Notable acquisition: Musical reminiscences of an old amateur
Richard Edgcumbe, 2nd earl of Mount Edgcumbe (1764-1839)
Musical reminiscences of an old amateur, chiefly respecting the Italian opera in England for fifty years, from 1773 to 1823. The second edition / continued to the present time.
London : W. Clarke, New Bond Street, 1827.
Acquired through the Lucie King Harris Book Fund for Music
Described as an English opera enthusiast and amateur composer, Mount Edgcumbe is said to have attended the King's Theatre, London, from the age of nine, and acquired sufficient musical skill to compose an opera, Zenobia. He recorded his experiences in Musical Reminiscences of an Old Amateur Chiefly Respecting the Italian Opera in England for Fifty Years, from 1773 to 1823 (London, 1824). Subsequent editions (1827, 1828, 1834/R) extended the period under discussion. The Reminiscences are a valuable complement to contemporary British writings such as those of Charles Burney and William Parke. Mount Edgcumbe's tastes were formed during the late 1770s and early 1780s and were reinforced during his European tour of 1783–5, when he visited Vienna and various Italian cities (he again travelled abroad in 1802). His vivid descriptions of the leading singers of the age, several of whom he knew personally, shed light on matters such as the allocation of roles. ~Grove Online