Original Beethoven Manuscripts: Overview

The 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 aquired 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 at the Beethoven Center with links to images

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

Facsimiles, microfilms, photocopies

The Center owns copies of published facsimiles of Beethoven autographs, including sketchbooks, autograph manuscripts, copyists manuscripts, letters, and other documents. To identify these facsimiles, search in the Beethoven Gateway using the search term "facsimiles" in the Category index. 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.

Copyist manuscripts

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

Other manuscripts

The Beethoven Center has a small collection of autograph letters and signatures of other composers, performers, and Beethoven scholars. Here are some examples:

m2b021 Autograph letter from A.W. Thayer to Mr. Lansdale, Trieste, Feburary 4, 1868, about J.B. Cramer's relationship with Beethoven
m1b0004 Album leaf from an "Andante con moto" in the hand of Ferdinand Hiller, signed and dated April 5, 1827, a few days after the death of Beethoven.

Key to references

Anderson L
The Letters of Beethoven, ed. Emily Anderson. 3 vols. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1961.

Brandenburg no.
Beethoven Briefwechsel Gesamtaugsabe, ed. Sieghard Brandenburg. 7 vols. Munich: G. Henle, 1996-1998.

Albrecht L.
Letters to Beethoven and Other Correspondence, ed. Theodore Albrecht. 3 vols. North American Beethoven Studies. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1996.