What's in the Library?


  1. Printed sets of overtures, suites, rhapsodies, show selections, marches, waltzes, novelty pieces, theatre and film incidental music, signature tunes and single items in every kind of category. These are largely from music printed for sale in vast quantities from the late 1800s to the early 1960s to cater for the large number of municipal, seaside, spa and theatre orchestras still flourishing until well after WW2, and for the many light orchestras and ensembles featured on radio and television from the earliest days of broadcasting. This forms the core of the music sent out to LMS orchestras.
  2. British dance band music from the early 1920s through to the 1950s.
  3. Silent film music, written and published as “off the peg” music for use in cinemas until the advent of the “talkies” in the late 1920s.
  4. Special orchestral arrangements, particularly song backings, made for TV shows or commercial recordings. These are usually in manuscript.
  5. Special arrangements made for the BBC Northern Dance Orchestra. These are in manuscript and it is hoped they will soon be re-located in Manchester as part of the NDO project initiative.
  6. Thousands of individual printed song copies, dating from mid Victorian through to the present day.
  7. Novelty and “light” piano compositions, some as single pieces, some in albums.
  8. Theatre music including vocal scores and orchestral material for shows such as The Chocolate Soldier, The Cinema Star, Oh! Oh! Delphine and The Desert Song.
  9. Quite a large number of standard classical works

The library can therefore be split into roughly two categories; music likely to be used by orchestras and music of historical archive interest. 

The “hire” part of the library is probably around 5000 pieces. The orchestral music most likely to be required by orchestras includes the works of the “core” of light orchestral composers such as Eric Coates, Ernest Tomlinson, Leroy Anderson, Robert Farnon, Haydn Wood, Edward German, Albert Ketèlbey, Roger Quilter, Trevor Duncan, Peter Hope and others, individual “hits” by various composers, popular overtures, waltzes, marches and polkas from the Viennese composers, show and film selections and TV and film themes. Most of this is catalogued but not necessarily on a computer database. Currently the fully descriptive database lists about 2500 titles, but over 15000 other titles are listed in printed or handwritten catalogues. Cataloguing the remaining music is a priority but can only be done when there is time. 

In the LMS library are collections that came from Frank Cantell (conductor of the BBC West of England Light Orchestra), Kent County Music Service, Burnley Library, Durham County Music Library, the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, Fritz Spiegl (flautist and writer), Monia Liter (pianist and broadcaster in the 1940s), Walter Collins (composer and conductor), John Fox (composer and arranger), Max Jaffa (violinist), the V&A and other sources too numerous to mention.

For more information, fill in the form below and one of our team will get back to you. Alternatively, download the catalogue HERE.

Please check back soon as the catalogue is updated regularly.


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