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21. Catalogue of music for H. R. H. the Duke of Cumberland’s private band

June 7, 2011

Catalogue of music for H. R. H. the Duke of Cumberland’s private band. Manuscript, in an unidentified hand, circa 1830. Cover

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“Catalogue of music for H. R. H. the Duke of Cumberland’s private band”
Manuscript, in an unidentified hand, circa 1830
Box 876

Within the larger Archive of predominantly vocal, keyboard, and chamber genres, music for the Duke of Cumberland’s band consists of hundreds of works for band and orchestra ensembles. Each work is represented by a complete set of parts for performers, printed or copyist’s manuscript, in an original folder with annotations and shelf marks.

The eighth child and fifth son of George III, Ernest Augustus (1771–1851) held the title Duke of Cumberland from 1799 and became King of Hanover in 1837. In his youth, Ernest Augustus attended the University of Göttingen, received military training in Hanover, and served in the Hanoverian army during the period of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars. After his return to England, Ernest Augustus remained active in politics and the military, and was often seen as a controversial figure, drawing allegations of both political misconduct and personal scandal.

The music of his private band reveals Ernest Augustus’s musical interests, and provides evidence of how larger works were circulated, adapted, and heard by audiences in private venues. The band’s music is typically for an ensemble of clarinets, flute, bassoons, serpent, horns, trumpets, trombone, and timpani. Some works include additional woodwind, brass, or percussion, and some are for orchestra with strings, or for chamber ensembles. Accompanying the music is this bound catalog, listing “Favourite pieces for playing” and “Military music,” each identified by title, composer, arranger, and shelf mark. Works include music for military band, arrangements of earlier music by Purcell, Handel, and Boyce, and arrangements of orchestra music by contemporary composers such as Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.

Though most music is undated, watermarks and conjectured dates span circa 1790–1812; a small amount of dated music extends this span from 1765 to 1834. The catalog volume itself is undated but contains paper watermarked 1812–1814.

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