The music holdings were greatly enriched in 1986, when the collection of autograph manuscripts formed by the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig and his heirs was presented to the British Library. As well as literary manuscripts, the collection contains a large number of music manuscripts, mainly in the composers' own hands.
Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) began collecting literary, historical and musical autograph manuscripts while still at school in Vienna. In the 1930s, he emigrated to Britain, and eventually became a British subject, living in London, and then in Bath. A year before his death, he left war-torn Britain for Brazil. Zweig's heirs continued to add to the collection after his death, and, with great generosity, presented the entire collection - literature and music - to the British Library in 1986.
Chopin, Mazurka in F sharp minor, op. 59/3, Zweig MS. 26
Zweig's collection has been called one of the world's greatest collections of autograph manuscripts. Among the music manuscripts are autograph scores of Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. Composers in the Zweig Collection who were previously poorly represented in manuscript at the British Library, or not represented at all, include Schütz, Gluck, Wagner, Mahler, Debussy, Schoenberg, Ravel, Webern, and Berg.
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