The Paul Sacher Foundation acquires major parts of the Schott archive in Mainz


The Paul Sacher Foundation has acquired a large number of significant scores and letters from the archive of Schott Music, Mainz, and is thus able to substantially expand its existing collections. Formerly known as B. Schott’s Söhne, the firm Schott Music was once a publisher of Ludwig van Beethoven and Richard Wagner. Today it is one of the largest and most storied music publishing houses in the world and has maintained a strong commitment to contemporary music.

Many composers represented in the holdings of the Paul Sacher Foundation had their works published by Schott, including Hans Werner Henze, György Ligeti, Heinz Holliger, Aribert Reimann, Dieter Schnebel and to a lesser extent Igor Stravinsky, Klaus Huber, Jürg Wyttenbach and Conrad Beck. Their fair manuscripts entered the publishers’ archives, as was normal at the time.

“It’s a good feeling to combine these valuable documents from our firm with the holdings already preserved in Basel”, explains publisher Peter Hanser-Strecker of Schott Music. “It has enabled us to complete the collections of individual composers. It will also allow international scholars to access them conveniently over the long run.”

Among the manuscripts that have now found their way to the Paul Sacher Foundation are fair copies of Hans Werner Henze’s The Bassarids and Musen Siziliens, György Ligeti’s Lontano and Kammerkonzert, and Aribert Reimann’s Lear, as well as the handwritten piano reduction of Igor Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto.

All in all, the parts of the Schott archive transferred to Basel amount to 280 manuscripts, sometimes quite extensive, of works dating from 1927 to 2018. Also included are roughly 3000 original letters, shedding light on the works’ origins and the circumstances of their production and first performance, as well as materials documenting their publication. The latter often include alternative versions, and many have substantial corrections from the composers themselves.

The materials from the Schott archive will be catalogued in the course of 2020 and made available to scholars as soon as possible.