Papers and musical scores of Geoffrey Bush

Scope and Content

This collection consists primarily of two boxes of printed scores of the original music and transcriptions/arrangements of Geoffrey Bush. The majority of his works appear to be represented (c1951-1993).

Also contained is one box of music manuscripts, consisting of:

i) Original compositions by Bush 1939-1943, 1988: Sinfonietta Concertante for cello and small orchestra 1941-1943; Variations on a theme by Ernest Walker for cello and pianoforte 1939; and Matthew's Tunes for cello (open strings) and piano 1988

ii) Arrangements of works by other composers n.d.: Dr. John Blow: Sonata in G arr. for two violins and basso continuo, incomplete, n.d; Dr. John Blow: Sonata in A arr. for two violins and basso continuo, incomplete, n.d.; William Boyce: Twelve sonatas arr. for two violins and basso continuo, incomplete, n.d.; Matthew Locke: Suite for string orchestra, arr. 1946; Gomer Pearce: Gavotte, arr. for piano, n.d.; Henry Purcell: Amphitryon or the Two Sosias scored for soprano and strings (incomplete) n.d.; Henry Purcell: Twelve Sonatas (1683 set), arr. for two violins and basso continuo (nos. 5, 6 and 11 only), incomplete, n.d.; Jean Sibelius: Symphony no. 4 (excerpt only, arr. for ?piano solo), incomplete, n.d.

Most of these scores are addressed or also attributed to W.[William] Francis Harvey of Tredegar, Monmouthshire, who appears to be an editor or collaborator of some kind.

iii) Miscellaneous manuscripts including copy ms of Albert Frinsella's Humoresque 'Rockets' for flute and piano n.d.

iv) Loose correspondence from Bush to Francis n.d.

Administrative / Biographical History

Geoffrey Bush (1920-1998) was born in London and entered musical life early as a chorister at Salisbury Cathedral. He was educated at Lancing College and Balliol College, Oxford, where he succeeded George Malcolm as Nettleship Scholar and was also Masefield Memorial Student in Music. As well as being awarded BMus (1940) and DMus (1946), he also received an MA in classics in 1947. During the war he was Assistant Warden at the Hostel of the Good Shepherd in Tredegar, Monmouthshire between 1941-1945. After the war he was based in the Extra-Mural Departments of Oxford and London Universities. He wrote extensively on English music, and also had a strong interest in editing and arranging, especially of neglected English composers.

In composing, Bush had no formal training, but received much help and inspiration from John Ireland. He did much composition specifically for the amateur musical community, and concentrated to a large extent on music for voices, producing solo songs as well as choral works. However, he also wrote two symphonies (1954 and 1957) and works for chamber groups and other ensembles, including pieces for oboe, clarinet, cello and piano. His best known works are the Concerto for Light Orchestra (1958), and the choral works A Christmas Cantata (1947), and In Praise of Mary (1955). He was Chairman of the Composers' Guild in 1957.


The papers are currently arranged into the following categories: i) printed scores of music by Bush; ii) manuscript scores of music by Bush; iii) manuscript scores of arrangements of various works of other composers by Bush; iv) miscellaneous manuscripts and v) correspondence.

Access Information

Usual EUL arrangements apply.


Listed by Charlotte Berry, Archivist, 23 January 2004 and encoded into EAD 28 May 2004.

Other Finding Aids

Currently unlisted.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual EUL restrictions apply.

Custodial History

Given anonymously to the music subject librarian, and transferred c2001.

Related Material

Other papers of Bush are held at: British Library Add 61885, MS Mus 83, Add 71042, Add 54396 and Add 60314


Geoffrey Bush, Left, Right and Centre, 1983, London: Thames (autobiography)