The Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin is proud to hold outstanding Beethoven treasures. It is generally not sufficiently known, that the library building at Unter den Linden houses one of the world’s most important collections of Ludwig van Beethoven’s handwritten musical scores as well as important biographical sources.
In 2020 Germany together with people from all over the world will celebrate the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven. BTHVN 2020 is the umbrella brand for a range of various exhibitions, concerts and projects in 2019 and 2020. The Staatsbibliothek will present in an exhibition precious holdings of its Beethoven collection.
Extremely valuable and outstanding autographs will be amongst these treasures, which for protection reasons are rarely shown in public. The anniversary year 2020 is the appropriate event to open the vaults of the Staatsbibliothek and organise an exhibition which will give the public access to original life documents of Beethoven. There will be a richness in content and variety as never seen before.
Among other items the exhibition will present the orginal recordings of the opera Fidelio and the Missa Solemnis. Only few people are aware that the original manuscript of the Ninth Symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven has its home in the music department of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. In 2001 the most popular work of classical music was included in the UNESCO-Register "Memory of the World" and still today its "Ode to Joy“ is admired by people throughout the world. Visitors of the exhibition will have the occasion to see with their own eyes these outstanding collection items.
Original letters and the so-called conversation books will be displayed. Beginning in 1818 and in use until Beethoven's death, these books document the "conversations", which the deaf composer conducted with visitors and in familiar circles, thereby using paper and pen. The presentation of autographs and documents will be accompanied by modern media such as videos and listening points.
The Beethoven exhibition is the first presentation of the library’s Beethoven collection items since German reunification. It will coincide with an exhibition planned by the Beethoven-Haus and the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn.
Already before the exhibition and as a result of the cataloguing and digitisation project called "Seid umschlungen, Millionen"- Die Beethoven-Sammlung der SBB Beethoven originals were made available on the internet.
A richly illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition.