Category Archives: Libraries

Moore sources at the BnF

The BnF does not possess a dedicated ‘Moore Collection’, however the following music sources are extant in the Music Department, 2 rue Louvois: one copy each of Numbers 1 to 8 of the Irish Melodies, J. Power editions and one copy of each of the following individual songs all W. Power editions: Oh breathe not his name, The meeting of the waters, Oh for the swords of former time, No not more welcome and Eveleen’s Bower. Over fifty sources for arrangements and works inspired by Moore are also extant in the library (Louvois and Opéra sites). These include early printed editions of Berlioz’s Neuf Mélodies, selections from Félicien David’s two act opéra-comique Lalla Rouk arranged for voice with piano accompaniment and seven copies (including some duplicates) of The last rose of summer. Six of the extant arrangements of The last rose are for piano and are by the following composers: Mendelssohn, Sigismund Thalberg, Henri Cramer and Joseph Ascher. The single song arrangement extant in the collection is by Mme. Caroline Eugénie who is accredited with both the words and music for this arrangement. The lyrics of Eugénie’s French interpretation of The last rose are transcribed below:


La Dernière Rose
Dernière rose de l’été,
Hélas! tu fleuris solitaire:
Tes soeurs ont perdu leur beauté,
Leurs feuilles ont jonché la terre.
Nul bouton ne doit plus fleurir,
Tes compagnes se sont fanées!
Comme elle tu vas te flétrir au vent qui les a moissonnées!

Mais non, je ne laisserai pas
Se faner tes feuilles si belles:
Tes sours redoutent les frimats,
Il faut t’endormir avec elles!
Je veux disperser tes débris
Sur la couche froide et glacée
Qu couronne l’horizon gris,
Lorsque ta saison est passée!

Et moi, j’ai poursuivi longtemps
Les doux rêves de mon enfance;
Mais hélas! quand fuit le printemps,
Alors s’envole l’espérance!
Qui voudrait vivre lorsqu’il perd
Le coeur qu’il aima sans partage?
Pour moi, ce monde est un désert
Où nul n’entend plus mon langage.

This research trip was kindly and generously funded by an RIA Charlemont Grant.


Moore research: La Bibliothèque Nationale de France

In April/May I visited the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BnF) to carry out archival research for project ERIN; this was my first visit to the BnF and I needed to visit the Music Department and Bibliothèque-Musée de l’Opéra sites. Things to note before you go! The BnF is comprised of five branches which are open to the public: François-Mitterand (the main site), Richelieu-Louvois, Arsenal and Opéra. The music department is located at the Richelieu-Louvois site; 2 rue de Louvois.  Bourse is the closest metro stop.

BnF - Site Louvois

BnF – Site Louvois

Bibliothèque de l’Opéra is located on the second floor in the Musée de l’Opéra, Palais Garnier, Place de l’Opéra. Closest metro stop Opéra. This library houses historic documents relating to the Opéra Paris. You access the library via the museum; use the main entrance which is on the corner of rue Scribe and rue Auber. If you hold a BnF reader’s card you are admitted for free and can take in a tour of this elegant and impressive museum on your way to the library. Since some sources are stored in cages in the main museum access to these may be limited, consequently I would advise contacting the library in advance to make sure you can access the material you want ‘on’ the day of your planned visit.

Bibliothèque-Musée de l'Opéra National de Paris Palais Garnier

Bibliothèque-Musée de l’Opéra National de Paris Palais Garnier

Prior to visiting the BnF I completed an online form outlining the purpose of my visit and when I intended to visit. You can access this form on the website and following its submission you should receive an email reply confirming your application and providing you with further information about admission. Prior to my visit I contacted the music department via email to make sure I could access all sources relevant to my research. Consult the BnF’s website for information about admission, reading room times, closure dates, branch locations, contact information and how to obtain a reader’s card; a link to the library’s homepage is provided at the end of this blog.  I obtained my reader’s card from reader services (orientation des lecteurs) at the Richelieu branch.

