

Subscription and finance book 1964-1983, financial papers 1985-1998.

Members' addresses c1952-c1984, choir attendance registers 1982-2008.

Choir rehearsal schedules 1997-2004, annual concert schedules 1976-1981 and 1988-2002.

Programmes 1954-1971 and 1985-2008, posters 1976-2004, press reviews and advertisements 1988-2008.

Correspondence files 1988-2002, AMC and Phoenix Singers collaborations file 1997-2001, Millennium Festival Awards for All file 1999-2000.

Photographs of various events and rehearsals 1975-2002, A brief history of the AMC by Patrick Walker 1994 and pencil sketches of Music Club members by Mary Potter c1952.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Aldeburgh Music Club was formed in 1952 by Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears for local musicians, amateur and professional, to meet together to make music. At the outset club members practised amongst themselves in three groups consisting of recorders, singers and strings, and then met up to play at Club nights about once a month. Club nights were first held at Britten's and Pears's home, Crag House, and were for members only, the audience being provided by the non-occupied musicians.

Imogen Holst joined the Music Club shortly after its formation and she remained a member until her death, first acting as conductor and then as vice-president. Britten and Pears took an active part in the Club in the early years and then, when pressure of work prevented this, they provided their support in the roles of vice-president and president.

The club gave its first public concert on 26th August 1953 in Aldeburgh Parish Church in aid of the Friends of the Aldeburgh Festival, and the next year singers and recorder players performed Music on the Meare at Thorpeness during the Aldeburgh Festival. For many years the club continued this pattern of holding regular Club nights and occasional public concerts which raised funds for various causes.

Over the years the instrumental side of the club dwindled, with the result that outside orchestras have been engaged for concerts since 1982. The club singers, however, performed increasingly demanding works in several concerts a year and standards were raised. As the number of singers and scale of concerts grew, the club, now a choral society, performed in larger venues, including for the first time in April 1995, the Snape Maltings Concert Hall.

The Aldeburgh Music Club has performed a great wealth of music, both sacred and secular, since its formation, and members continue to meet together for the enjoyment of making music and to present public concerts in Aldeburgh and elsewhere in East Suffolk.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for consultation. Please email enquiries@brittenpears.org to arrange an appointment to visit the reading room or for further queries.

Acquisition Information

The papers were deposited by the Aldeburgh Music Club.

Other Finding Aids

The collection is uncatalogued; however there are preliminary lists of each accession.

Bibliography

For further information on the Aldeburgh Music Club, the reader is referred to the following published items;

Aldeburgh Music Club 1952-2002 by Patrick Walker and Valerie Potter with Rosamund Strode, published in 2001 by the Aldeburgh Music Club.

Voices by the Sea by Wilfred J. Wren, Terence Dalton Limited, Suffolk, 1981.

Subjects

Corporate Names