Sheet Music and Scores @ Toronto Reference Library or Lilacs, biking and my grandmother's home

May 31, 2011 | Bill V.

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I bike to work pretty much every day (and yes, I wear a helmet).  I pass this wonderful lilac bush at the corner of Pape and O'Connor, part of the gardens of Don Mills United Church, and am always struck by its beauty and scent.

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It reminds me of my grandmother's house in the country, which was surrounded by lilacs and their heady spring perfume. It also takes me back to the sound of her piano wafting through the open windows.  I remember the sheet music she had in her piano bench - and the pleasure I had as a young child looking through it - the fragile pages, the slight mustiness and the very pretty illustrated art deco and art nouveau covers. Below, you'll see The Lilac Tree, from 1920, with a cover illustration by Mabel Betsy Hill, a piece from the Toronto Reference Library's sheet music collection.  The text to the song is at the end of this post and is very charming albeit a bit sentimental.

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Did you know that the Performing Arts Department at the Toronto Reference Library has an extensive collection of over 5,000 pieces of older sheet music to supplement and enhance the 40,000 music scores we also have available?  The sheet music collection is accessed using a card catalogue and has both title and composer entry points.  The sheet music collection is available to use only in the library (we do have photocopiers available).

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The score collection, which I've written about in early posts, includes a wide variety of material. Read some of our earlier blogs about  the Kurt Weill song "The Ballad of the Soldier's Wife" or auditions for the Rock of Ages musical.  We have classical repertoire as well as popular songs and music. All the material is accessible through our catalogue but also through the song index which is arranged by song title.  You can borrow most scores and for ones that are reference (to use in the library only) there is photocopying available.  Hurray for card catalogues - so retro - they're in fashion again.

Song index


The Lilac Tree (Perspicacity) is written by George H. Gartlan and is still sometimes performed.



If you're interested in the lyrics please see below and make sure you look at the charming cover too.

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