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Past Images of the Month - April 2019

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BERLIOZ, Hector (b.La Côte-Saint-André, Isère, 11 December 1803; d.Paris, 8 March 1869)



CECIL HOPKINSON: A Bibliography of the Musical and Literary Works of HECTOR BERLIOZ (1803-1869), with Histories of the French Music Publishers concerned. Edinburgh, 1951.


(Please click the thumbnails below to view larger image)

Together with Jacques Barzun's almost exactly contemporary biography, Berlioz and the Romantic Century (Boston, Mass., 1950), this remarkable work marked a turning point in Berlioz studies.  First issued in a limited edition of 340 copies (plus a further 20 on handmade paper), it was the first major bibliographical study of a leading composer's published oeuvre.  This is copy No. 64.  A second expanded edition was published by Richard Macnutt in 1980.  Cecil Hopkinson (1898-1977) went on to publish ground-breaking bibliographies of Gluck (1959), John Field (1961), Puccini (New York, 1968) and Verdi (New York, 1973, 1978) as well as A Dictionary of Parisian Music Publishers (London, 1954) and other bibliographical papers and articles.  He gave his fine Berlioz collection to the National Library of Scotland in 1953.

In 1931 Hopkinson had founded The First Edition Bookshop, from 1934 publishing sixty-eight important catalogues of printed and manuscript music which remain valuable works of reference.

Cecil Hopkinson, seen here in his apartment at Albury Park, near Guildford, Surrey (his last home). Photograph by Jennie Walton, 1974.

Writing in The Times shortly after Hopkinson's death, Professor William Beattie, Librarian of the NLS said:

  1. "Ballet, opera, theatre, pantomime, concerts, films, travels especially in Italy, golf, Balzac and Zola, cherished homes in London and the South of England, the Army in which he had served in both wars of his time, retiring as Major - these, with a late devotion to the game of scrabble, are clear memories of Cecil Hopkinson.  To learn that he was ever a civil servant is a surprise, almost a shock."