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New manuscript facsimile scores of major works

Ever wonder about what the original manuscript of a composer’s score looks like? A look at the original manuscript can often tell you a lot about the compositional process. Scholars compare original “autograph” manuscripts with other early sources (copyist manuscripts, 1st editions, etc.) in preparing scholarly critical editions that attempt to represent the composer’s original intent as much as possible. Music Special Collections in the HBLL has a number of important manuscript facsimiles (high-quality reproductions of autograph manuscripts) available to use in the Music & Dance Reading Room. Here are a few of the most recent facsimile editions acquired by the Library:

Symphony no. 9, op. 125, by Ludwig van Beethoven

MSC M 2 .D62 Bd.42 Folio

Bärenreiter Facsimile Edition: Beethoven Symphony No. 9 op. 125 Facsimile of the autograph score in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz, the Beethoven-Haus Bonn, and the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

The history of the autograph manuscript reflects an episode in German history: after storage in various places because of the war, the major parts were returned to Berlin but were initially divided by the Berlin Wall and only reunited in 1990. Martina Rebmann who is the Director of the Music Department at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin traces this story. In 1972 the main theme of the last movement was chosen by the Council of Europe as the European anthem and in 1985 it was adopted by the European Community as its official anthem. In 2001 the manuscript was listed in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.

For the first time the facsimile presents all the parts of the manuscript including pages preserved in Bonn and Paris as well as the trombone and contrabassoon parts.


Other manuscript facsimiles available for use in Music and Dance:

Messe in h-Moll, BWV 232 : mit Sanctus in D-Dur (1724), BWV 232III, by Johann Sebastian Bach

MSC M 2 .D62 Bd.35

Messiah : HWV 56, by George Frideric Handel

MSC M 2 .D62 Bd.40

Ein Sommernachtstraum : Ouvertüre op. 21, by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy

MSC M 2 .D62 Bd.41

Come check these out today!

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