This was most convenient for me as the Richelieu site is just across the road from the Louvois site.  You can also obtain a reader’s card at the Francois-Mitterand site. Different types of cards are available depending on how long you need access to the library. A 15 day reader’s card costs €45 and was sufficient for the purposes of my research trip which was 10 days in duration. While at reader services you will be asked some questions about why you wish to visit the library. Once the process is complete you receive your card immediately.  During my visit renovations were underway at the Richelieu site, consequently the entrance was located at 5 rue Vivienne.



The Music Department reading room is located on the fifth floor of the Louvois site. Lockers are available in the hallway, you are required to store your belongings (bags, coats etc.) here and due to security measures you may be asked to place any documents you wish to bring into the reading room into a clear plastic case. You will need a €1 or €2 coin for the lockers in the hallway. You may also use lockers available at the entrance to the reading room; no change is required for these.  Once in the reading room you present your reader’s card at the information desk marked ‘Acceuil et Retours’, you are then allocated a seat number. Your reader’s card is kept at the desk until you return all items and are ready to leave the library. To order items you fill in a white call slip (Demande de document) and present it to the duty librarian (Président de la salle) who is seated at the desk marked ‘Renseignements’. There is an average wait time of about 10-15 minutes before your order is retrieved. You can order a maximum of ten items at one time. Items with a call number beginning ‘RES’ are ‘Réserve’, to order these items you fill in a blue call slip (Demande de communication d’ouvrages de la réserve), you are required to consult ‘d’ouvrages de la réserve’ at specially designated tables, these items must be returned by 5pm. You can hold items for up to a week by filling in a yellow coloured ‘mis de côté’ form. If a document is available on microfilm you might not be given access to the original, or you may be required to first consult the microfilm copy. Access to original documents is at the discretion of the duty librarian (Président de la salle) and this request is considered on a case by case basis. Luckily I was allowed to consult all original documents while researching in the music department; my case was strengthened by the fact that I needed to ascertain if watermarks were evident on sources, consequently examination of the original documents was paramount to my research. If you need to leave the library temporarily, during the course of the one day, you fill in a blue coloured temporary leave form (Laissez-passer de sortie temporaire). All items are returned to the ‘Acceuil et Retours’ desk.

Facilities in the music department reading room include 4 PCs with internet access, 4 microfilm machines and copying facilities. There is a card catalogue available but  wi-fi was not available to readers. You may take photographs of sources with a camera or camera phone provided they are not for publication. Information about purchasing images for publication is available on the BnF website. If you plan on spending a full day at the Louvois it is worth noting that there is no café onsite. However there are a number of nice cafés dotted along rue de Vivienne; I recommend Le Pain de la Bourse, they do an amazing cappuccino which will boost energy levels for an afternoon of researching!!!!  Otherwise there are a number of coffee and snack vending machines located on various floors in the Louvois.


To access the Bibliothèque de l’Opéra go to the second floor of the museum, go left, then right and you will pass through a corridor displaying the contents of the library’s collection. At the end of the corridor you will find the entrance to the library, on your left. Ring the bell located to the top left of the big wooden doors marked “Bibliothèque”. Lockers are provided adjacent to the entrance and facilities include two microfilm machines and various card catalogues. The reading room is very ornate and bright. Three unlabelled portraits are displayed in the reading room, presumably depicting various performers of note. There is a restaurant onsite and there are many cafés and restaurants located nearby in Place de l’Opéra.  If you can, I would recommend making an effort to speak and correspond with library staff in French, this will make a good impression. I found the staff at the music department and Bibliothèque de l’Opéra to be most helpful and tolerant of the fact that I am not a native French speaker. This research trip did however afford me to the opportunity to quickly revise my French speaking skills – as they say – it was like riding a bike!

This research trip was kindly and generously funded by an RIA Charlemont Grant.


Library Review Series

Moore Collection

This month sees the beginning of a series of blogposts which will provide our readers with a review of what it is like to carry out archival research in the following European libraries: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Bayerische StaatsBibliothek, Royal Irish Academy Library, National Library of Ireland and British Library. I visited each of the libraries listed above between the months of April and July this year in order to carry out archival research on extant Moore sources. The purpose of my research was to catalogue works by Thomas Moore, or inspired by Moore, for inclusion on the ERIN online database catalogue, to examine various early printed editions of music for case studies which will be published on the ERIN website and to gather contextual information regarding Moore’s reception in Europe. Each repository has something unique to offer in this respect. Posts in this series will include advice about what preparations to make in advance of visiting these libraries and will provide information about what to expect when you arrive. I will also publish an overview of the sources I examined highlighting their significance within our research project.

