Project Description


About the Carl Maria von Weber Complete Edition (WeGA)

The WeGA is a project funded by the Academy of Sciences and Literature (Mainz) with the aim of presenting all of Weber’s compositions, letters, diaries and writings in a historio-critical complete edition by the 200th anniversary of Weber’s death in 2026. The edition was planned with 56 volumes of music including critical reports, 10 volumes of letters, around 8 volumes of diaries, 2 volumes of writings, a catalog raisonné and several volumes of documents. All the actual textual parts mentioned (i.e. excluding the musical texts) will be published as a digital edition. A later printed publication of these parts of the text is planned, but these plans have not yet been concreted. The WeGA is published by Prof. Dr. Gerhard Allroggen, and editor of the edition since 2006 has been Prof. Dr. Joachim Veit, the project manager since 2022 is Prof. Dr. Antje Tumat. The WeGA is being prepared at two workplaces, one of them in the Berlin State Library and the other one at the Detmold/Paderborn Musicology Seminar . The Weber Studies series has been published parallel to this edition since 1993.

The full-time employees of the edition are Dr. Markus Bandur (100%), Dr. Solveig Schreiter (75%) and Frank Ziegler (100%) in Berlin as well as Peter Stadler M.A. (100%), Salome Obert M.A. (65%) and Dr. Andreas Friesenhagen (65%) in Detmold. Eveline Bartlitz (Berlin) is involved in the letter edition as a freelancer; The diary edition is looked after by Dagmar Beck (Berlin, on a voluntary basis since she retired). Prof. Dr. Joachim Veit (Detmold) continues his work as chief editor after his retirement in 2022. External editors are also working on the edition of the work, which is published by Schott Music in Mainz.

The Contents of Weber Digital (WeGA Digital)

With its new website launched on May 4, 2011, the Weber Complete Edition has already begun to present its holdings and works during the ongoing work on the edition of Carl Maria von Weber’s letters, diaries and writings (and during the parallel work on the music volumes) in order to make available the information they have collected so far to the interested public and specialist colleagues. In the area of scholarly editions, this was certainly an unusual step, as it is still considered advisable to only publish editions when, if possible, the last open question has been clarified – which in principle is never the case, since scholarly knowledge usually develops into new, unanswered questions. Anyone who publishes too early exposes themselves to the risk of showing weaknesses and their own ignorance, or simply revealing what is “unfinished”, or making existing gaps clearly visible. Conversely, the pursuit of over-perfection unfortunately all too often means that certain edition results never reach the public eye and valuable information for further research is lost.

When the WeGA staff opened their “workshop”, so to speak, with their website, they were well aware of the dangers involved, but also saw making their work transparent as a double opportunity: on the one hand, external scholars and the public have the opportunity to build on the findings of the WeGA at an early stage, but on the other hand, the edition also hoped to contribute to a new culture of open, cooperative scholarly cooperation and at the same time to benefit from it. The new media not only create new opportunities for scholarly research, they lead – e.g. through surprisingly emerging cross-connections – to new questions that can often only be fruitfully answered in collaboration with many partners. The techniques for conveying knowledge via this medium are certainly still in their infancy, and the WeGA website is also one that (also due to limited human resources) can only gradually develop the content and possibilities hidden in its materials. Over the years, it has also become clear that this sometimes problematic open view of the workshop has encouraged many of our users to give feedback, help correct errors or provide a variety of additional information – especially in the area of prosographies – that we could hardly have found ourselves. We would therefore like to say a heartfelt word of thanks for these numerous feedbacks and at the same time ask you to continue to support us in expanding the information and to maintain the friendly understanding that we still have unfinished things in many places, and sometimes are unable to clarify details without a not justifiable ammount of work.

