Talented Tuesday: NZ Music Month #4

This is the last week of New Zealand Music Month and the final post in this series on resources to help you find out more about your musical ancestors.

Numerous heritage collections focus on New Zealand music including the Music Programme Collection, Music in Auckland scrapbooks (1890-1930), and the New Zealand Music scrapbooks (1960-1995). All of the materials are held at Sir George Grey Special Collections located at the Central Library.

To find information held in these music scrapbooks, use the Index Auckland database doing a keyword and/or name search. Each record provides you with a description of the folder's contents and the reference number for locating the item at Sir George Grey Special Collections.

Alfred Francis Hill (1870-1960), a gifted violinst ... is also acknowledged as "the first fully professional New Zealand composer" according to the Oxford History of New Zealand Music.

Mr Alfred Hill, composer. 1905.
Sir George Grey Special Collections
One of Hill's most important works is Hinemoa (1896), which was based on a traditional Maori legend. 

Music in Auckland Scrapbook, v.2, 1890-1930.
Sir George Grey Special Collections.

"It was the first European work to set Māori melodies on a traditional western harmonic context." The piece was given positive praise in both the music and Māori communities.

By searching Index Auckland with Alfred Hill's name, a performance review on of The Exhibition Orchestra and a 1904 review of the first concert by "the recently formed" Auckland Orchestral Society were found.

Index Auckland, Record ID 69996.
Index Auckland, Record ID 69886.

Another excellent database that has material  from Special Collections is the Ephemera Index. For those of you not familiar with the word ephemera,  it is a term for printed material originally intended to have a limited life-span, such as programmes,  posters, tickets, flyers and cards - which are essentially the typical items that are associated with musical events.

A quick keyword search for Hinemoa brought up a record for a "Grand Miscellaneous Programme", the folder contents state it includes the cantata Hinemoa by Alfred Hill.

For more information on the heritage music collection as well as all the unique material held in the Sir George Grey Special Collections, click here.

Good luck with finding your family's musicians.


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