Reid Concerts Database project - 3rd anniversary

Three years ago on St Cecilia’s Day, November 22, 2013, the Reid Concerts online Database went ‘live’. 

The Reid Concerts Database was set up in May 2013 as an online resource to record the history of the Reid Concerts at the University of Edinburgh and to support my PhD research into the development and evolution of the concerts.    
(Further information about the project is given in the 2nd anniversary blog).   

The first entry in May 2013 was the  'College' Concert on 12 February 1841.  Since then a further 1475 concert programmes have been listed on the database. On this third anniversary of the site going ‘live’ I can report that data entry figures now show 4346 works, 819 composers and 1189 performers, up from 3150 works, 693 composers and 985 performers, on the second anniversary. New concert data and information about the concerts, performers and composers is being added every few days and the design of the site is regularly reviewed and revised.  

Small changes have been made to the design of the home page and the layout of the concert page has been tightened up to fit more data onto one web page or printed page.   New features have been added to expand the search options for visitors to the page.  It is now possible to search for composers by gender and nationality.   A facility has also been added to allow searches for the most active performers and the most performed composers (by concert), and within these categories it is possible to filter the data to identify specific time periods  I have included here examples of the top ten names over the period from 1841 to the present day (according to the available data).  

Most active performers:

Tovey, Donald Francis, 1875-1940 276
Fairbairn, Dr John 1903-1996 259
Newman, Sidney, 1906-1971 252
Baster, Miles 1935-2004 167
Jupp, William Watt, 1887-1959 112
Grierson, Mary Gardner, 1896-1964 101
Bunney, Herrick, 1915-1997 90
Hallé, Charles, 1819-1895 61
Edwards, David, 1936- 58
Patterson, Austin, 1942- 57

Most performed composeres (by concert)

Beethoven, Ludwig van, 1770-1827 465
Bach, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750 409
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 1756-1791 395
Brahms, Johannes, 1833-1897 255
Haydn, Joseph, 1732-1809 228
Schubert, Franz, 1797-1828 202
Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix, 1809-1847 170
Schumann, Robert, 1810-1856 143
Handel, George Frideric, 1685-1759 138
Dvořák, Antonín, 1841-1904 122          

Recent additions to the database include:

  • programmes from the Edinburgh Orchestral Festivals organised by Professor Oakeley between 1871 and 1891.    
  • programmes from the series  'Bach at St Cecilia's Hall', between 1970 and 1990 and from the opening of St Cecilia's Hall as the new home of the Russell Collection, in 1968. 
  • a selection of over 100 organ recital programmes from the 1990s.  
  • an advanced search for 'works' where you can select, for example, a composer and a work type, among other filter options.

The database is still very much a 'work in progress' and there is much more data yet to be entered.  The content is only as complete as the information available in the printed programmes.   There are gaps in the data and as a result many entries lack the year, the date, the time or the venue. The archive collection of Reid Concerts at the University of Edinburgh Centre for Research Collections is extensive, but there are gaps in the collection.  If you have, or if you know of, any Edinburgh University Historical Concert programmes from the 1920s, 30s or 40s I would be delighted to have this information. (I don’t need any of the Reid Orchestra programmes from this period.)  I am indebted to Anne Morrison at the Edinburgh Central Library Music Department for access to the Edinburgh Orchestral Festival programmes from the 1870s, 80s and 90s (data not available in the University archives).  These concerts were introduced by Professor Herbert Oakeley in support of the annual Reid Concerts from 1870 to 1891; the Festivals came to be known as 'Reid Festivals' offering at least three concerts each February.    My research period covers the first one hundred years from 1841 to 1941, but the database will eventually include Reid concerts up to the present day.   

I hope you are enjoying exploring the site and that you are finding it easy to use, using the variety of search options.  The timeline at the foot of the home page is added to less frequently but I do try to include important events when time allows.  All feedback and comments about the site are most welcome and if you can help me to fill any of the gaps in the data, I would be most grateful.   In particular I am aware that I have been unable (as yet) to find information about several of the musicians who have participated in the concerts over the years, many of whom were students or local musicians, both amateur and professional, and are listed on the database as ‘performers.’   Any information would be very much appreciated.  My thanks go to those who have already offered information about some of the less-well-known performers.  

If you would like to get in touch please email me or send me a message through Twitter or Facebook.  Thank you.