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December, 2004 - Nr. 13


High-Tech Tree
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Ottawa Valley Christmas
K-W & Beyond
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Ham Se det jehört?
Santa House Calls
Bach's Manuscripts Disappear
Hospital in Germany

Bach’s Manuscripts Disappearing

  TWIG - The works of Johann Sebastian Bach are in danger of disappearing forever from view. More precisely, though for scholars no less alarmingly, the manuscript scores and other documents written in the composer’s own hand are in precarious condition. A newly organized group hopes, however, to raise funds towards preserving the Bach materials and thousands of other manuscript holdings in the collections of the State Library of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in Berlin.

The Association of Friends of the State Library (Verein der Freunde der Staatsbibliothek) called particular attention to the library’s Bach manuscripts in announcing its formation on April 15. Bach apparently used an unstable, corrosive ink that is slowly eating through the paper he wrote on. Measures to check the decay of the State Library’s 13,500 sheets of Bach manuscripts and the other 50,000-plus items in its collection of composers’ works would cost an estimated DM 200 million (currently U.S. $114 million). The library, though, can afford to spend only about a million marks ($570,000) on document conservation each year. The Association of Friends is thus determined to secure additional funding to help the library undertake large-scale action to protect and record its irreplaceable holdings.


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