Charles Villiers Stanford Collection

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection of the musical manuscripts of the composer Charles Villiers Stanford was created by Dr Frederick Hudson. The collection is an assemblage of roughly seventy-five percent of Stanford's works and includes either originals, photocopies or microfilms of his works (see System of Arrangement below). As a composer Stanford wrote music of a varied type and covered most genres including symphonies, operas, chamber, concerto, piano and organ works, church music and choral works.

The archive also includes copies of Stanford's published books and articles, transcripts of some of his many letters to The Times as well as transcripts of letters sent to Stanford (but held elsewhere) which are organised alphabetically by author. A start was also commenced on building a sound archive and to this effect seventeen recordings have been included in the collection.

The catalogue of Stanford's works was completed in 1994 and includes extremely detailed notes to all his works including details on material held at Newcastle and elsewhere. Most entries consist of particulars of first performances as well as cross references to associated works and other notes in the catalogue. The catalogue is unpublished.

Administrative / Biographical History

Charles Villiers Stanford, composer and conductor, was born in Dublin in 1852. His father was John Stanford, a lawyer and examiner in the Court of Chancery and his mother was Mary, daughter of William Henn. Stanford showed an aptitude for music at an early age, composing his first piece of music aged eight and was encouraged by the amateur musical accomplishments of both his parents.He was educated at Bassett's school in Dublin and also at Queen's College, Cambridge where he studied classics. His father insisted he receive a general degree before concentrating on a professional life in music. His achievements in the musical life of the university were such that during the third year of his degree (1873) he was appointed organist of Trinity College and also became the conductor of the university choirs, combining them to form the Cambridge University Music Society. Having finished his degree in 1874, achieving a third in the University Tripos, he spent periods of time studying in Germany, initially with Carl H.C. Reinecke in Leipzig and later with Freidrich Kiel in Berlin until 1876. By 1875 he had produced his first piano pieces and his first symphony, which were all well received. He then went on to produce music in every form including symphonies, operas, chamber, concerto, piano and organ works, church music and choral works.

He was appointed as Professor of Composition at the Royal School of Music, London at its foundation in 1883 and began a long teaching career. In 1887 he was also appointed Professor of Music at Cambridge University, the same year that his Symphony no.3, (the "Irish"), earned him an international reputation. He held both posts jointly until 1923.

He was conductor and director of the English Bach Choir from 1885-1902 and the conductor of Leeds Philharmonic Society and Festival, 1901-1910.

He was knighted in 1902 and received honorary degrees from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge (Mus. D.), Durham (D.C.L.) and Leeds (LL.D.). He married Jane Witton in 1878 and died in London on 29 March 1924.

Apart from the composition and arrangement of works which are listed in Frederick Hudson's catalogue of Stanford's work (1994, unpublished), Stanford published various written works : Studies and memories (1908); Musical composition : a short treatise for students (1911); Pages from an unwritten diary (1914); A history of music co-authored with Cecil Forsyth (1916); Interludes, records and reflections (1922).


The collection of works by Stanford has been arranged in the following way :

  • CVS/A Oratorical Works
  • CVS/B Church Music
  • CVS/C Operas
  • CVS/D Theatre Music
  • CVS/E Symphonies
  • CVS/F Concertos and Solo Instruments with Orchestra
  • CVS/G Orchestral Music
  • CVS/H Chamber Music
  • CVS/I Pianoforte Solo
  • CVS/J Organ Solo
  • CVS/K Part songs
  • CVS/L Songs with Pianoforte
  • CVS/M Editions and Arrangements
  • CVS/N Books
  • CVS//O Essays and Articles
  • CVS/P Autograph Writings, Letters, etc.

Conditions Governing Access

Access is open to bona fide researchers; appointment in advance and proof of identity required.

Acquisition Information

In 1976 Dr Frederick Hudson, a member of the University of Newcastle's Department of Music, gave his collection of autograph and other manuscripts by Stanford, as well as some printed works and photocopies of Stanford's works to the University Library. They were given on the understanding that the accumulation of material would be continued in order to create a definitive collection of Stanford's works. This aim was never fully realised because of the scattering of Stanford's works and incomplete knowledge of all his compositions, however, the collection held at Newcastle could be said to be about seventy-five percent complete. This was achieved through the perseverance of Hudson and by the addition of copies of the works held in a variety of libraries and institutions including Cambridge and Oxford University Libraries, the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal School of Church Music and the publishers Stainer and Bell, Boosey and Hawks and Novello and Company. Hudson's catalogue of the works of Stanford and the holdings at University Library was completed in 1994.

In 1979 the publishers Stainer and Bell placed autographs of Stanford's works from their holdings on permanent loan to the University Library. This deposit consisted of the largest collection of Stanford's original manuscripts and is particularly rich in chamber music. It also consisted of one hundred and sixty autograph scores, including forty-one unpublished works.

The archive is still occasionally added to.


Description complied by Helen Arkwright, Manuscripts and Archives Librarian, February 2002.

Other Finding Aids

"A revised and extended catalogue of the works of Charles Villiers Stanford" by Frederick Hudson, Music Review vol. 37, 1976.

A new catalogue of the works of Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) complied from the original sources, by Frederick Hudson, 1994. Available in the Enright Reading Room ref. : CVS.

Conditions Governing Use


The library can provide photocopies (to a limit of 30 at any one time) for educational and private research purposes, provided the condition of the document does not prevent copying. Alternatively, photographic or digital images can be produced for educational and private research purposes. Please contact the Special Collections Librarian for further advice (email:


The copyright in Stanford's unpublished music resides in the Royal School of Church Music and permission to make published use or for any public performances of Stanford's unpublished works must be sought in writing from the School. The Special Collections Librarian (email: assist in the first instance to give advice pertaining to the use of Stanford's works.

Related Material

Royal College of Music:

Letters and autographs ref. : 4253; National Register of Archives ref. : NRA 38227 Stanford

British Library : Manuscripts Collections:

Correspondence with Macmillans, 1877-1922 ref. : Add MS 55239

British Library : Music Collections:

Letters to Edward Speyer, 1887-1917 ref. : Add MS 42233

Cambridge University Library : Dept. of Manuscripts and University Archives:

Letters to Novello and Company, 1870-1914 ref. : Add 9370

Leeds University, Brotherton Library:

Letters to Herbert Thompson, 1893-1922; National Register of Archives ref. : NRA 19566


A complete bibliography is available in F. Hudson's catalogue (1994). It should also be noted that Stanford has been a subject of many Master and Doctorate dissertations and of many published articles.

Sir Charles V. Stanford by John F. Porte. London : K. Paul, 1921.

Charles Villiers Stanford by H. Plunket Greene. London : Edward Arnold, 1935.

Life and works of Charles Villiers Stanford by Paul Rodmell. Aldershot : Ashgate, 2001.

Additional Information

Most of the material in the Stanford Collection is not an original copy and has been collated from copies held elsewhere. Full details are given in F. Hudson's catalogue (1994).