The University of Tartu Library Recorded Sound DepartmentThe University of Tartu Library Recorded Sound Department.
Music - whether in manuscripts or printed form - has always been present in the libraries. Records, invented some hundred years ago, however, have met with significant resistance on their way to library shelves.
Thus it is a real pleasure for us recall that the University of Tartu Library started its collection of records already at its previous location on the Toome Hill, in what is now the Museum of University History. The first record of the collection was acquired in 1976, the centenniary of the invention of the phonograph. In order to systematise and catalogue the growing collection, in May 1983 the Library set up a separate Department - the Department of Recorded Sound.
It is only natural that a collection, as it grows, develops its own preferences. The Department of Recorded Sound has since its foundation consciously given preference to traditional, classical, Oriental and early music. Unfortunately these fields were regarded as at best marginal by the setters of Soviet cultural policy. The last ten years, however, have enabled us to cover a lot of the material missed during the Soviet era.
The considerably enlivened early music activity of the 1990s and especially the tradition of Tartu Early Music Festivals has provided the Department of Recorded Sound and its collection policy with remarkable support. The music lovers entertained, educated and guided in the world of early music by the Festival have become frequent patrons of our collection. This has strengthened our resolve and shown us that the choices we have made resonate with our patrons' interests. We see ourselves as partners with the Festival, working towards the same goals.
Hence it is no coincidence that the present Festival has expanded into the Library. However, it must be recognised as fortuitous that the 23rd of August 1982 was the day that saw the entry of the first long-playing early music record ("Early Italian Renaissance Music" by Hortus Musicus) into the inventory lists of the Department. Yet, in addition to being fortuitous this must also be recognised as fortunate, since it made it very easy for us to agree on the title of the Department's contribution to the festival. We are happy to offer the festival guests a sample cross-section of the Department's collection, representing our preferred examples of Oriental and Early Music. We hope our cooperation with the Tartu Early Music Festival will continue in the coming years.
Head of the University of Tartu Library Recorded Sound Department