Basic information about the Processing Status of the Texts

All texts appearing on this website are encoded according to the guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) in version P5 (necessary own extensions to the schemas are documented, see the technical documentation). While a number of texts were recorded this way right from the start, others (such as the texts of the letters and diaries) were subsequently converted to this form of encoding. The aim of the website is to make texts, as soon as they are available in a reasonable basic format, available for the internal work of the staff of the complete edition and at the same time for the public. The various stages in the development of the texts are identified in the texts (in the preview panes after the identification number): Pure basic recordings that are not yet citable are marked with status “proposed”. Texts that have already been proofread and should at least be citable in the base text are given the status “candidate”. Finally, the texts that actually are ready to be released are marked with the status “approved”, which, however, does not necessarily mean that all the passages requiring comment have actually been completely clarified. (The objects can now also be pre-sorted according to these three document status categories using the search filter.)

Missing comments are partly due to the fact that certain explanations could be derived directly from the text encoding, but their classification or the technical implementation of the display has not yet taken place in some categories (this concerns, for example, the assignment of role names to works). In any case, it should be noted that the alternatively switchable XML display of the texts may contain further information that is not displayed in the rendering.

The individual types of text are developed to varying degrees. In principle, Weber’s primary texts have priority in the indexing work; letters, diaries and Weber’s own writings are the focus of the commentary.

Weber’s Correspondence and other Letters included

Weber, who himself wrote almost 6,000 letters during the period in which he kept a diary (1810–1826) (about two thirds of which are considered lost), is the focus of the electronic edition of the correspondence. The term “Weber: Correspondence” was deliberately chosen in the menu, even though only a tiny fraction of the letters in response to Weber were preserved. This correspondence often exists in a larger context, which should be illuminated wherever possible. The definition of a document as a “letter” has not yet been finalized at the current stage of the edition; handwritten documents (such as receipts, invoices, decrees, contracts, official documents, reports, notes, etc.), which were previously integrated into the “Correspondence”, have now been transferred to the “Documents” section, if they are not documents of a (personal) communication nature (in the case of archival documents, personal cover letters were left in the correspondence, see filter. Otherwise, court process recores and theater archive materials can be found in the “Documents” section). The more specific labeling of the individual text genres and a corresponding sorting function are among the current works that have not yet been completed. The texts can already be filtered according to the document types “Letter”, “Albumblatt”, “Guestbook Entry”, “Dedication” and, in the area of official letters, according to “Eingabe”, “Vortrag” or “Weisung”.

Going beyond the actual Weberian correspondence, the entry “Letters” under the “Indices” section also opens up a view of other letters from the area of Weber research, which can be sorted chronologically by sender, addressee, place of sender or addressee. Here, in particular, the letters of Weber’s father and the activities of the various theater companies in which he worked as a member or director are included, as well as an evaluation of the extensive correspondence by Weber researcher Friedrich Wilhelm Jähns, carried out by Eveline Bartlitz over many years.

Not all of the letters listed chronologically are yet available with full texts. The reproduction of the texts of Weber’s surviving letters is almost complete, but replies and in particular letters of other persons mentioning Weber are only represented incompletely or in some cases only with a brief statement of contents (cf. the display “Transcription not yet available”). Infered letters (which are supported by information in the diary and in other letters) were also created as separate objects (this process is still in progress) and provided with the information received (see the reference to “Backlinks” in the corresponding apparatus; in list or search view these letters can be hidden from the results by selecting the appropriate filter). In this way, a largely complete catalog of Weber’s letters could gradually be created, which would make it clear how modest the proportion of Weber’s surviving letter texts is.

Thanks to the friendly support of the Berlin State Library and several other libraries, it was also possible to supplement a small part of the transcribed letters with a facsimile of the respective source. Following the broader introduction of the IIIF technology, which is already used by a number of libraries, the amount of displayed facsimiles will be further expanded.

More recently, the filtering options for letters have been expanded to include a display of undated letters, a sorting by library and a somewhat more detailed timeline (see “Chronology”); a filtering for letters with facsimiles is under construction. As a result of the consistent encoding of the correspondence-specific metadata in the Correspondence Metadata Interchange Format (CMIF), all Weber letters can also be found via the BBAW’s correspSearch portal .

Weber’s Diaries

Corresponding to the letters, Weber Digital contains the complete diary texts from the years 1810 to 1826 transcribed by Dagmar Beck and encoded in TEI P5 under the menu item “Weber Diaries”. These entries can be sorted by year or month and can be accessed immediately on a daily basis. An additional weekly or monthly view (supplemented by the already available facsimiles of the originals) will be added later.

