The latest SLUB project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) on "Dresden Court Music" bears the title "The collections of musical scores from the Dresden Court Church and the Royal Private Music Collection dating to the period of the Union of Saxony and Poland. Development, digitalisation and internet presentation" and started in August 2013. A period of three years has been planned for the project.
The first step in the project consists of the scientific documentation of the approx. 1,500 project music by the team members in accordance with RISM guidelines. In the process, the catalogue entries are continually entered into the international RISM source reference database, where – after a short delay – they will directly be made available for online research. Some 4,600 catalogue entries are expected to have been created by the end of the project. This volume, which more or less corresponds to the number of works recorded, results from the extensive manuscript collections in the project holdings.
The second step consists of the production of high-resolution colour scans of the sources by the SLUB Digitalisation Centre – a total volume of approx. 207,000 pages is to be digitalised. The final step consists of the structuring, whereby a digital table of contents is added to the scans, thus enabling a comfortable navigation within the often complexly structured digital reproductions.
The ascertaining of the papers and watermarks forms a special area of research within the project. On conclusion of the project, it is intended to incorporate the results of this research into the catalogue entries and publish them.
The appeal of the project collections lies in a series of prominent manuscripts, including the partial autographic movement part of Bach's Mass in B minor, primary transcripts of Good Friday oratorios by Johann Adolph Hasse and the great autographic masses and psalm compositions of Jan Dismas Zelenka. At the same time, the collections harbour many less known sources of equally notable artistic range and musicological value.
Another reason for attaching particular importance to the collections is to be found in the cohesiveness, in which the collections are preserved. In the past, the sources have been focused on in a predominantly selective manner – such as by concentrating on individual composers – while only a few studies exist on the overall historical context of the collections. Notwithstanding this, however, one of the goals of the new SLUB Dresden court music project is to create an improved starting point for a more broad-based research. From the perspective of digitally merging the collections, this project does not limit itself to the sources maintained in SLUB, but also strives to integrate other manuscripts that originally belonged to these collections but are now in other libraries. For this purpose, it has been possible to gain the support of libraries in Berlin, Brussels, Halle, Hamburg and Leipzig to date.