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British Library Puts Wagner's Early Original Manuscripts Online

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday 3 June 2013 | 2:27:00 am

From MS 119 – pencil doodlings on the name Wagner.

To mark Wagner 200, the British Library have made available online its entire collection of Wagner manuscripts, mostly from early on in his career. The earliest work included is Wagner's original draft of the piano score of the orchestral Overture in E minor, composed when Wagner was only 18 years old.  Indeed, anyone with any interest in Wagner will find much to enjoy here. Including, for example, a  draft of ‘Das Liebesverbot’ (click to listen) (1834) with, crossings out by Wagner in red ink. And the original MS of Wagner's  " Rule Britannia Overture" (click to listen)

Apparently most of the MS's were originally collected by Leopold, Graf von Thun und Hohenstein,  Austrian minister for culture. They were then bought by the collector Albert Cohn, in 1887 and in-turn by the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig in 1937. His entire collection of musical, literary and historical autographs was then presented to the British Library by his heirs in 1986. The present digital archiving of these works is the result of a project by the Derek Butler Trust to make all of the manuscripts freely available online.

All of them can be accessed freely online and without registration at the British Library archives.  For more detailed information about what is available and their history please visit the British Libraries blog by clicking here. 

Below, are a few interesting examples of what you might find:

From MS 119 – draft of ‘Das Liebesverbot’ (1834), crossings out by Wagner in red ink.

MS 100: 1832, Complete draft in short score