Catalogue of Musical Collections of Prince George Rudolf's Liegnitz Library „BIBLIOTHECA RUDOLPHINA”

This catalogue includes a collection of music from the seventeenth-century Liegnitz musical library of Prince George Rudolf of the Silesian Piast dynasty, which is now located in Poland in four scientific libraries, namely the Friends of Sciences Society in Liegnitz, the Library of the Catholic University of Lublin, the National Library in Warsaw, and the Library in Wroclaw University.

The music collection that comes from Liegnitz are found in four different libraries in Poland because of World War II, for they were scattered throughout Silesia and did not find its way back to its last place in the Building of the Kights Academy in Liegnitz. It belonged to the ducal library, Bibliotheca Rudolphina, in Silisia in the Age of Enlightenment.

The name of this library is after its founder, Prince George Rudolf, who was the representative of the Silesian Piast Dynasty and ruled the Principality of Liegnitz in the years 1602-1653 after the death of his father, Joachim Frederick, the Duke of Brest-Liegnitz.

George Rudolf was born on January 22, 1595 in Olawa. He had been under the care of and was educated in the court of Prince Charles II in Olesnica after the death of his father up until he has taken power independently. George Rudolf received a careful education. In 1611, he studied at the University of Frankfurt-an-der-Oder. After returning to Liegnitz and reconciling the division of inheritance with his brother, John Christian, John Christian received Brest lands, while George Rudolf gained the Duchy of Legnica, George Rudolf went abroad. He had brought a number of books from the journey, which ran from Germany through Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands, as well as some work of the French and Italian dowry brought by his first wife, Princess Sophia Elizabeth of Anhald-Dessau II, whom he married in the autumn of 1614 in Dessau. After returning to Liegnitz he engaged in building his headquarters, the castle in Liegnitz, that is why the library had been located near St. John's Church. The long lasting reconstruction was stopped.

The prince resided in Prochowice for some time, where the Principality of Liegnitz and Brieg had their residence, and in Wroclaw. There is no supporting information of whether the library was moved to Prochowice. Before the thirty year war (1618-1648) Prince George Rudolf requested that his library be catalogued. An undated manuscript catalogue has been preserved from that time and could not have been started before 1617 and there is no print from later than 1618. Today, this catalogue may be found in the Old Prints Department at the University Library in Wroclaw along with the whole collection that was incorporated after 1946. It is believed that it is the first of a larger catalogue. The catalogue includes „Classis I Librorum Philosophicorum”, in the section „Mathematica” in group seven „Musica” there are 84 items with 131 volumes. A list was drawn up at the end of the catalogue that indicated that the catalogue system, which was developed based on fields of knowledge, was supposed to encompass the whole ducal library. However, only its first part has been preserved. This catalogue was intended for prolonged use, and this has been proven by empty spaces and blank sheets in each section. The whole ducal library was supposed to be comprised of 3090 volumes.

Later catalogues that were written in 1619 and 1635 have not been preserved.

Another manuscript catalogue, „Illustris Bibliothecae Lignicens (is), hactenus, ex Dei gratia in praesesentissimo periculo conservatae, Catalogus, MDCXXXVI. Conscriptus â Christoph. Prellero was written by Christopher Preller in 1636. Musical works were separated into a separate catalogue along with other sections like law, medicine, and history and have been described on pages 1004 to 1060. Two hundred ninety works are listed. According to the list where the general number of books that are in the Liegnitz library, there were 474 musical works. The unit used for determining volume as a cadastral unit is an item. The whole library consists of 5542 bound piece, 738 unbound pieces and 474 pieces of musical works.

The library, which was enriched irregularly with new acquisitions, also did not manage to protect itself against several lootings that were connected with the Thirty Years War. The catalogue of missing pieces that was drawn up in 1636, „Verzeichniss derer Bücher, welche bey Erbrechung der Fürstl. Bibliothek, beiden alhier und zu Parchwitz verlohren worden 1636”, is proof that there are missing pieces and the ducal library was located in Liegnitz and partially in princely estates in Prochowice. As this catalogue confirms, 530 volumes are missing, including 16 musical items in 55 volumes. There is not information on when they disappeared or what the cause was. In 1627, soldiers of the imperial army, which was led by Wallenstein, were most likely the cause. In 1631-1635, pieces went missing due to Saxon army marches through Liegnitz region. However, there is no evidence that destructive activity was conducted by the Swedish army even though the Swiss transported the library's resources from Lubiaz to Szczecin, from Nysa and from Olomun.

