Yesterday (November 1st 2007) the Netherlands Radio Music Library (MCO-MB) launched the English version of its online catalogue.
Through the internet all music lovers (musicians, conductors, concert programmers, musicologists, music librarians etc.) have access to this search medium which is “home-made”.

The large sheet music collection is broadly orientated, with editions from many countries and covering compositions from eight centuries. A team of skilled cataloguers is responsible for the content of this catalogue. They combine international and national cataloguing standards with house rules. Our way of cataloguing enables you to find compositions (including popular songs) even if they are included in an anthology. Moreover, all names of persons that are artistically related to a composition have been added (librettists, arrangers etc.).

The catalogue consists of eight search pages, five of which are directly accessible from its homepage: Classical music, Light/popular music, Books about music, Arrangements for light orchestras and Composers.
This last and possibly most surprising section gives answers to questions like:
• Which composers were born 100 years ago?
• Which composers died this year?
• Is Elliott Carter still alive? And Irving Berlin?
• Of how many women composers from Estonia does the music library own scores?
• In what year was Shakira born?
• What is the address of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’s official website?

Quite unique are the other three search pages that are designed especially to help one find classical repertoire with instrumentation as a starting point. The menu option Classical Repertoire will lead one to these pages - for Chamber music, for Orchestral music and for Vocal music.
They are pre-eminently useful for concert programmers and musicians looking to broaden their scope. Being one of the largest music libraries in Europe (and maybe even in the world) one can discover in its collection music for even the most surprising instrumental and vocal combinations.
In one glance (well, maybe two …) one understands the structure of these pages and without having to read the extensive help texts one can easily find printed music for, e.g., an orchestra with at least 5 oboe and clarinet parts that was composed between 1960 and 1970.

A list of compositions for soprano and string quartet sung to English texts by composers that haven’t yet reached the age of 50 or an overview of Christmas music for unaccompanied mixed choir is just a few mouse clicks away.

Apart from all this classical showing off it goes without saying that the catalogue also gives answers to questions about lighter genres. “Do you have songs from the movie Gentlemen prefer blondes?”, “Which songs by Hoagy Carmichael can be found?”, “Which songs has Vince Mendoza arranged for the Metropole Orkest?” and “In which radio or television programme did John Scofield play with the Metropole Orkest?”. All these questions can be easily answered.

So please visit the online catalogue and discover the astonishing riches of our music library’s collection.

Eric van Balkum (webmaster/cataloguer)