Music manuscripts and early printed music

Our internationally renowned collection includes 30,500 so-called "musica practica", including 19,000 handwritten scores and 2,000 "musica theoretica" resources (including libretti).

At the heart of the collection is the music of the Dresden Hofkapelle from the 18th and 19th centuries, which not only consists of sacred music (including J.S. Bach's original vocal score for the Missa in B minor), but of operas and instrumental scores as well (Schranck II), including the famous Vivaldi collection. Other important items in the collection are, for example, 16th and 17th century music from church, school, and city council libraries in Saxony, items from various Dresden institutions and musicians' associations, and an abundance of original handwritten scores by leading East German composers.

As with text manuscripts, a distinction must be made for music manuscripts between autographs and copies (depending on whether the work and the notation are by the same person or not), and between individual and collective manuscripts (depending on whether the manuscript in question contains one work or several). Of the approximately 20,000 music manuscripts in the music department, 18,500 are individual manuscripts, of which 5,000 are autographs. To at least give an indication of the spectrum, the following fascinating music manuscripts from six centuries may be mentioned as examples: the two Annaberg choir books, both collected manuscripts from the 16th century; the contemporary voice copy of Heinrich Schütz's "Schwanengesang" as the only surviving source for this long-lost opus ultimum (17th century); autographs by Antonio Schütz (18th century). Autographs by Antonio Vivaldi (Violin Concerto in G major RV 314, 18th century), Carl Maria von Weber and Richard Wagner ("Euryanthe" and "Liebesmahl der Apostel" respectively, 19th century), Rudolf Mauersberger (funeral motet "Wie liegt die Stadt so wüst", 20th century) and Rainer Lischka ("Trio desiderato" for the inauguration of the SLUB's new building on 14 January 2003).