Image Courtesy of Special Collections, McClay Library

Irish Song Project at Queen’s (by guest contributor Conor Caldwell)

The Irish Song Project at Queen’s University ( sought to redefine the parameters through we which we view the history of singing in Ireland. While the majority of studies of Irish song, such as Hugh Shields’ monumental Narrative Singing in Ireland, are rooted in an examination of texts, the Irish Song Project concentrated on melodic development.
A second innovation in the project was the attempt to redefine what is meant by the term ‘Irish song’. This term is loaded with connotations of a politico-religious nature, as well as being further complicated by aspects of eighteenth and nineteenth century social class and linguistic divisions in Irish society. In addressing the concept of Irish song, we mapped out a holistic approach which included many forms of music previously excluded from discussion in this field, including medieval plainchant, eighteenth century parlour songs and, of course, the works of Thomas Moore.
The historically contested nature of Moore’s work has led to his exclusion from considerations of ‘traditional’ singing in Ireland, with the poet occupying his own space in scholarly discussion. The overtly literate nature of his work, wedded with a performance aesthetic so widely popularised by the mid-twentieth century through singers such as John McCormack, caused further distantiation between Moore and the traditional music world.
However, Moore’s rehabilitation in recent years, firstly from within the art music community and more recently within traditional music circles has been aided by the breaking apart of the false oral/literate dichotomy that has existed in scholarship of Irish music. In particular, Julie Henigan’s elucidating Literacy and Orality in Eighteenth-Century Irish Song (2013), deconstructs this conceptual position and lays the foundations for a reconsideration of Moore as not only relevant within the context of the history of Irish song, but also, as has been considered by the Irish Song Project, an influence upon the emergence of a dance music canon throughout the nineteenth century.
In my next post, I will explore this idea further by looking at some musical examples from across Moore’s Irish Melodies which are demonstrative of Moore’s impact on this dance music canon.


10 February 2016

The McClay Library

The McClay Library, Queen’s University Belfast

My work often involves visiting library and archival institutions in order to view and examine manuscript and/or printed music collections relevant to my research.  It can sometimes be difficult to gain access to material, especially if it is very old or rare.  Understandably, libraries and archival institutions need to have rules and regulations in place for readers; these include terms for admission, rules of conduct while using their facilities and procedures for examining material.  It is necessary to be aware of reading room hours and to find out if you can or need to order items in advance of your visit.  All this will help you to plan and use your time more efficiently while there.

The McClay Library

Reading Room, Special Collections

During the past few months I have been carrying out research for our project in Special Collections & Archives at the McClay Library, Queen’s University Belfast.  The Special Collections Unit is located on the first floor of the library and provides an ideal environment for researchers.  The bright and spacious reading room has a seating capacity of 40. The Gibson-Massie-Moore collection is a very large archival resource so I always order items in advance of my visit; this practice not only assists library staff, giving them time to locate items, but also benefits me as I know the items I’ve ordered will be there when I arrive so I can start my work without delay.  The information desk is located directly beside the reading room and the excellent library staff are very helpful and approachable.  On arriving at the desk I present my staff card and then I am issued with a locker key which also includes a tag which you swipe to gain access to the reading room.  Readers can store their personal belongings in the lockers which are located to the right of the information desk.  Readers also have the option to book the seminar room which is very useful if a team of researchers wishes to meet to examine and discuss items of relevance to their research.

Moore Collection

Gibson-Massie-Moore Collection

Since our project is based at Queen’s we are very lucky that the majority of sources relevant to our research are located on campus. The ERIN research team would like to take this opportunity to thank Deirdre Wildy, Head of Special Collections, and all the staff at Special Collections for the constant assistance, support and co-operation shown to us throughout the course of our research project.  For more information about Special Collections & Archives please visit the link below.

Images Courtesy of Queen’s University Image Bank; Special Collections, The McClay Library, Queen’s University Belfast and Thomas Moore in Europe Blog