The Digitized Fétis Collection at the Royal Library of Belgium

We have received this announcement from Kris De Baerdemacker (RISM Belgium/Royal Library of Belgium):

The Royal Library of Belgium (B-Br) has recently digitized over 1,000 sources from the Fétis collection (more information in French and Dutch). Old prints from his music library are now available online and include treatises on music theory, masses (Jacobus Obrecht, Alexander Agricola), motets (Giaches de Wert, Pierre de la Rue, Nicolas Gombert), madrigals (Adriaan Willaert, Philippus de Monte), operas by Monteverdi, Peri, Händel, Lully, Gluck, Grétry, catalogs of music publishers, libretti and much more. This is part of a larger project to entirely digitize the Fétis collection and new items will be added. Over 1,300 links have been added to printed editions in RISM (A/I and B/I) so far.

The Belgian musicologist, composer, music critic and teacher François-Joseph Fétis (1784-1871) was an influential figure in 19th-century musical life in Europe. He was professor of counterpoint and fugue at the Paris Conservatory from 1821, a post he held until 1833 when he was appointed first director of the Brussels Royal Conservatory and maître de Chapelle to King Leopold I of Belgium.

Fétis founded the Revue musicale in 1827, wrote numerous articles in the Revue musicale and Revue et gazette musicale, and was author of a wide range of publications including Traité complet de la théorie et de la pratique de l’harmonie and Biographie universelle des musiciens. After his death, his library was bequeathed to the Belgian State in 1872 and housed in the Royal Library of Belgium.

Image: This is a “Belgian” print of Monteverdi madrigals by Petrus Phalesius. Monteverdi was one of the composers featured during the ‘concerts historiques’: fragments from Orfeo (a print is also in the Fétis collection) were performed during the first ‘concert historique’ in the Paris Conservatory on 8 April 1832. Claudio Monteverdi, Il quarto libro de madrigali a cinque voci. Antwerp: Pierre Phalèse, 1615. B-Br Fétis 2.268 A (RP). RISM A/I: M 3472.


Category: Electronic resources

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