The collection was received in 1988-89 (see UCC Library's Annual Report) from UCC’s Music Department. The collection comprises manuscript, printed scores, books and memorabilia. This collection contains 380 items which include some of his own compositions, a small portion of his library, some of his letters and some personal effects including a death mask. In addition, there are a number of printed musical scores, vinyl records, photographs, prints and objects. Subject matter in the Bax Collection include literature and music.
Sir Arnold Bax (1883 – 1953), composer and poet was born into a prosperous English family. He made his first public appearance as a composer at the age of 10 and over his lifetime produced seven symphonies and numerous choral works, cantatas, chamber music, symphonic poems and concertos. His reputation was at its peak in the 1920s and 30s when he was regarded as a major force in British music and later he became Master of the Queen’s Musick.
At the age of 19, after reading Yeats' The Wanderings of Oisin Bax began a fascination with Ireland that never ceased. Under the name of Dermot O’Byrne, Bax wrote some of Ireland’s most patriotic ballads including “A Dublin Ballad” in 1916. He used Irish themes for a number of his compositions and in recognition of his work the National University of Ireland conferred on him the Honorary degree of Doctor of Music.
Bax visited UCC over many years as an external examiner of music and as a guest of the Fleischmann family. He died suddenly in Cork in 1953 and is buried in St Finbarr’s Cemetery, Cork as he wished Ireland to be his last resting place. In the article announcing his death in the then Cork Examiner, Bax is referred to as an “Englishman by birth but by nature a Celt with all the vision and Poetic feeling of the ancient race.”