In 1646, George Rudolf established a foundation for the Protestant School at St. Joseph's Church, passing the library onto the foundation. George Rudolf's second wife, Elizabeth Magdalena, the daughter of Prince Charles II off Oels, died childless in 1631. George Rudolf died on January 14, 1653 and this was confirmed by a record that was written before his death but was not fully respected because, the following manuscript catalogue that was drawn up in 1657 on request of Louis IV specifies the collection as „Bibliotheca Ducalis”. Therefore, the library had been allocated as a ducal library instead of a school library. The catalogue that was drawn up in two identical copies presents musical collections in alphabetical order of terms in the section „Libri Musici”. There are 126 titles of musical works. However, it must be concluded that the catalogue does not contain the whole collection.

Upon the death of the last Silesia Piast, George William, in 1675, Silesia and the Duchy of Liegnitz were considered as a fief of Austria. The library went under Austrian management. The entire library still remained in St. John's Church.

The catalogue that was drawn up in 1687, there is evidence of 486 volumes of musical collections. The musical works are listed in alphabetical order according to the surname of the composer, except a few adligats, which sometimes contained several co-equal items that were not separated. There is information at the end that states that the library contained 51 volumes of manuscript musical works and 22 volumes with „lines” for writing notes. Four hundred eighty-six was the highest number reached in the collections.

The ducal library shares a history of continuously diminishing quantities. In 1698, the whole library was moved to the prince's castle with the handing over of St. John's Church to the Jesuits.

In 1708, Emperor Joseph I ordered that the library be handed over to the new Knights Academy, and finally moved to the Academy's building in 1741.

Schultze had written about the library in 1822 by drawing up a catalogue that hasn't been preserved to this day. However, information that was handwritten by Schultz on a manuscript catalogue without a date was a list and a summary of the library's state has been preserved. One hundred seventeen items with musical works listed in alphabetical order are listed here. This catalogue contains many crossed out items, and some of them are dated 1854 and signed by Fr. Schultz. There are loose papers with several references to libraries and their missing items and the state of the collections. There is information on the missing items dated August 7, 1826, that duplicates were handed over to Berlin (5 items in 13 volumes). The summary for the whole library states that there are 456 musical works and there are 5281 volumes of books in the library.

More information on the state of the musical library is contained in a manuscript catalogue that was drawn up in 1854 by a Berlin librarian, Prof. W. Dehna, and includes prints and manuscript music that was found in the Knight Academy. The author mentions 228 titles of prints, which are in alphabetical order according to the surname of the composer and authors of the analogy. A detailed title, publishing address, number of votes, format, an index, and composers of the songs are listed in the analogy, as well as the number of songs in each print, notes regarding dedications and lyrics are provided for each item. The second part of the catalogue contains 23 manuscripts and 11 hymn books. There is a note appendix with transcripts of a few selected songs that are described in the catalogue at the end. Among them is a youthful composition of George Rudolf. After his death, Dehna catalogue was edited by Robert Eitner and made available to the public, but not entirely for only a collection of works up to the letter 'H', in the magazine.

The first printed catalogue of the whole musical Liegnitz collection was released in 1876-1878 and was the work of Ernest Pfudl, providing a detailed historical introduction that states the exact library and is the primary source for comparative research.

After World War II, as part of merging the scattered collections of different Silesian libraries, almost the whole Liegnitz library, „Biblioteka Rudolfina”, had been incorporated into the newly created University Library in Wroclaw. The musical collections, however, were not found in the partially disassembled group. There was worry that none of Rudolfina musical collections had been preserved. In 1955, Bronisław Kocowski wrote that the fate of this part of the collection is unknown. He suspected that they might be scattered in Libraries in East and West Germany and he also took into consideration that the musical collection was scattered all over Libraries in Poland, where they are not defined by provenance. Rudolfina does not generally possess a bookplate, i.e. the stamp of an owner's name or ex-libris, which defines the origin. Another possibility according to Wolfgang Scholtz: „Heute negfindet sich die Rudolphina mit ihren wertvollen und einmalign Werken in der Sowietunion, wahrscheinlich in Kiev”. Both of these pieces of information appeared in 1955.

The proof of ownership by the Piast library for persons who were familiar with the general ducal library were the initials of prince George Rudolf G. R. H. Z. L. V. B. and the binding date that were pressed on the front cover. At the beginning of the Twentieth Century, some new signatures have been written in on a label on the items of Rudolfina. These labels are located on the bottom part of the shelfback of each book. One thing was certain; the University Library in Wroclaw has a certain number of prints from George Rudolf's music collection. Thorough preparation of the preserved musical parts of Rudolfina revealed that the musical pieces from the period of ownership in the Seventeenth Century, the princely collections were characterized by a hand written signature of the ducal library from 1 to 117 items and the Twenty Century labels located on the shelfback included signatures from 4853 to 5310.

