Adrian Self's Talk on Music Publishing
27th May 2006
Review by David Shingler

Those of us who went to Anne Emmetts' delightful home at Haverthwaite on the last Saturday in May were greatly informed and entertained by Adrian Self's talk on his life and work as a music publisher. He began by talking about his early career as a schoolteacher and his time working at Oxford University Press where he encountered John Rutter, William Mathias and other OUP composers.

Adrian arrived in Cumbria in 1989 as Organist of Cartmel Priory and for a few years he also taught at Cartmel Priory School. He and Pamela then set up a small music publishing business and we were reminded that one of their early achievements was "Self Taught", and organ tutor book developed in conjunction with the CSO Organists' Training Scheme. The book was well received as it drew on his practical teaching experience and was aimed at the amateur organist. He also dedicated some of his own compositions to particular people and the talk included anecdotes about some of them and about the composers he has dealt with; perhaps these are better left unreported!

Adrian played several examples of his keyboard publications on Anne's Johannus organ and we were invited to sing some recently published choral items including works by several CSO members past and present. The merry noise generated by this impromptu choir of organists would surely have brought joy to the hearts of these composers. It's not a bad idea to sing through the pieces we intend to ask our choirs to learn and it's certainly more helpful than just seeing them in print.

In recent years Animus Music Publishing has gone from strength to strength whilst remaining essentially a family business. All the selection, editing, computer work, production, order processing and dispatching is done by Adrian and Pam "on the kitchen table" as he put it, and they often work late into the evening to ensure prompt attention to customer's orders. Adrian explained how he has to select carefully from the many compositions that are sent to him and that he has to consider sales potential as well as musical quality. One of his best selling titles is "No Small Wonder" a carol by Paul Edwards. The coming of the internet has led to an increase in orders from overseas.

By the end of the meeting we were left in no doubt that music publishing is not just a business but a whole way of life for Adrian and Pam; fortunately their love of church music has not been diminished by the hard realities of running a business and earning a living.

Anne kindly provided Afternoon Tea and we were able to browse through samples of recent Animus publications. All in all it was a fascinating afternoon, for which many thanks are due to Adrian, Pam and Anne. Any members who have not seen the Animus catalogue may obtain it from:

Animus Music Publishing
4 Rawlinson Street
Cumbria LA15 8AL

Tel: 01229 467432

Back to Reviews Page