bruckner-online.at is a comprehensive internet portal (web archive) on Anton Bruckner, including not only electronically documented manuscript sources but also compositions, relevant persons and places. Complete digital versions of all manuscripts, first prints and the old Complete Works Edition are available here. This project, which is the only one of its kind on the world, aims to create new ways of and opportunities for research for scholars and music practitioners. In the project’s first stage, all music manuscripts in Austria and abroad were documented. At present, 740 shelfmarks have been captured in a database, the majority of them with a critical commentary. A key synergy arose through the digitalisation of the Bruckner autographs and early copies by the Music Collection of the Austrian National Library (ÖNB), large parts of which have already been completed. The ÖNB made all the digitalised manuscripts available to this web project free of charge (around 19,000 individual images).
In parallel, around 7000 high-quality colour images were made of sources in Austrian archives (including the monasteries of Seitenstetten, St. Florian and Kremsmünster, the city archives of Wels und Linz, and the Diocesan Museum Linz). The State Museum of Upper Austria in Linz, the Library of Congress in Washington, the library of the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna and the Vienna Library in the Rathaus also provided existing digital copies. We are endeavouring to provide images of sources that are currently still missing. This will not be possible even in the future, however, for some small private collections (including the archive of the Vienna Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde).
There was a further synergy in regard to the critical commentaries, as it was possible to use the commentaries already published as part of the New Critical Edition of Bruckner’s Complete Works. New research was and is required on all compositions for which no such commentaries are available.
Besides the great reduction in cost and the conservation of the original manuscripts, this electronic form of publication offers significant advantages to users: using complex search modes, all sources for one and the same work can be located easily and/or correlated with the names of copyists or other handwritten entries (e.g. dates). The inclusion of contemporary copies is a key desideratum for the history of the works’ transmission.
In addition, performing artists can easily compare different versions of a work, a key issue for Bruckner in particular. New insights or source discoveries can be included quickly and at short notice, guaranteeing that the research presented to an international audience will always be up to date. The current project phase will conclude with a compilation of important events from the life of Anton Bruckner and a literature database.
A second phase of the project will provide an updated version of the Anton Bruckner Catalogue of Works (WAB) and an online version of Bruckner iconography. Furthermore, the aim is to create digital editions of selected works based upon Edirom technology (cf. Max Reger Edition).
bruckner-online.at considers itself a research platform for the Bruckner community. Expert collegues are explicitly encouraged to contribute their knowledge and to critically scrutinise the content, thus contributing to the success of this web project. From the very beginning, the project leaders sought to establish contact with the International Anton Bruckner Society, finding a patron and adviser in Dr. Thomas Leibnitz.
bruckner-online.at was made possible through the financial support of FWF. Der Wissenschaftsfond and the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW).