Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Miriam Hyde's letters

It is as though I have just heard from Miriam Hyde!

Miriam Hyde circa 1930's

The Australian composer (who featured in my book Women of Note) died in 2005 but today her daughter Christine Edwards contacted me to let me know Miriam's letters from 1932-1935 have been digitized by the National Library. Every envelope and page of the letters have been photographed and are now available to view.

Papers of Miriam Hyde, NLA. MS 5260-
Series 1/Subseries 1.1/File 21
The letters were written to her Adelaide family while Miriam was studying at the Royal College of Music in London. It was a momentous time for the young pianist and composer. She performed her own Piano Concertos with the London Philharmonic and London Symphony and studied composition with R.O. Morris. In fact she worked so hard she suffered a nervous breakdown and had to take a break form her studies.

In her email today Christine described the letters as "not only about her studies and the London music scene (concerts, new music etc) but much social history - the cost of clothes/food, transport from A to B, a pea soup fog, brief holidays with friends outside London, etc."

The 3399 pages of hand-written letters look something like this:

'Letter 3/9/35, Papers of Miriam Hyde, National Library of Australia, MS 5260.

Reading them gives an intimate insight into the mind and heart of this remarkable woman. It makes me want to listen to her music and read her autobiography and her chapter in Women of Note and just drench myself in her all over again!

The NLA collection also includes a detailed journal of the boat trip to London, letters to colleagues and scores of the works Miriam wrote during this time. It also includes correspondence with Currency Press  about the publication of Miriam's autobiography Complete Accord.

To check out this amazing resource for yourself go to
www.nla.gov.au/nla.obj-144170660/findingaid






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