William A. Speck collection of Goetheana : music
Scope and Contents
The manuscript scores in the Speck Collection are all either settings of texts by Goethe or compositions based on, or inspired by, his works. Principally from the nineteenth century, the manuscripts include autographs by Liszt, Carl Loewe, Mendelssohn, Johann Friedrich Reichardt, Ludwig Spohr, and Goethe's composer friend Karl Friedrich Zelter, among others. The best-known items are a one-page fragment from Beethoven's Egmont Overture, Op. 84, (folder 2) and an early sketch from Wagner's Faust Overture (folder 3). The Egmont fragment has been described by Georg Kinsky in Die Handschriften von Beethoven's Egmont-Musik (Vienna, 1933) and more recently by Adolf Fecker in Die Entstehung von Beethoven's Musik zu Goethes Trauerspiel Egmont: eine Abhandlung über die Skizzen (Hamburg, 1978). The Wagner fragment, also a single leaf containing 2 pages, belongs to the first version of the work, titled Ouvertüre zu Goethes 'Faust', Ier Theil, completed in 1840 in Paris and later described as "Der einsame Faust (Oder: Faust in der Einsamkeit); ein Tongedicht für das Orchester"; it was considerably revised for the 1855 version, Eine Faust Ouvertüre.
The acquisition of the manuscript score of Mendelssohn's song Suleika (Op. 57, no. 3) (folder 10), a setting of a poem from Goethe's West-östlicher Divan, illustrates William Speck's often ingenious methods of pursuing Goethe materials around the world. The Mendelssohn score, as well as a number of important Goethe autographs, was acquired around 1920 from the Chicago banker and collector Oliver R. Barrett. Speck learned that Barrett had an interest in presidential autographs, and since Speck had a fairly easy source of such documents in the person of William Howard Taft, whose tenure at the Yale Law School coincided with Speck's early years as library curator, several exchanges were made: Goethe-related manuscripts for letters Taft had received from his successor, Teddy Roosevelt.
Additions are still being made to the Speck collection of music manuscripts, as opportunity allows. Recent acquisitions, 1997-2010, include manuscript scores for Carl Baermann, "An Lina. Gedicht von Goethe," Albert Moeschinger, "Katzenpastete," and Johann Gottlieb Naumann, "Auf den Auen wandlen wir."
- Speck, William A. (William Alfred), 1864-1928 (Collector)
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
The William A. Speck Collection of Goetheana: Music is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Most of the manuscript music in the Speck Collection was assembled by William A. Speck, largely by purchase funded by the University, during the early years of the Collection's presence at Yale. Some items have been added in more recent times.
0.58 Linear Feet (2 boxes)
Language of Materials
The collection, a part of the William A. Speck Collection of Goetheana, consists of manuscript scores, all either settings of texts by Goethe or compositions based on, or inspired by, his works. The music manuscripts include autographs by Liszt, Carl Loewe, Mendelssohn, Johann Friedrich Reichardt, Ludwig Spohr, and Karl Friedrich Zelter. The collection includes a one-page fragment from Beethoven's Egmont Overture, Op. 84, and an early sketch from Wagner's Faust Overture.
WILLIAM A SPECK and THE WILLIAM A. SPECK COLLECTION OF GOETHEANA
The Speck music manuscripts are an integral part of the more extensive William A. Speck Collection of Goetheana. For biographical information on William A. Speck and a general history and description of the Speck Collection, see the finding aid for the William A. Speck Collection of Goetheana: Manuscripts (YCGL MSS 6).
The manuscript scores listed here are complemented in the Speck Collection by printed scores and librettos gathered on similar principles: music using texts by Goethe or inspired by his works. First editions of songs by Schubert and a copy of the "Leipziger Liederbuch," a collection of songs published by Breitkopf in 1770 and said to contain the first appearance in print of a poem by Goethe, are highpoints of this part of the Speck Collection.
This finding aid was produced primarily from a previously existing card set in the Manuscripts Catalog. All pertinent bibliographical information has been retained. "Speck numbers" formerly used to classify material in this collection have been replaced by standard box and folder references.
- Beethoven, Ludwig van, 1770-1827 (Egmont)
- Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 1749-1832 -- Songs and music
- Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 1749-1832 (Egmont)
- Liszt, Franz, 1811-1886
- Loewe, Carl, 1796-1869
- Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix, 1809-1847
- Reichardt, Johann Friedrich, 1752-1814
- Speck, William A. (William Alfred), 1864-1928
- Spohr, Louis, 1784-1859
- Wagner, Richard, 1813-1883
- Zelter, Carl Friedrich, 1758-1832
- Guide to the William A. Speck Collection of Goetheana: Music
- by Beinecke Staff
- September 1997
- Description rules
- Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.