C.B. Oldman prize 2018 (2017 publications)

The Oldman Prize is awarded to an author or joint authors of a work deemed to have made a significant contribution in the area of music bibliography or musicology in the year prior to its being awarded.

Final Short List 2018

Michael Allis (ed.). Granville Bantock’s letters to William Wallace and Ernest Newman, 1893-1921. Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2017.

Martin Bird (ed.). Hans Himself: Elgar and the Richter circle. Rickmansworth: Elgar Works, 2017. (Edward Elgar: collected correspondence)

Harold Haynes. Chamber music repertoire for amateur players. A guide to choosing works matching players’ abilities. Cambridge: SJ Music, 2017.

Thomas Schmidt, David Skinner and Katja Airaksinen-Monier (eds). The Anne Boleyn music book. Oxford: DIAMM Publications, 2017.

The winner

Michael Allis (ed.). Granville Bantock’s letters to William Wallace and Ernest Newman, 1893-1921. Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2017.


The book contains a long introduction, an extensive select bibliography and index. The letters, which cover the period 1893 – 1921, are arranged chronologically and fully annotated. Preceding the introduction, information on sources and their respective holdings in repositories is provided with a physical description of the collections and an overview of the categories of the type of material considered. Furthermore, editorial conventions are explained in detail, for example the way in which notational issues in letters with crossed out sections are dealt with, and the use of Arabic and Persian text.

A collection of nearly 300 of Bantock’s letters held at the National Library in Scotland and Birmingham University Library which were written to the Scottish composer, William Wallace, and the critic, Ernest Newman; they shed light on the personal and professional relationships between the three men and their contemporaries.

During the period covered by the letters Bantock worked with touring opera companies, was appointed Musical Director of the Tower Ballroom at New Brighton, and became principal of the Birmingham and Midland Institute School of Music and, subsequently, Professor of Music at Birmingham University.

The letters also include fascinating details of Bantock’s concert programming whilst in New Brighton, and discuss his opinions on other composers who were active at the time both in the UK and abroad.

The book makes an important contribution to our understanding of British Music and musical life before the Great War, and highlights Bantock’s and Wallace’s development of the British Symphonic Poem and their promotion of the young generation of British composers.

The committee is very pleased to present Michael Allis with the C.B. Oldman prize for this outstanding scholarly work.