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Autograph Manuscripts

Manuscripts From the Pen of Brahms

>> Digital Reproductions

The manuscripts make up the core of the institute’s collection. The archive contains sixteen of Brahms’ manuscripts, including prominent ones such as the 83-page Piano Quartet No. 2 in A major, op. 26 (pictured above) or the fifth movement of Ein deutsches Requiem in piano reduction, »Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit«.

Brahms’ musical manuscripts reveal the creative will of the composer in written, fixed work form. In the process of publication, the manuscript often served as the template for the print version, if no copyist was commissioned.

As becomes clear in the example of the song »Liebesgluth« op. 47, no. 2, manuscripts often offer interesting insights into how the composer worked. »Corresponding markings in red show that this manuscript must have served as the basis for the final printed version. . . Interestingly, Brahms composed this passionate song in different inks. The first 66 measures were notated in black ink. While in measures 67 and 68 the left hand of the piano part remains black, the right hand is written using a somewhat brighter, browner shade, as is the entire conclusion. While the first two strophes can be considered clean copy in black ink (almost without corrections) the conclusion seems to have been notated quite spontaneously, as shown by the many corrections« (Wolfgang Sandberger, Johannes Brahms – Zeichen, Bilder, Phantasien, 48, see also Patrimonia 292: »Liebesgluth«).