The numerous details of Weber’s income and expenses in the diary represent a particular challenge. Weber only partially provides them with the respective (and often different) abbreviations for the coin shapes as a category or individual designation. For clarification, the editor has added missing information, which appears in gray type in the rendering. The commentaries, which are still in progress, currently contain information on the people, works and places mentioned for several years, as well as occasional necessary text-critical comments. Concepts are currently being developed for the integration or presentation of the further comments and the planned connection of the digital copies of the diary.

Weber’s Writings and other Writings

After an in-depth discussion at the beginning of the work, the WeGA staff members, based on the author-centric concept of the website, have decided to not only list Weber’s texts under the menu item “Writings”, but also all writings by other authors (i.e. press releases such as reviews and performance reviews, literary texts, poems, etc.). Weber’s writings are thus listed under the menu item “Weber Writings”. Initially only Weber’s writings published in contemporary periodicals were included (including in particular the Dramatisch-musikalische Notizen published in Prague and Dresden); however, meanwhile all of his texts are included on the website, including the fragments from Tonkünstlers Leben). These texts are currently mostly still reproduced in the form of their first publication; Solveig Schreiter is currently working on the composer’s original drafts, which in many cases still exist. If these texts only have individual variants, they will be integrated into the critical apparatus, but if necessary, more deviating texts will also be reproduced in two (or more) versions. The earlier numbering from Georg Kaiser’s Sämtliche Schriften von Carl Maria von Weber (Berlin and Leipzig 1908) could not be retained due to different attributions and classifications as well as newly identified texts.

On the other hand, under the “Indices” menu item, all contemporary press texts or writings by other authors that have so far been recorded and tagged as part of the edition work in TEI P5 are listed in the “Writings” section. These texts, which now number more than 3,000, are primarily reviews of performances and reviews that are of interest for commenting on the other texts, on the works published in the WeGA volumes or for shedding light on Weber’s work. Our evaluation focused on the Dresden Abend-Zeitung, the various Berlin newspapers, the Kaiserlich Königlich privilegirte Prager Zeitung, the Morgenblatt für gebildete Stände and the Zeitung für die elegante Welt. Special consideration was given to performance reviews of Weber’s three major operas, Freischütz, Euryanthe and Oberon, which supplement or relieve the reception chapters of the corresponding volumes of the work edition.

With these writings, filter options are now also possible according to people, works, places and periodicals, but also according to document type (e.g. “Reviews of musical performances”, “Biographical”, “Historic news”, “Concert announcements”, “Literature”, “Reviews of works”) Unpublished, handwritten texts can be separated.

Weber’s Works and Works of other Composers and Writers

In the long term, the “Weber Works” section will contain the new catalog raisonné of Carl Maria von Weber’s works developed by Frank Ziegler and Peter Stadler. At the moment it is primarily used to identify the works mentioned in the texts and to provide the basic data for them. Therefore, only the catalog raisonné number (also the one mentioned in the Jähns catalogue), a standardized title, composer, librettist/lyricist and, if applicable, dedicatee and date of creation are mentioned.

Third-party musical or literary works mentioned in the texts are generally only included here if they are mentioned several times in the texts.

The search results in the “Works” section can currently be filtered by composer, librettist, lyricist and dedicatee. The “Backlinks” tab allows you to track all mentions of a work by Weber or other authors in a wide variety of documents on the website (provided the works have already been fully credited in the texts).

Biographical Information about Weber and other People

The menu item “Weber” also provides access to Weber’s correspondence, writings, diaries and his works. All entries for persons are created according to this same pattern and thus allow targeted access to the correspondence, writings or works of the person named. The people can be accessed via the register, but are usually accessed via the search function. In Weber’s case, an extended biography can be opened in the biographical brief overview.

People and their networks are the central point of the website, hence the list of their contacts (the contacts are arranged according to the weighting in the correspondence of the person being viewed).

