Original Beethoven Manuscripts
The Beethoven Center owns several original Beethoven manuscripts, including seven letters from Beethoven to his publishers, friends, and other associates. Most of these letters were acquired by Ira Brilliant and donated to the Beethoven Center; one is on loan from his son, Robert Brilliant.
Other manuscripts that contain Beethoven handwriting include a musical sketch leaf entirely in Beethoven's hand, a signed receipt, and a leaf from one of his household account books. Six pencil markings in Beethoven's hand also appear in an early edition of J.C.Bach’s Keyboard Sonates, Opus 17, that the Center acquired in 2004.
A few of the original manuscripts are on display during the Center's open hours. Other manuscripts of Beethoven's music are available at the Center in published facsimile editions, on microfilm, or in photocopies.
List of Manuscripts
- IFBms1: Letter to Prince Ferdinand von Trauttmansdorff (Vienna, March 21, 1824)
- IFBms2: Letter to B. Schott’s Sons (Vienna, Nov. 16, 1824)
- IFBms3: Note to Karl van Beethoven (Vienna, July 15, 1825)
- IFBms4: Letter to Franz Brentano (Vienna, Feb. 15, 1817)
- IFBms5: Letter to Georg Friedrich Treitschke (Vienna, well before Feb. 27, 1814)
- IFBms6: Household account leaf for July 12-13 and August 8-9, [1823?]
- IFBms8: Letter to Karl Holz (?Vienna, Aug. 8 or Sept. 26. 1826)
- ABSms1: Sketchleaf from 1807-1808
- ABSms2: Letter to Robert Birchall (Vienna, Oct. 1, 1816)
- ABSms3: Receipt dated August 3, 1816
- ABSms15: Letter to S. A. Steiner (February 1822)
- ABSms16: Sketchleaf fragment from ca. 1814
Facsimiles, Microfilms, Photocopies
The Center owns copies of published facsimiles of Beethoven autographs, including sketchbooks, autograph manuscripts, copyists’ manuscripts, letters, and other documents.
Microfilms and photocopies of some of Beethoven's sketches and autographs owned by other libraries are available for study at the Center. The complete collection of Beethoven manuscripts located at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin is available on microfiche.
Microfilms are not yet cataloged online. To inquire if the Center's owns a microfilm of a particular manuscript, please contact the Curator.
The Center owns a small collection of manuscripts of Beethoven’s music prepared by copyists.
Ones that date from Beethoven's lifetime include:
- IFBms9: A manuscript score for the Fifth Symphony, Opus 67, prepared between 1808-1822
- ABSms4: Arrangement of the Pathetique Sonata for orchestra, Opus 13
- ABSms5: A copyist's score of the String quartets, Opus 18, no. 1-6, and Opus 74, from 1816
- ABSms6: Set of parts for the Second Symphony, Opus 36
- ABSms7: Score for Ah perfido, Opus 65
- ABSms8: A set of manuscripts parts for an English performance of The Mount of Olives, Opus 85, in 1814
- ABSms9: A manuscript score of Fidelio from 1824
- ABSms10: Score for the Mass in C, Opus 86
- ABSms11: Arrangement of the Adagio, WoO 33, no. 1
- ABSms12: Copy of the Eroica Variations, Opus 35, from 1807
- ABSms13: Score for the Romance for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 40
- ABSms14 Scene from Fidelio
The Beethoven Center has a small collection of autograph letters and signatures of other composers, performers, and Beethoven scholars.
Updated September 2019