It is with great pleasure that we announce a newly available online resource at the Library of Congress: the entirety of the Music Division’s primary sources and first editions authored by or related to Franz Liszt have been scanned and can now be researched from home! For people like me and Lisztians around the world, this is welcome news. Since its establishment the Music Division had the prescience to see the rich research value of Liszt as a composer and cultural phenomenon. Over the years it has acquired a trove of primary and secondary sources related to Liszt that now amounts to one of the great collections outside of Europe.
Access these resources via the Music Division’s new digital collection Franz Liszt at the Library of Congress.
In addition to the first editions collected in M3.3 .L76 and .L77, holograph correspondence in ML95 .L68 and holograph manuscripts in ML96 .L58, this digital archive draws on the wealth of material from several of our special collections, including the John Davis Batchelder Collection, Damrosch-Tee Van Collection, Heineman Foundation Collection, Franz Liszt Collection (American Liszt Society Collection), Mannes-Damrosch Collection, Hans Moldenhauer Archives, Harry Rosenthal Collection, Gisella Selden-Goth Collection, Harold Spivacke Fund Collection and the Gertrude Clarke Whittall Foundation Collection.
Similar efforts to digitize, catalog and make available Liszt’s music are now underway around the world. It was announced in January of 2022 that substantial funding has been allocated for a project centered at Heidelberg University to create a digital portal to a dynamic, cross-referenced Liszt catalog, to include the massive collection at the Goethe and Schiller Archive in Weimar. The efforts of the Library of Congress and other institutions to make primary sources available to the broader community will have a significant effect on our understanding of Liszt’s music and his profound influence on the worlds he helped to shape.
While there is nothing quite like reviewing a manuscript in person, those who cannot travel (for instance, due to the pandemic) or who just need to reference a source to double-check an element of their research can now access this material remotely.
As an example of what one can find in the Franz Liszt at the Library of Congress digital collection, remember that time when Liszt decided to do a mashup of Dies irae and De Profundis in an earlier version of Totentanz? Well, the Library acquired the manuscript in 2018 and now you can check it out and see how it came to pass:
What will you discover?
Many people were involved in this monumental project that included the scanning of over 900 items, but we would like to acknowledge the work in particular of Damian Iseminger and the cataloging team, Paul Fraunfelter with Karen Lund and the Digital Scan Center, and Bob Lipartito, Robin Rausch and Morgan Cundiff on the administrative and technical support side. It is an exceptional accomplishment that provides an invaluable resource to researchers.
Thrilling—Bravo, Music Division!