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Collection name Michael Heming Collection (1935-1963)
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Description A collection of one album concerning the life and music of Michael Heming, from 1935 to 1963.

Michael Heming was killed at El Alamein in 1942, aged 22. He was a student at the Royal Academy of Music – though this is occasionally wrongly cited as the Royal College of Music. He was studying conducting, and was to have been a student-assistant of John Barbirolli had Heming have survived the war. The majority of materials in the collection concern performances of a piece entitled “Threnody for a Soldier killed in action”. This was created from fragments written by Heming on his journey to Africa. The fragments were sent to Barbirolli after Heming’s death, who engaged the composer Anthony Collins to complete it.

The majority of programmes are from performances of the threnody in 1944 and 1945. The collection includes a programme from the premiere of the piece, which took place at City Hall, Sheffield, on 14th January 1944. Barbirolli conducted the Hallé orchestra. The early performances of the piece were also played by the same forces; later performances were given by a wide array of performing groups, including many non-British orchestras. The programmes frequently chart the compositional history of the piece, as well as a short biography of Michael Heming.

Programmes from 1944, took place at the following venues: City Hall, Sheffield; Longford Theatre, Stretford; New Opera House, Blackpool; Chester Cathedral; Teatro S Carlo, Naples (2 programmes from separate performances). Programmes from 1945 took place at the following venues: Civic Hall, Croydon [assumed 1945]; Teatro N. Piccinni, Bari [undated, probably 1945]; Assembly Hall, Walthamstow [assumed 1945]; Pedrotti Hall Conservatorio Rossini, Pesaro; Royal Opera House; Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool (2 programmes); Royal Albert Hall (2 programmes); Cambridge Theatre; St. Paul’s Cathedral (2 programmes - thanksgiving service for the end of World War 2; Royal Artillery memorial service); Opera House, Manchester; Series of concerts in an unspecified London venue; Palladium Theatre, Ancona [Italy]; Usher Hall; Herodou tou Atticou Odeon [concert given by the Athens State Orchestra]; Odeon Theatre, Barnet. Programmes from 1946 took place at the following venues: Town Hall, Birmingham; Unspecified venue in Athens; Ohel Hall, Tel-Aviv; Central Hall, London [possibly a mistake, and may mean Central Hall, Westminster]; Unspecified venue, given by the Arnhem Orchestra (=Arnhemsche Orkest-Vereeniging). There are also programmes from the 1950s and 1960s from the following venues: Borough Hall, Greenwich (1950); Royal Academy of Music (1951 - commemoration concert to those members of the Academy who died in World War Two); Royal Festival Hall (1956); Colston Hall (1957); White Rock Pavilion, Hastings (1963). In addition, there are additional venues for which there is a press cutting but no corresponding programme.

There are also two programmes from school concerts given at Haileybury College. These both feature Michael Heming in ensembles. In the first he is part of the school choir; in the second he is listed as playing the timpani, as well as orchestra librarian. The first of these programmes appears to date from 1935, and the other is from 1936. The 1935 programme included Percy Heming as bass soloist: Percy Heming was the father of Michael Heming, and a professional opera principal.

In addition to programmes, the collection includes a number of other ephemeral items. There are numerous press cuttings announcing the death of Michael Heming, as well as a few Royal Academy of Music publications which discuss him. There are numerous press cuttings both reviewing and previewing performances of the Threnody. The collection also contains correspondence – usually directed to Percy Heming concerning the threndoy – as well as a military photograph of Michael Heming.

The programmes are arranged chronologically. Other ephemeral material is largely kept with the programmes, forming one chronological sequence. Some miscellaneous items appear at the end of the album.
Date range 1935 - 1963
Associated People and Organisations Barbirolli, John - Hallé Orchestra - Heming, Michael - Heming, Percy -
Associated Places Colston Hall Royal Festival Hall White Rock Pavilion, Hastings Usher Hall, Edinburgh Royal Academy of Music St. Paul's Cathedral New Opera House, Blackpool Royal Opera House Royal Albert Hall Cambridge Theatre Chester Cathedral Town Hall, Birmingham Assembly Hall, Walthamstow Borough Hall, Greenwich City Hall, Sheffield Conservatorio Rossini, Pesaro: Pedrotti Hall Haileybury School Herodou tou Atticou Odeon [country unknown] Longford Theatre, Stretford Odeon Theatre, Barnet Ohel Hall, Tel Aviv Opera House, Manchester Palladium Theatre, Ancona Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool Teatro Piccinni, Bari Teatro di San Carlo, Napoli Birmingham Coliseum (afterwards Gaiety)
Associated Times 20th century - mid 1931-1970 World War II 1939-45
Associated Content First performances Photographs Press Cuttings School concerts
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Term-Time Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 9.00-18.00 Saturdays: 9.00-12.00 (Junior Academy terms only) Vacation hours vary and are advertised in the Library Information section in the on-line Unicorn Catalogue.
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Royal Academy of Music, Library

Marylebone Road London NW1 5HT United Kingdom Open Map
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Collections Overview Books; printed music; sound recordings; choral sets; orchestral sets; manuscripts; early printed music & books; undergraduate & research
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Accrual Status Closed
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