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Manuscripts by Composers Such as Mozart and Beethoven, Available on The Morgan Library & Museum's Web Site
NEW YORK, NY.- The Morgan Library & Museum announced that on December 20, 2010, it will make digital versions of more than forty celebrated music manuscripts from its extraordinary permanent collection available on its Web site for the first time. Music Manuscripts Online, at www.themorgan.org/music, will include such important works as Beethoven's Violin and Piano Sonata, op. 96; Chopin's Polonaise, op. 53; Debussy's En sourdine; Haydn's Symphony No. 91; Mahler's Symphony No. 5; Mendelssohn's Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage; Mozart's Piano Concerto, K 537; and Schubert's Impromptus D 935.

Eventually as many as nine hundred manuscripts containing more than 42,000 pages will be added to the Morgan’s Web site. The Morgan’s collection of music manuscripts is considered one of the best in the world, and is consulted by scholars, performers, conductors, and collectors. Until recently, access was largely provided by appointment through the Morgan’s Reading Room, although the recent restoration of the Morgan’s McKim building will permit the rotating display of a selection of highlights from the collection on an ongoing basis. The collection is also made available to the public through a wide array of public exhibitions, lectures, concerts, and other programs.

Nevertheless, the fragility of many of the Morgan’s music manuscripts necessarily limits the amount of access that can be provided. The new online presentation allows images of the original music to be made available to the public from any location, at any hour.

Users will be able to zoom in on each image, allowing them to see the manuscripts in greater detail than possible with the naked eye. Navigation within a manuscript is facilitated by a detailed contents list that allows users to move freely from page to page in or out of sequence. There is also a feature that permits side-by-side comparisons of two pages within a manuscript. And for reference, images and accompanying citations can be printed.

Over time more features will be added. Beta-radiographs of watermarks, when available, will be included, as will essays by leading scholars on these unique documents which can offer insight into a composer's compositional process.

“The digitization of the Morgan’s outstanding collection of music manuscripts marks a huge step forward in making these one-of-a-kind documents available to scholars, musicians, and the general public,” said William M. Griswold, Director. “One of the Morgan’s key strategic goals is to enhance the accessibility of its collections, and this project is an important example of how we are doing that.”

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