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Series One: Autograph Music Manuscripts from the Musikbibliothek der Stadt Leipzig

Part 1: Music Manuscripts of Bach, Haydn, Handel and Mendelssohn


Introduction by Brigitte Geyer - Head of the Music Library of the City of Leipzig

The Music Library of the City of Leipzig is a great treasure house of music autographs, manuscripts, and early and first editions. This abundance of musical riches is not the result of chance, but is directly related to the rich and variegated musical life of the City of Leipzig that has developed over many centuries. Out of these historical holdings, composers from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras have been selected to form Part 1 of Series 1 of the joint project by Adam Matthew Publications and the Library.

Part 1 begins with Johann Sebastian Bach, the most significant composer of the City of Leipzig. The Bach manuscripts that have been microfilmed belong to various collections and libraries that were combined in 1954 on the founding of the Music Library of the City of Leipzig. Some of the manuscripts originate from the Pölitz collection. Karl Heinrich Ludwig Pölitz, a professor at Leipzig University, presented this collection to the City of Leipzig in 1839. Other Bach manuscripts belong to the Becker collection. The Leipzig organist and lecturer, Carl Ferdinand Becker, sold this library to the City of Leipzig in 1856. A third group forms part of the Peters Music Library, a public music library founded and run by Max Abraham and Henri Hinrichsen and which, after the renewal of an agreement on permanent loan and safekeeping, made with the C. F. Peters publishing firm, is now preserved in the Leipzig Music Library. The Peters Music Library, by purchasing the Scheibner, Mempell-Preller and Rudorff collections in the early years of the twentieth century, acquired Bach compositions, some of which have come down in manuscript form only and are thus of the greatest value for the musical world.

he second composer included in this project is Joseph Haydn. The manuscripts held in the Library come from the Pölitz and Becker collections and the Peters Music Library, already mentioned, and also from the library of the musicologist Kurt Taut. Most of these manuscripts belong to the last quarter of the eighteenth century.

The third part consists of compositions by Georg Friedrich Händel. These manuscripts come from the Becker collection and the Peters Music Library. It is above all as Bach's contemporary that Händel is significant for the musical life of Leipzig, for, although they were never personally acquainted, they did nevertheless influence each other.

Part 1 ends with the three composers and musical personalities, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, and Robert and Clara Schumann. These three nineteenth-century figures left their mark on the musical life of Leipzig, which continues to show their influence today: Mendelssohn as the conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra and founder of the first German musical conservatoire, Robert Schumann as a member of the founding committee of the conservatoire, as well as founder of the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik [New Journal for Music], which reported not merely on regional but also on national musical life, and Clara Schumann as soloist in concerts in Leipzig. Besides some manuscript compositions by Mendelssohn, some letters of all three have been microfilmed.



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