Graphical version

Royal College of Music

LAM, Basil (d 1984)


Reference code(s): GB 1249 MS 7322-7323

Held at: Royal College of Music

Title: LAM, Basil (d 1984)

Date(s): 1946-1989

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 5 boxes

Name of creator(s): Lam | Basil | d 1984 | musicologist


Administrative/Biographical history:

Basil Lam died on 4 Mar 1984 at the age of 69. He played the harpsichord in various ensembles, and was best known for his BBC radio broadcasts on early and baroque music, in particular for his series, `Plainsong and the rise of European music'.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Basil Lam, comprising typescripts and photocopies of BBC radio talks, 1963-1979, mostly relating to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel, and including transcripts of his BBC Radio 3 series 'Plainsong and the rise of European music', 1978-1979; with press cuttings and concert programmes; typescripts, carbon copies and photocopies of concert programme and record sleeve notes by Lam, with concert programmes, mainly relating to performances of early and baroque music (particularly the works of Bach, Handel and Claudio Monteverdi), and including some BBC radio talks, articles for The Listener, and Promenade Concerts series programme notes, 1962-1981; cuttings (mostly Radio Times), relating to programmes featuring or of interest to Lam, and related programmes and handbills, including programmes for concerts by the Basil Lam Sonata Ensemble, 1946-1954; correspondence of Stroma Sutherland, Lam's executor, on publication of an article by Lam from material left unfinished at his death, on the 'Kyrie' from the B Minor Mass by J S Bach, 1985-1989; edition of The Listener containing `The ascendancy of plainsong', article by Lam, 15 Dec 1977; index to radio talks and programme/record sleeve notes.


Language/scripts of material: English.

System of arrangement:

As follows: radio talks; cuttings and programmes; Kyrie, B Minor Mass; concert programme and record notes. The programme and record notes are arranged chronologically by box: 1962-1967; 1967-1973; 1973-1981.

Conditions governing access:

Usual conditions of the Library of the Royal College of Music apply. See the RCM website or contact the RCM Library for details.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopying is permitted at the discretion of the Archivist for research purposes only.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

There is an index to the radio talks and programme/sleeve notes contained within the collection (Ms 7322b). There is also an entry given in the supplement to volume 3 of the Manuscripts catalogue in the library of the Royal College of Music.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Donated by Robert Layton, 1999.


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Compiled by Robert Baxter as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: May 2001

Classical music | Musical styles
Musical performances | Music | Performing arts
Musicology | Music | Performing arts
Radio programmes | Radio | Broadcasting

Personal names
Bach | Johann Sebastian | 1685-1750 | German organist composer and master contrapuntist
Handel | George Frederick | 1685-1759 | musical composer
Lam | Basil | d 1984 | musicologist
Monteverdi | Claudio | 1567-1643 | Italian composer

Corporate names
Basil Lam Sonata Ensemble