Generally, Festschriften fall into three categories: memorial volumes, issued shortly after the death of the honoree, and often comprising personal tributes and reminiscences; commemorative volumes, published to honor some milestone in the deceased dedicatee’s life; and Festschriften proper, presented to a living recipient on the occaision of a birthday, anniversary, or transitional event. For more about this publication type, see the Preface to RILM’s Liber amicorum, the first volume in our retrospective Festschriften project.
Above is a reproduction of the frontispiece for Beethoven-Album: Ein Gedenkbuch dankbarer Liebe und Verehrung für den grossen Todten, a commemorative volume published in 1846; the book includes poems and compositions dedicated to the composer, including works by Liszt, Meyerbeer, and Czerny.
In spite of their widely acknowledged importance, music Festschriften have been far from accessible to researchers. RILM has now addressed this need with an abstracted and indexed bibliography of 3881 essays on musical topics from 715 Festschriften dedicated to music scholars and others published before RILM’s regular bibliographic coverage began in 1967. Reflecting the currents of history from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century—the advent of ethnomusicology, the rise and fall of Nazism, and the heyday of serialism, to name just a few—this compilation provides vivid insights into the histories of cultures, disciplines, institutions, and prominent individuals.
Liber amicorum completes a dyad with RILM’s Speaking of music: Music conferences, 1835–1966, a similarly structured retrospective bibliography of conference proceedings. These two unique book genres—Festschriften and conference proceedings—comprise uncommonly important collections of scholarly essays in the histories of academic disciplines, presenting groundbreaking research directly to colleagues and mentors.
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