da capo (It.), lit. ‘from the head’, i.e. go back again to the beginning of the piece.
Da Capo Music began many years ago in a room inside the Cornstalk Bookshop on Glebe Point Road. The Da Capo founder Patricia Baillie had a lively interest in music and showed all the symptoms of a committed Wagnerphile. Patricia built Da Capo into a successful business and before long it expanded into the premises next door where it remained for sixteen years. Da Capo built up a reputation as the premier source of second-hand and rare out of print music books and sheet music in Australia.
The National Library of Australia and the State Library of NSW were strong buyers, and Da Capo was proud to place in the National Library the first sheet ever published in this country (Echo’s Song, 1837). Patricia travelled to Eastern Europe on buying trips, and as a result La Trobe Uni is rich in modern Polish music, and the late Charles Mackerras added to his library of Czech music. We should mention multiple, badly bound copies of The Nose by Shostakovitch, bought in St Petersburg. Yes, all sold – eventually.
Leading musicians, composers, conductors and players frequented the shop. Da Capo made a rich contribution to the musical life of Australia.
Twelve years ago, Da Capo made its first tentative steps onto the web offering over 11,000 items for sale to the world. In June of 2004, Patricia decided to broaden her horizons and handed the business over to her daughter, Meredith Baillie. Meredith brought new life to the shop and soon expanded her interests, opening a general second-hand bookshop, Sappho Books, Café & Wine Bar also on Glebe Point Road. Sappho has itself now become a Glebe institution and is known not only as the best second-hand bookshop in Sydney but also as a home of great coffee.
In July 2006 economic necessity forced Da Capo Music to finally move in with its sister shop, Sappho Books, at 51 Glebe Point Road where it continues to provide the only source of second hand and out of print sheet music.
Patricia Baillie, Da Capo’s founder, in 1990