The vinyl collection contains records owned and collected by Burgess, his son Andrew Burgess-Wilson (also known as Paolo Andrea), his second wife, Liana (née Macellari), and, possibly, his first wife Llewela (née Jones and known as Lynne). Approximately half of the collection dates from the 1960s, with just over 200 records dating from the 1970s and the remainder dating from the 1950s and 1980s. The majority of the collection consists of 33 1/3 rpm LPs, although there is a small amount of 45 rpm.
The collection comprises of music across 10 genres:
1) Brass and military: recordings of music associated with brass bands, marching, or music with military and war themes. (Approximately 8 LPs.)
2) Children's: music made primarily for children's listening, including nursery rhymes, fairy tales, children's stories and sing-alongs. (Approximately 16 LPs.)
3) Classical: recordings in the western concert tradition, opera, liturgical music, and the pre-Baroque repertoires of Western Europe. (Approximately 382 LPs.)
4) Education: recordings meant to be didactic or instructional, e.g. language courses.
5) Field-recordings: recordings made outside of a studio ("in the field"). (Approximately 8 LPs.)
6) Folk: recordings of traditional, folk, or world music from countries including Africa, Brazil, England, Ireland, Italy and Scotland. (Approximately 64 LPs.)
7) Jazz. (Approximately 53 LPs.)
8) Pop/Rock. (Approximately 36 LPs.)
9) Spoken word: recordings of drama, poetry and literature in performance as well as interviews. (Approximately 52 LPs.)
10) Stage/Screen: recordings of music associated with musicals or plays, and film/TV soundtracks. (Approximately 30 LPs.)
Classical music is the most well represented genre in the collection, with compositions by Bach, Bartók, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, Elgar, Handel, Liszt, Mahler, Mozart, Sibelius, Strauss, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, and Vaughan Williams being among the most prominent. There are various versions and interpretations of the same compositions by different conductors and orchestras, such as Debussy's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune and Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen [Ring Cycle]. Recordings by Sir John Barbirolli and the Hallé Orchestra are well represented, as are the works of Gilbert and Sullivan. The genre also includes liturgical music, such as recordings by the choirs of King's College Cambridge and Westminster Abbey, and approximately seven LPs of Gregorian chants, along with secular music of the pre-Baroque period, such as "City Gulls and Country Swains: An Elizabethan panorama in sound". Records in the classical music collection span the 1950s through to the 1980s, suggesting that this genre of music held a lasting appeal to Burgess and his family.
The folk collection includes recordings from Africa, Brazil, England, Ireland, Italy and Scotland, with Italian and Scottish folk music being the most prominent. Recordings of Scottish folk have been particularly well-used, presumably by Andrew Burgess-Wilson, and the sleeves of many of the LPs in this genre are in a noticeably poorer condition than those in the rest of the vinyl collection. Also, several of the record sleeves have been annotated, again presumably by Andrew Burgess-Wilson.
The majority of records in the jazz collection were released by the Pablo Records label, which was founded in 1973. Among the artists featured are Count Basie, Ray Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Milt Jackson, Joe Pass, Oscar Peterson, and many other prominent jazz artists of the 1970s. Many of these records are unopened display copies, indicated in the "Physical Description" field of the catalogue. A small number of records date from the 1950s and 1960s and feature artists such as Acker Bilk, Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby, Charlie Kunz, and Paul Robeson.
With one exception, all of the records in the Education genre relate in some form to language and speech. Alongside language courses in Breton, German, Occitan, Portuguese, Russian, and Scottish Gaelic, there are records relating to English dialects. Within the wider Spoken Word collection, there is an eclectic mix of poetry, drama, and literature in performance in English, Italian and Greek, as well as interviews and journalism. There are recordings of literature and drama written by Samuel Beckett, Anthony Burgess, William Congreve, Charles Dickens, James Joyce, William Golding, Ernest Hemingway, Edmond Rostand, Antoine De Saint-Exupéry, William Shakespeare, and H.G. Wells, and poems by Dante Alighieri, Lewis Carroll, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Eduardo De Filippo and Salvatore Di Giacomo, Edward Lear, Michael B Mannion, John Milton, Borìs Pasternàk, John Crowe Ransom, George Seferis and Dylan Thomas. Also, there are interviews/discussions with Malcolm Messiter and Julian Lloyd Webber, and two LPs from the "Sound on Film" series relating to Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation of A Clockwork Orange, featuring discussions with Malcolm McDowell and Anthony Burgess among others. The collection also includes an Italian documentary about the shooting of President John F. Kennedy.
Of the approximately 36 Pop/Rock records in the collection, artists include The Beatles, Georges Brassens, Noël Coward, Maria Teresa Grossman, Jean-Michel Jarre, Charlie Kunz, Frankie Lane and Domenico Modugno. Recordings are in English, French and Italian, and the majority date from the 1960s and 1970s.
The Stage/Screen genre contains recordings of cast albums / film soundtracks of works such as Carmen Jones, A Clockwork Orange, Cyrano the musical, Doctor Selavy's Magic Theatre, Or Swinging At The Stock Exchange, The King and I, Kismet, A Little Night Music, Man of La Mancha, Meet Me in St Louis, Moses, Pippin, Porgy and Bess, Promises Promises, and The Sound of Music. There are also compilation albums, e.g. Mario Lanza on Broadway.
The Children's collection contains a mixture of music, nursery rhymes and fairy tales in both English and Italian and was presumably purchased by or for Andrew Burgess-Wilson. The majority of records in this genre were released in the 1960s.
With one exception, all of the Field Recordings owned by Burgess and his family are from the BBC Wildlife Series and released between 1969 and 1971. They include recordings of birdsong, animal calls, and general "Sounds of the Countryside", which were compiled by the English naturalist Eric Simms.
The Brass and military genre dates largely from the 1960s and 1970s and consists of recordings of music associated with brass bands, marching, or music with military and war themes from England, Italy and Scotland.
A small number of LPs feature recordings of literature and music by Burgess. Among the works represented are A Clockwork Orange, Cyrano the musical, an unproduced film musical about the life of Shakespeare (working title: The Bawdy Bard / Baudy Bard), and Quatuor en hommage a Maurice Ravel, composed by Burgess for the Aighetta Quartet. The 1973 cast album of Doctor Selavy's Magic Theatre features sleeve notes by Burgess.