hungarian center
for early music

The digitisation centre of the National Széchényi Library (OSZK), which has the largest and most modern equipment among the public collections of Central Europe, has been operational for a year. In connection with the inauguration of the centre, the OSZK and the Haydneum – Hungarian Early Music Centre have entered into a cooperation agreement, which has resulted in more than 20 000 digitised pages of music.

The aim of the collaboration is to process, exploit and revitalise the significant cultural, musical and musicological heritage of Hungary dating from 1600 to 1850.

Because of its enormous importance in the history of music, the two institutions were the first to work in depth on the works of Gregor Joseph Werner (Ms. Mus. III.): to date, 273 Werner volumes have been processed.
All the tools are available to digitise all types of documents in the holdings of the OSZK. The digitisation process is preceded by a pre-selection and a condition survey, which first of all examines the content and condition of the documents.

Digitisation is ongoing and a recent major achievement is the completion of the Ms. Mus. II. collection with 118 Michael Haydn volumes, which has now exceeded 20,000 digitised pages, a figure previously unthinkable. Ensuring the preservation of the original documents for posterity is an important part of the collaboration, and the library attaches great importance to their restoration.

Our staff have started to restore the Ms. Mus. IV . collection, the largest part of the Esterházy collectio, which includes works by other authors.

Modern scores of 37 Werner volumes have now been produced (and the list goes on), and the audience will be able to hear a selection of these at the closing concert of the II. Haydneum Festival of Sacred Music. These are the first works to have been through all the stages of the process (cataloguing, digitisation, restoration, modern scoring, performance/recording), and the main mission of the collaboration between the two institutions seems to be fulfilled: to bring back to the public works that have not been heard for centuries.

10,000 digitized pages: first milestone in the collaboration between the National Széchényi Library and Haydneum – Hungarian Centre for Early Music

The digitization centre of the National Széchényi Library (OSZK) has been functioning for one year. It boasts the largest and most modern equipment of any Central European public collection. Tying in with the inauguration of the centre, the OSZK and Haydneum – Hungarian Centre for Early Music signed an agreement, the fruit of which is these first 10,000 pages, something we can all be proud of.
The objective of this collaboration is the processing of material of considerable cultural, music and musicological significance dating from 1600 to 1850 and found in Hungary, making them utilizable and revitalizable.
Inter-institutional work is conducted in the new digitization centre of the national library, building on the fact that one of the most valuable resources of the OSZK Theatre and Music Department is the Esterházy collection, in which one finds manuscript scores by 18th and 19th century composers including Haydn, Werner and Albrechtsberger.
Given their enormous significance in the history of music, the works of Gregor Joseph Werner were the first to be dealt with in detail by the two institutions: a review of the project and preparations started in August 2022, and digitization began in October 2022. To date, 222 Werner volumes have been processed and 10,000 digitized pages have been finalized, something inconceivable earlier.

All equipment necessary for the full digitization of document types in the OSZK archives has been put at the disposal of the team working on this project. This supply provides the opportunity for mass digitization and online service support. The capacity of the currently available digitization equipment is 10 million pages a year. Prior to digitization, material is selected and assessed, in the framework of which priority is given to an examination of the content and physical state of the documents.
Two types of digitization, mass and manufactured, are carried out in the centre, affecting documents requiring enhanced stock care. In time, modern score publications will be published from the material already processed and to-be processed by Haydneum. This in turn will require further considerable research in the fields of linguistics, musical and historical interpretation. One of the principal goals of the institution is that through the modern editions, these works – not played for several centuries – should find their way into the concert halls of today and, thanks to performances and recordings, come to the attention of not only the music profession but a broader general public, too.
The emphasis remains on Werner in the first half of 2023, but parallel with this experts will also start processing other parts of the legacy. The 10,000 pages digitized so far represent just the first chapter in the professional work that every day enhances the cultural abundance of our age in the digital space.


Research lies at the heart of the Haydneum’s work to rediscover and popularise and is integrally linked to training and performance

Under the direction of a scientific committee made up of experts in Hungarian-linked Baroque, Viennese Classical and early romantic musical life, research will be organised in the form of study areas and ambitious years-long research projects which will be supplemented by aspects of historical, social, musicological and performance practice and will lead in turn to the organisation of seminars, courses and conferences and the publication of digitised source material, books and scores. We are also offering scholarships to students who are committed to studying this repertoire.

Istvánffy: Conforto Aria Offertorium

Cooperation between the National Széchényi Library and the Haydneum

The National Széchényi Library's Digitisation Centre has been inaugurated, marking the beginning of a major collaboration between the National Széchényi Library and the Haydneum.

The National Széchényi Library has today inaugurated the largest and most modern digitisation facility of any public collection in Central Europe, capable of digitising 10 million pages per year and all types of documents in the library.

The aim of the collaboration between the OSZK and the Haydneum – Hungarian Centre for Early Music is to use the new digitisation centre to process, with the participation of Haydneum staff, musical and musicological remains of great cultural value from 1600 to 1850 in Hungary.

The Esterházy Collection, one of the most valuable holdings of the OSZK’s theatre and music library, contains manuscript scores of composers from the 18th to 19th centuries, including Haydn, Werner, Albrechtsberger and others. In the course of the cooperation, we plan to make the Early music scores and documents preserved in the OSZK available in digital form, and in line with our basic mission, these newly discovered works will soon be available in concert halls and on recordings, so that they can be presented to the general public.