The manuscripts and papers of the composer Alun Hoddinott (1929-2008) are a treasure trove for future researchers, holding a wealth of material comprising manuscript scores, scrapbooks, concert programmes and a large body of correspondence.
The scrapbooks in particular (some 60 in total), spanning the years 1941-2007, record his life from an early age, the contents of the earliest volume, 1941-1954, having been ‘collected by a ‘doting’ mother!’ They reflect the various aspects of his work as composer, teacher, writer, adjudicator and festival director, and include reviews of performances of his works, concert programmes, radio listings, visits and tours abroad, competitions, various festivals – notably the Cardiff Festival of Music of which he was co-founder, and all this in addition to his career as lecturer and later Professor of Music at Cardiff University.
Whilst giving an overall insight into his life and work, one also notes the significant events that helped shape his life, both on a personal and professional level. For example his mother’s scrapbook records his marriage in April 1953 to Rhiannon Huws, who’d been a fellow student at Cardiff and who was to become central to every aspect of his life. Also amongst his papers are innumerable letters from fellow-musicians and friends testifying to the Hoddinotts’ generous and exceptional hospitality.
The same scrap-book records his first major success as a composer when, at the 1954 Cheltenham Festival, Gervase de Peyer gave the first public performance of his Concerto no. 1 for clarinet and string orchestra with the Hallé Orchestra, under Sir John Barbirolli. This gave the young composer a national profile and started the long string of commissions by leading orchestras and soloists that continued throughout his life.
The Alun Hoddinott Archive is currently being catalogued.