(The Surviving Instrumental Repertoire of the Dresden Court Chapel from the First Two Thirds of the 18th Century)
In the 18th century the Dresden court chapel was famous for the exceptional virtuosity of its members, in particular for the precision and elegance of their ensemble playing. This was true not only regarding the opera and sacred music but also for performances of instrumental works in all the major genres. Nearly 1800 compositions of the former repertoire have been preserved. There are highly renowned composers such as Antonio Vivaldi, Georg Philipp Telemann and George Frederic Handel, but also musicians of whom we remember only their names and a few biographical data.
In recent years it became an increasingly urgent question, how such an important collection could be made available to the interested general public as well as to musicians always eager for exciting additions to their performing repertoire; and how its availability for researchers could be optimized, at the same time protecting the fragile originals from being used too much.
From July 2008 to July 2011 a research project on Die Instrumentalmusik der Dresdner Hofkapelle zur Zeit der sächsisch-polnischen Union. Erschließung, Digitalisierung und Internetpräsentation (The instrumental music of the Dresden court chapel at the time of the Saxon-Polish union. Documentation, digitalization and internet representation) was undertaken at the Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden (SLUB), financed by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. The project aimed at the documentation and digital presentation of the legendary Schranck No: II (Cabinet No. II), in which the repertoire of the Dresden court chapel no longer in use after the Seven Years’ War had been archived.
An additional result of the digitalization project was the identification of a considerable number of works that had been transmitted anonymously. The examination of copyists and papers yielded new insights on the dating and provenance of the manuscripts. In June 2010, a colloquium entitled Das Instumentalrepertoire der Dresdner Hofkapelle in den ersten beiden Dritteln des 18, Jahrhunderts – Überlieferung und Notisten (The instrumental repertoire of the Dresden court chapel in the first two thirds of the 18th century – transmission and copyists) addressed related questions of methodology and tested the limits of scribal research. All these activities were brought together in a volume presenting the salient points of our current knowledge about the manuscripts from Schranck No: II – an indispensible research guide. The study appeared in 2012 as vol. 2 of Forum Mitteldeutsche Barockmusik.
© Mitteldeutsche Barockmusik in Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt und Thüringen e.V.