When Franz Schubert died on 19 November 1828 at only 31 years of age, he left behind a substantial body of work of secular and sacred music. The world’s largest collection of digitalised Schubert Autographs, first editions and early prints of lieder, piano music, chamber music, symphonies, masses and works for the stage is now accessible at www.schubert-online.at – recently thoroughly revised and enlarged. The 500 autographs and more than 600 prints include the manuscript originals of such masterpieces as "Erlkönig" and the Mass in E flat major. All this is supplemented by letters and documents relating to Schubert’s life.
The digitalised manuscripts come from the Wienbibliothek im Rathaus (City Hall), Vienna, the Austrian National Library, the Norwegian National Library, and the Berlin State Library. Recently it became possible to add first editions and early prints from the Music Collection of the Austrian National Library. The Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) has thus made key works by this famous Austrian composer available to researchers and those interested in Schubert’s music the whole world over via a central web portal.
"The range of material makes this great digital Schubert collection an essential basis for the scholarly source-based study of Schubert, and at the same time makes it simpler and swifter", says Barbara Boisits, head of the Division of Musicology of the Institute of History of Art and Musicology (IKM) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW), which oversees the website. Project director Katharina Loose of the IKM adds: "The digital collection is also a really valuable treasure trove for performing artists, for example when they want to research and compare the manuscript and printed versions of a particular composition."
The Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) has a long tradition of Schubert research. Since 1980 it has cooperated with the University of Tübingen in the completion of the scholarly, critical edition of the complete works of Franz Schubert in 83 volumes. Over recent years the digitalisation of the original sources has been promoted in parallel with the critical edition.
The music manuscripts, prints and documents of Schubert’s life can be viewed free of charge at www.schubert-online.at, together with comprehensive metadata and contact information for the respective libraries and collections from which digital reproductions can be ordered. An enlargement of the database in cooperation with further collections is planned for the future.