In the course of cataloguing the music collections, it was found that a group of the so-called secured collections in the University Library in Wroclaw after World War II in the Department of Music Collections there are a few items from Rudolfina, namely 4 sound books from different sets, including two adligats which contained 17 prints. The fifth preserved volume contained and inventory unit. At the time, The Department of Musical Collections has 3 volumes of manuscripts. Libr. Mus. 58 was included in the collections in 1946 when the University Library was being created after the war. Oddly, in 1970, musical pieces with the same hand written signature Libr. Mus. 58 (Septima Vox) were bought from a private person who had claimed that they were handed down for generations. In 1961, a manuscript with the Liegnitz signature Libr. Mus.19 was purchased from an antiquarian. In addition, the Old Prints Department contained sets of musical treaties (11 tittles) and a few occasional prints with notes in the Liegnitz sets, that have not been isolated previously in Rudolfina in separate musical collections.

In 1962, the work of George Gołosa on lute tablatures appeared in the National Library in Warsaw. Two of these tablatures come from the Liegnitz ducal library and contained the old signatures Libr. Mus. 98 and Libr. Mus. 100 and were marked with Rudolfina signatures 5229 and 5231.

In 1969, the author of the catalogue received a message that a certain number of prints and manuscripts from Rudolfina is in the Friends of Sciences Society Library in Liegnitz. They were passed over to local libraries in 1964 by Feliks Wisniowski, a teacher from Liegnitz, who had been storing them carefully. This collection composed of, as later stated, bound volumes which are marked by Rudolfina signature from 4860 to 5308. Most of them were adligats where there are 198 prints found in 36 volumes from the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century which, however, were only individual sound books in Rudolfina book collections. Moreover, there were two volumes in Liegnitz corresponding to two individual publishing. One of these prints was Valentine Triller's songbook „Ein Christlich Singebuch”, which was printed in Wroclaw in 1559. Joahcima Vanden Hovego's lute tablature, „Delitiae musicae”, printed in Utrecht in 1612, was an individual unit and this copy differs from the six editions that are known today by the publishing address that is on the title page „et veneunt apud Johannem Ioannis bibliopolam Arnemiae”. Moreover, there were six manuscripts in the Liegnitz collection, including a marked organ tablature with signature 101 and was considered permanently missing.

Progress in the search for Liegnitz collections was presented in publication sin 1973, 1975 and 1984. Their formulation revealed that despite the fragmentary state of this collection, it is still undoubtedly of great value. We can attempt to fill in the missing sounds in each song with appropriate sound books from other libraries, at least in part.

In 1975, a lecture on „Compositions from the Knight Academy Library in Liegnitz” was presented during the 9th National Compositions Conference, informing about storing certain musical collections in the National Library in Warsaw.

The final stage of the search was organized in 1983 in the halls of the Museum of Copper in Liegnitz. The efforts of this museum and the Liegnitz Music Society allowed for the organization of an exhibition of Prince George Rudolf's musical collection from the Liegnitz library in Poland, where they were stored and an annotated catalogue was created according to contemporary knowledge.

The natural consequence of locating valuable Liegnitz collections in three Polish Libraries was the preparation of a catalogue that presented preserved compositions. Surprisingly, in 1987, the author said that the Liegnitz copies are found in the next library. In 1987, the 7th National Music Librarian Conference took place in Lublin, creating an occasion for CUL (Catholic University in Lublin) to present the occasional exhibit of musical items, some of which came from Liegnitz. They were Rudolfina's rare books and manuscripts that have not received recognition.

This catalogue presents all the prints and music manuscripts that have been placed in the Liegnitz library so far and it is composed of 265 items, including 240 prints and 25 manuscripts.

It is not easy to provide a clear number of preserved volumes. Forty seven columns are located in Legnica in the Friends of Sciences Library. Thirty-three volumes are located in the Library of the Catholic University in Lublin. One hundred twenty-six volumes are located in the National Library in Warsaw. However, 2 volumes of adligats were separated into individual sound books during catalogue work, which gave 28 calculation units. One hundred volumes from the former Liegnitz collection are found in Warsaw. By 1992, the year the catalogue was published, it was found that the University Library in Warsaw contained 23 volumes, including 15 volumes of music treaties and occasional musical prints in the general princely collection that were not listed in the Liegnitz musical catalogue before.


Developed on the basis of

A. Kolbuszewska "Katalog zbiorów muzycznych legnickiej biblioteki księcia Jerzego Rudolfa Blibliotheca Rudolphina", Legnickie Towarzystwo Muzyczne, Legnica 1992

Wrocławscy KameraliściMinisterstwo Kultury i Dziedzictwa NarodowegoNarodowy Instytut AudiowizualnyKultura+DigitalizacjaWrocławBiblioteka NarodowaBiblioteka Uniwersytecka we WrocławiuESK 2016LegnicaTPN
Wrocławcy Kameraliści
Cantores Minores Wratislavienses

Ruska 46C
50-079 Wrocław
tel.(71)3443841 wew.13