We are pleased to announce a new Discovering Music space on 19th-century music, which launches now with an exhibition celebrating the 250th anniversary of Beethovenâ€™s birth.
The exhibition features 27 collection items, including several manuscripts in Beethovenâ€™s own hand, as well as articles written by experts in the field, and much related content!
Find out more about the composition history and context of some of Beethovenâ€™s most celebrated works, including his â€˜Pastoralâ€™ and Ninth symphonies, his violin concerto, and several of his piano and chamber music works.
The opening of Beethovenâ€™s Symphony no.9 in D minor op.125. RPS MS 5
The space also offers insights into Beethovenâ€™s compositional processes that formed his music, for which evidence may be found in his intricate and notoriously difficult to decipher sketchbooks.
Beethovenâ€™s â€˜Pastoralâ€™ Symphony sketchbook. At the bottom of the page Beethoven has written: 'Sinfonia caracteristica oder Erinnerungen an das Landleben' (â€˜Characteristic symphony, or memories of country lifeâ€™). Add MS 31766.
Folio 87r from the â€˜Kafkaâ€™ sketch miscellany showing the opening of a sonata for mandolin and keyboard WoO 47. Add MS 29801.
The space also features collection items reflecting Beethovenâ€™s career as a keyboard performer, personal items such as his tuning fork; as well as collection items reflecting both the inspiration and consolation he found in nature and the mental and physical struggles arising from his debilitating loss of hearing.
Beethovenâ€™s cadenza for the last movement of Mozartâ€™s Piano Concerto in D minor (K. 466). Beethoven is known to have admired Mozartâ€™s D minor concerto, and it is possible that he performed it in a benefit concert for Mozartâ€™s widow, Constanze, in 1795. Add MS 29803
Also featured on the space are People pages for musicians that Beethoven collaborated with as well as famous literary figures who inspired his music, such as Goethe and Schiller.
This single leaf of sketches contains Beethovenâ€™s initial musical ideas for the song â€˜Die Trommel gerÃ¼hretâ€™ from his incidental music to Goetheâ€™s play Egmont. Zweig MS 8.
You can explore our Beethoven holdings further by visiting our Digitised Manuscripts and Explore catalogues of printed, audio and manuscript music.