Henry Vieuxtemps at 200

We have received the following from Marie Cornaz (Bibliothèque royale de Belgique - Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België/RISM Belgium): 

In 2020, Belgium celebrates the 200th birthday of one of its main musical figures: violinist and composer Henry Vieuxtemps (1820-1881). Vieuxtemps was a child prodigy from Verviers, a small town near Liège. He had an outstanding career and was among the first musicians to go on tour across Europe, Russia and the United States. Widely acclaimed for his virtuosity and his sense of musicality, Vieuxtemps is also a composer who is worthwhile rediscovering today. The seven violin concertos, the Fantaisie-caprice and the Ballade et polonaise were often performed, notably by his most famous pupil: Eugène Ysaÿe.

The Music Division of the KBR has the richest collection in the world of sources related to Vieuxtemps. A few years ago, thanks to the King Baudouin Foundation, 32 autograph manuscripts were acquired, including the manuscript orchestral score of the Fifth Violin Concerto. More recently, the KBR acquired the autograph manuscript of the only opera composed by Vieuxtemps: La Fiancée de Messine.

The Music Division of the KBR also has more than 500 letters and documents from Vieuxtemps. Among them is a beautiful manuscript notebook. It contains dedications addressed to Vieuxtemps by many celebrities, such as Paganini, Spontini, Spohr, Mendelssohn and the Viennese editor Artaria, who added to his dedication two autograph pages of Joseph Haydn (the pieces for the musical clock called Flötenuhr Hob. XIX:1 and XIX:2). Most of the KBR sources related to Vieuxtemps are digitized and referenced in RISM. Moreover, the KBR offers a virtual exhibition on the life and works of this fascinating musician.


Image: Henry Vieuxtemps, by Charles Baugniet, 1840, KBR, Musique, Cl. 14490, courtesy of Marie Cornaz.



Category: Library collections

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