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Professor Edward Harold Davies (1867-1947) 
Papers 1887-1947

MSS 0059

Biographical Note

Professor Edward Harold DaviesEdward Harold Davies was born in England on 18 July 1867 and studied music under Joseph Bridge at Chester Cathedral while apprenticed to an architect. Following his brother Charles to South Australia in January 1887 he immediately became organist and choirmaster at Christ Church Kapunda and conducted musical societies there and in Gawler. He went back to England in 1890 to qualify as an Associate of the Royal College of Organists and on his return was appointed to St Peter’s Glenelg, then to St Paul’s Adelaide. From 1897 until 1919 he was organist and choirmaster at Kent Town Methodist Church. During these early years he undertook formal study at the University of Adelaide, graduating Mus.Bac. in 1896 and D.Mus in 1902, the first music doctorate to be conferred by an Australian university. At the same time he taught piano, organ, singing and composition privately and, later, class singing at Methodist Ladies College, before his appointment as Professor of Music at the University in succession to J.M. Ennis in 1919.

During his long service as Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Music, Davies was generous in his support of students and professional musicians, especially teachers, and tirelessly promoted serious music and the development of public taste and appreciation.  In addition to his directorship of the Elder Conservatorium and formal teaching of degree students he communicated with the general public through newspaper articles, lectures and many broadcast talks on music and on more general cultural and philosophical matters.

His leadership in many music activities was widely recognized. In 1902 he had founded the Adelaide Bach Society, of which he was conductor for thirty years, and he was the driving force behind the foundation of the South Australian Orchestra, the first performance of which he conducted in 1921.  He also played a major role in establishing the Australian Music Examinations Board and its university antecedents.  He was a member of four expeditions to Central Australia undertaken by the University Board for Anthropological Research between 1926 and 1930, and was the first person in Australia to record, transcribe and write about aboriginal tribal and ceremonial songs and singing.

Davies was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Music, London, in 1931, becoming, with Bernard Heinze and W. Arundel Orchard, the first musicians to be accorded that honour.  In 1934 the University of Western Australia awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Music.  He was still occupying the Chair when he died on 1 July 1947.  He had married Ina Jane Deland in 1893 and had three sons and two daughters.

Most of these papers were received in September 2003 from Mrs C.M. Cheesman, the younger daughter of E.Harold Davies.  The notebook on acoustics, the six notebooks relating to Davies’ recordings of aboriginal songs and music on expeditions in 1927, 1928 and 1929 and a few other items indicated by an asterisk (*) were originally deposited in the University Archives with other papers of the Elder Conservatorium in the 1980s, [Series 309], and were transferred to this collection in October 2003. The records of Aboriginal songs have been transferred from the Elder Music Library.

Additional papers of E. Harold Davies on Aboriginal music, and his baton, are held in the papers of Alison Holder MSS 0062, Series 8-11


Contents Listing

1.  Compositions, arrangements and arrangements 1887-1943. 8 cm
And I saw a new heaven: anthem for S.A.T.B. undated, ms
Pater noster. August 1897, ms
Untitled [Setting of Psalm 145 – Davies’ exercise for the degree of Mus.Bac.] c1896, ms
Te deum laudamus/To thee all angels/The glorious company/Thou art the King//Thou sittest at the right hand of God//Day by day/Vouchsafe, O Lord/O Lord, in Thee have I trusted. 1901, ms. [c.f Davies’ Mus.Doc exercise of 1902]
A musical service for the ceremony of initiation [separate books for 1st and 2nd tenor and 1st and 2nd bass parts] 1905, ms
Five songs of childhood (London, Novello, ©1912)
O Praise God in his holiness (London, Novello, undated)
The white peace.  undated, ms
Melodies in various keys and rhythms.  undated, ms
National songs. undated, ms.  2 v
The sandman. 1943, ms
Arrangements and songs [to words by others] c1887-1902 [most undated]: Only wait, Be strong, Let your light, Music incidental to ‘The Bells’, Break, break#, The nights, Friendship, The flowers of the forest, Humpty Dumpty#, Over the hills, I think of thee, The Merman (ms and printed copy).    [# denotes works written for the S.A.T.B.]
[Sketches for ‘Songs of childhood’]?
The Children's Bach / edited by E. Harold Davies. ((Melbourne: Allan &Co., 1933)
Johann Sebastian Bach
/ edited by E. Harold Davies (Melbourne: Allan &Co., c. 1933)  'This edition of the simplest Clavier-pieces of Johann Sebastian Bach is dedicated to the children of Australia ...'
J.S. Bach: 18 short works / selected and edited by E. Harold Davies (Melbourne: Allan &Co., c. 19344
See also Series 4 for notes on recordings of aboriginal music
National songs of the British isles / edited and arranged by E. Harold Davies (Melbourne: Allan & Co., c. 1935) Transferred from Music Library 2016.

2.  Commencement addresses 1922-47. 5 cm
Rhythm 1922
Backward Glances in Musical History 1926
Life and work 1928
The Ways of Study 1931
The Challenge of the Machine 1932
The Faculty of Music1933
Poetry and Music 1934
[My twentieth Year at the University] 1938
Values 1939
Teachers and Students 1940
John Sebastian Bach 1941
Taking Stock 1944
Musicianship - The One Thing Needful 1945
Things that Matter 1947

3.  Broadcasts, lectures and addresses  1903, 1926-47. 20 cm
[3.1 Public broadcasts on 5CL, 1930-32, 1934, 1936, 1940-45 and undated.
Various series of talks on music generally, on sound, taste, genius, composers, early music in South Australia; also a 1934 series on Public Examinations in Music; introduction to the A.M.E.B. broadcasts of 1940; war-time talks on Freedom, The standard of living, The what and the why of art, and Character; contribution to National Forum of the Air 1945; St. David’s Day talk on the music of Wales; Glimpses of musical life in the 18th century; etc.]

