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Our Library

Books, Scores and Recordings in the NESMS Library

Donated to us over the years by friends and well-wishers, contents of our Library can be consulted on the spot or borrowed free of charge by tutors, students and Friends of NESMS as well as music teachers employed by local authorities in the North East. 

For others there is a small fee.


Almost 8000 different items by over 2000 composers and arrangers, organised into some 40 broad musical categories by composer, from Irving Aaronson's The loveliest night of the year to Jan Zwart's Fantasie-toccatine for organ.  Excellent coverage of voice and keyboard, but woodwind, strings and brass are also quite well represented.

Some 500 titles such as Yehudi Menuhin's The Music of Man, dealing with music as a social and religious force around the various regions of the world, arranged by topic and sub-topic or aspect, eg Counterpoint as an aspect of Music Theory or Dance as a Musical Form.

Vinyl records are often cited as having a better quality sound than digital CDs or MP3 files, and typically perceived of as sounding both warmer and richer.  This is because, unless produced from digital masters, vinyl recordings are fully analogue and fully lossless, ie they source audio from the entire sound wave of a performance creating a physical impression of the sound on the disc in terms of textures, peaks and troughs.

Thus if played on a decent turntable with a decent needle (and leaving aside the problem of surface noise) they can represent different types of voice and instrument more accurately, especially in music with wide pitch variety such as classical music.

So for people who want to enjoy a 'full-fidelity' listening experience vinyl is the answer.  Which is why we have kept and will go on keeping our quite extensive collection until something better appears!

Mainly now a vinyl collection, but we also have numerous recordings on audio tape, and a few CDs featuring performers who are part of the NESMS family.  There are over 1400 LPs, EPs and 78s including 40 or so boxed sets, one of which is a beautiful collection of birdsong made for Queen Elisabeth of Belgium: Les oiseaux chanteurs de Laeken.

An extensive 'record library' donated by Dr Norman Cooper in the 1980s forms the nucleus of the vinyl collection.  Many scores and recordings were bequeathed to us by the late and much beloved Donald Hawksworth.  And thanks to the School's association with the eminent British diplomat, Sir Donald Logan, we have some very fine Soviet-era recordings of performances by, for example, David Oistrakh and Svyatoslav Richter.

Truly a labour of love, this remarkable collection was deposited at NESMS by Dr Alistair Allen, son of Mr R H Allen of Brighton and Hove, Sussex (hereafter RHA). RHA was a keen amateur musician and member, along with his wife and son, of numerous South coast ensembles. To assist the development of a repertoire for his musical companions, RHA personally arranged and transcribed individual parts for a wide range of instruments from the printed scores he had collected.

The original collection apparently consisted of some 720 sets of instrumental parts representing some 780 works by over 400 composers. In all we estimate that it contained some 3000 printed and 2500 MS parts, but to date we have on our shelves at NESMS only around 40% of the whole. Nevertheless what survives is remarkable for its depth, originality and sheer exuberance.

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