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Beethoven struggled with the “Missa solemnis” for years, searching for a highly personal way to deal with the words and musical traditions of the Mass Ordinary. In the end he produced a work that leaves no listeners cold - some are puzzled but a great many are deeply moved.

The autograph reflects how intensively he worked on the “Missa solemnis” and what a difficult work process it was. Apart from the many corrections there are several torn-out pages. Sometimes Beethoven could only proceed by stitching replacement pages into the manuscript.

Beethoven authority Hans-Joachim Hinrichsen unveils the stages of its genesis in an understandable and rather detective-like manner. In addition Martina Rebmann, head of the music department, explains how this and other autographs were gradually acquired for the Beethoven collection in the Berlin Staatsbibliothek.

Reproduced in high-quality four-colour printing, the facsimile replicates the page stubs and fold-out pages, thereby emulating the feel of the original source. Judicious inscriptions with movement headings, continuous pagination, scholarly foliation and measure numbers help readers to find their way more easily in the manuscript.

One of the most grandiose artistic working processes ever documented in the history of music«
Hans-Joachim Hinrichsen

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