3.2 School broadcasts 1938-39, 1942.
The 'what’ and the 'why’ of music, undated [after 1937]; The meaning of scales May and June [no year]; In the composer’s workshop/Melody/Tune-building [series of 8 broadcasts] 1942

3.3 Lectures and addresses [some possibly also broadcasts, though not identified as such], 1903, 1924-47 [most undated].
These have been grouped into files Nature of Music, History of Music, Music (general), Music education, Broadcastings and music reproduction, Sounds and words, Life matters, philosophy and education, and Miscellaneous, based on an earlier arrangement by Davies’ biographer, Dr Doreen Bridges.  Titles within each file as reconstituted and a complete listing of all lecture and broadcast titles and commemoration addresses as originally compiled and classified by Dr Bridges is filed with the series.

3.4 Address in response to the Honorary degree conferred by the University of Western Australia, 28 April 1934]


4.  Notebooks and articles on aboriginal music and on recordings made on expeditions to Central Australia. 1927-47, with copies of songs recorded 1927-29 
4.1 Notebooks 1927-29. 6 v*
General notes on the expeditions to Alice Springs/Macdonald Downs and Hermannsburg/Central Australia and the songs and music recorded [2 v.], and more detailed notes on songs recorded on each of the expeditions to Hermannsburg (1929), Macumba and Alice Springs (1927), and Koonibba, Penong and Yardea (1929). Volume 1 of the notebooks contains at the back a draft of the article on Palaeolithic music published in 1927 and v. 2 has brief comments on the Coniston killings of October 1928]

4.2 Articles on aboriginal songs and music 1927-47. 4 items
‘Palaeolithic music’ The Musical times 1927; ‘Aboriginal songs of central and southern Australia’ Oceania 1932; ‘Music in primitive society’ The Anthropological Society of South Australia Campbell address, 1940 (typescript) and Music in primitive society (The Anthropological Society of South Australia Occasional publications no.2, 1947), with attached note from T.G.H. Strehlow 2 October 1946 referring to the paper.

4.3 Letter to Davies from E.M. v Hornbostel 1931 thanking him for discs of Arunta songs*

4.4 Copies of notes by Tindale on songs recorded at Adelaide, 1932 (Clarence Long series*)

4.5 Ewangelia Lukaka (Gospel of St Luke in Aranda), British and Foreign Bible Society, 1925*]

4.6 Three record set of 25 songs recorded on wax cylinders during expeditions to Central Australia (1927), Kooniba, SA (1928) and Hermannsburg, Central Australia (1929), manufactured by Columbia (PRX 6,7,8). Plus 2nd set pressed by Columbia Gramaphone (PRX 9, 10, 11). CD copies of both sets were made in 2012. Note: the recordings are described in Davies' article ‘Aboriginal songs of central and southern Australia’ Oceania v II no. 4 (1932) held in 4.2 above.

See also papers of Alison Holder MSS 0066, Series 8-11


5. Notebooks and notes. 1894, 1923 and undated. 6 v
School notes on acoustics (1894)*; notes for talk on Bach (undated); notes for Extension Lecture series on The structure and growth of music (1923); notes and published articles on the history of music and theatre in colonial South Australia; notes on the art of singing; notes and extracts from other writers on beauty and expression in music. Vol. 1 includes loose notes written on the back of printed advertisement for Davies’ private teaching

6.  Newspaper cuttings book 1910-45. 1 v
Comprising cuttings of articles by Davies c1910-13 and about him 1924 (in Brisbane) and 1947 (obituary).  Volume also includes loose cuttings re Walford Davies (mainly on his death in 1941) and award to Mrs Davies for service to the Red Cross Society; a copy of The Listener, January 1943, with an article on ‘The New Guinea scene’ by Evelyn Cheesman; and program of shipboard entertainments on R.M.S. Orvieto 1920, with reference to Miss Cheadle.

7.  Letters 1911, 1928 and undated. 4 items
Letter by Davies to Miss Gibb 28 December 1911, postcard from Bryceson Treharne, and letters to Davies by B. Wendlandt 14 March 1928 and (undated) from ‘Margaret’.
[these items were originally in the newspaper cuttings book]

8. ‘Rough log of my time England & the Continent Dec 24 [1927] - Mar 16 [1928]. 34 leaves, ms
Contains comments on concerts and lectures attended, his first impressions of broadcast music, meeting with Erich von Hornbostel, Karl Straube, Max Pauer, etc

9. Programs of concerts c1903-49
Farewell concert to Stanley Newman 6 December 19__ [Davies was accompanist to Newman]
Adelaide Bach Society performance of Hiawatha’s Wedding feast 12 November [1903?], together with a suite of 13 humorous drawings by [Stanley Newman]?
Elder Conservatorium social 12 April 1924 [program given to Molly Cheesman by Stroma Buttrose in 1982]
E. Harold Davies memorial concert 26 November 1949

10. How to write harmony: a guide for students [by E.H. Davies]
Typescript of work compiled c.19(?). Photocopy of original held by (?).

 

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