Beethoven, Mozart and Weber in Opole
An original autograph of Ludwig
van Beethoven on the back of a drawing from 1822, a copy of the manuscript of
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Coronation Mass from the second half of the 18th
century, and a copy of the manuscript of Carl von Weber's opera Der Freischűtz (the Marksman) from the 19th century were presented to the
University of Opole on a loan for two years by Mr Marek Schubert from Wrocław.
All three documents are being digitised and will be available in the digital collections of the University of Opole Library and the Silesian Digital Library.
The most important is, of course, Ludwig van Beethoven’s autograph. “I
didn't look for it, it found me," says the owner of the documents, Marek
Schubert, a dentist from Wrocław. “I bought a drawing of Schubert on the
Internet, which I always wanted to have, and it had Beethoven's autograph
attached to it. Its authenticity was confirmed by the late Professor Tadeusz
Widła of the University of Silesia, the guru of the Polish forensics.
On the basis of identification tests, with the use of comparative material, he concluded that the author of the signature was Beethoven. There is therefore no doubt about that.”
For the past few years, the valuable exhibit has been kept in the Jagiellonian University library. “However, I always wanted it to reach Opole Silesia," says Marek Schubert, who comes from Wrocław, but spent his childhood in Namysłów. “Not only because of my family and friendship ties to the Opole region, but also because Beethoven was Count Oppersdorff’s guest in Głogówek in 1806.”
Marek Schubert said that the opportunity to donate van Beethoven's autograph and copies of works by Weber and Mozart had arisen after a meeting with the former long-time Rector of the UO, Professor Stanisław S. Nicieja. “He is an extremely charismatic person, and after exchanging two sentences, he proposed that the autograph should go to the University of Opole," recalled Marek Schubert. “The final decision was made after a meeting with Professor Marek Masnyk, the current rector of the University of Opole.”
On 10 February 2023, an agreement between the University of Opole and Mr Marek Schubert to store all three historical documents in the University of Opole's repository was signed.
“Mr Schubert's decision was influenced by the fact that he has a great fondness for the Opole region and had been a childhood friend of his late student friend Leszek Kuberski, former Vice-Rector of the UO,” said Prof. Marek Masnyk during a press conference organised in the Plafond Hall of the UO on 3 March 2023 on the occasion of the presentation of the documents. “I am delighted that this sentiment, the memory of personal relations and certain historical considerations have led us to have such valuable exhibits in the collection of our university for at least the next two years.”
“These documents will be kept with us in exactly the same conditions as they were kept in the Jagiellonian University Library,” assures the Director of the UO Main Library, Danuta Szewczyk-Kłos. “We are also preparing facsimiles of these documents with the help of a specialist publishing house from Toruń. They will be on display in the University of Opole Museum's showcases.”
The originals will be placed in the safe of the UO Main Library, where appropriate temperature, humidity, burglary and fire protection measures, among others, are observed as required. “These are the first documents of such great importance to be placed in our safe," stressed Danuta Szewczyk-Kłos.
Asked whether the safe had been specially purchased or prepared for this purpose, she assured that such a safe had already been in the UO Library. “Our library has other valuable documents that need to be stored in just such special conditions,” she added. “We currently have 747 copies of old prints, which also require appropriate storage conditions.”