The mystery of Anna Charlier’s piano music

I found one of Anna Charlier’s music scores last year when I was doing some re-cataloguing of stock. On Friday, I discovered another one, which must have been in the library a  long time judging from its barcode and the state of its catalogue record – I found it when I was checking for records that needed tidying up.

But, you may well ask, who is Anna Charlier and why do we have some of her piano scores? Anna Charlier was most famous for being the fiancee of Nils Strindberg, a Swedish photographer who was part of an ill-fated hot-air balloon expedition to try to reach the North Pole in 1897. According to Wikipedia (which I know isn’t always the best source, but it has the most information about Anna I could find at the moment) Anna played the piano and Nils played the violin. After Nils and his colleagues were presumed dead (although the remains of the expedition weren’t discovered until 1930) Anna emigrated to America, and, despite the fact that she never got over Nils’ death, married a Mr Gilbert Hawtrey. They moved to England in 1914.

The music scores I’ve found (so far) in our collection show both her maiden and married names:

Front cover of piano score of Verdi's Aida

Front cover of piano score of Verdi’s Aida showing Anna Charlier’s maiden name

Anna's name in a piano score of Bizet's Carmen

Anna’s name in a piano score of Bizet’s Carmen

Title page of Verdi's Aida showing Anna Charlier's married name

Title page of Verdi’s Aida showing Anna Charlier’s married name (Anna Hawtrey)

e in copy of Bizet's Carmen

Anna’s married name in piano score for Bizet’s Carmen

The scores themselves have a certain poignancy, as it seems that music was a part of her relationship with Nils, and perhaps they even used these books if they ever played their instruments together. But as to how they came to be in our collection – that’s still a mystery.

 

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4 thoughts on “The mystery of Anna Charlier’s piano music

  1. Eva Vogel-Rödin says:

    Lilian, Interesting find in your library. I like to know more about it and your library and would like you to contact me. I did´t find any e-mail address on your blog so I write here and hope you read it.

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