To mark the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), the Austrian National Library not only dedicates a comprehensive special exhibition in the State Hall to the composer of so many “classics”, it also provides users with a digital experience of the musical genius! All exhibits directly relating to Beethoven that are kept in the archives of the Austrian National Library (manuscripts, letters, first prints and illustrations) were scanned and made accessible to the public on the “Beethoven Digital” web portal (currently only available in German).
Experiencing the maestro online
The exhibits are kept in three collections of the Austrian National Library: the Department of Manuscripts and Rare Books disposes of more than 130 original letters by Beethoven; the Department of Music owns 13 original manuscripts of his compositions, which are part of the classical canon until this day. The Department of Music also has the first and early prints of Beethoven’s works. A total of 941 volumes with more than 43,000 pages are part of the collection of Anthony van Hoboken (comprising approx. 8,000 titles) – one of the world’s biggest collections of its kind, which has been included in the national UNESCO Memory of the World Register “Memory of Austria” since 2016. Portraits and illustrations from the Picture Archives and Graphics Department complete the content offered on “Beethoven Digital”.
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