The database, which now includes over 10,000 people, not only lists the people mentioned in Weber’s texts, but rather the listings go back to an initiative by the Fachgruppe Freie Forschungsinstitute in der Gesellschaft für Musikforschung , which dates back to 2005. As a result, a so-called “fffi database” was set up on the old WeGA website as a working tool for the project. The basis of the collections at that time was the WeGA personal database, and thanks to the friendly support of colleagues, it had been possible to add personal names from Schumann’s circle (provided by Bernhard Appel; abbreviation: SchEnd) and almost 700 cellists of the 19th century (Christiane Wiesenfeldt, abbreviation: Wies), the collection of names of the Bach Institute (Uwe Wolf, abbreviation: Bach) and to demonstrate the performance of such a system, people with the initial letters A and B from the correspondence editions of the composers Ludwig van Beethoven (abbreviation: BGA), E.T.A. Hoffmann (HoB), Albert Lortzing (LoB) and Giacomo Meyerbeer MB) as well as from Robert Schumann’s diary (SchTb). Due to inadequate technical conditions, this database was later frozen, but the existing data has been included in this documentation so that it is not lost. This results in the very different density of biographical information on individual people, for whom there is occasionally little more than a mere name. The origin of the personal data can be identified under the “Origin of data” section. We would like to thank Dr. Klaus Rettinghaus for his support in the subsequent addition and linking of personal data from Bach’s circle to the Bach digital database. At this point we would also like to thank the many helpers who have contributed to the constant improvement of this data over the years by providing information about individual people.

Thematic Commentaries

In the course of the commentary work on letters, diaries and writings, it has become apparent that certain themes recur frequently in these texts and – in order to avoid redundancy – should be explained in a central place so that a link can be provided from the individual passage for the sake of simplicity. The concept of this form of so-called “thematic commentaries”, inspired by the model of the Richard Wagner Letter Edition, was already envisaged by the WeGA at an early stage of the edition planning, but it was not until the end of 2016 that such overview commentaries were published for the first time with version 3.0 of the Digital Edition. Since then, 60 thematic commentaries have been created (as of 2023), which combine detailed entries from a wide variety of text corpora and at the same time considerably reduce the workload of the commentaries for individual passages. With these contributions, some of which are longer, building blocks for a new type of digital indexing of Weber’s work and influence are also gradually being created.

The need for thematic commentaries arises from the ongoing commentary work; however, some topics have been included from the outset. In the course of the work, for example, Weber’s concert activities and his travels are to be dealt with, but also topics such as his repeatedly failed efforts to obtain a position in Berlin or his relationship with Karl Graf von Brühl, the artistic director there, or Gaspare Spontini, the general music director, are to be examined. One focus so far has been Weber’s Prague years, which were honored with extensive documentation on the occasion of Eveline Bartlitz’s 90th birthday in December 2016 – including a detailed performance schedule for the years 1813 to 1816 (as far as possible with cast and performance reviews) and the first digital publication of Weber’s Prague notebook.

The Role of Authority Files and other Identification Numbers (IDs) in the WeGA

The linking of the data and the realization of the personal representation of the network of texts is essentially based on the use of authority files. However, it was not possible to use the Gemeinsame Normdatei (GND) exclusively, as, for example, numerous people from the field of theater (actors, singers, other theater personnel) have not yet been recorded in the GND. This also applies to the area of musical works, while place names are now identified via “geoNames ” in a form that is sufficient for the WeGA. Due to these gaps, the WeGA has introduced internal identification numbers in order to be able to link the various objects (these seven-digit numbers beginning with the letter A are also embedded in the links provided to the respective objects). Where available, however, reference is also made to standard data (GND, VIAF), as this also allows the use of the “GND Beacon” technology, especially in the case of persons, in order to integrate external resources and thus relieve the biographies.

Based on the WeGA’s own IDs, it is possible to make all mentions of a term or name in the respective context visible and accessible for all objects by means of the so-called “Backlinks” or to organize the objects according to the various categories assigned to the persons. This powerful tool for evaluating the texts (over and above the successively expanded search) should be expressly mentioned here.

The “News” Section

The “News” section contains news from the work of the WeGA in chronological order back to the creation of the very first website in 2003. This information on additions or innovations to the website (including the respective release news), on work on or the publication of volumes of the WeGA, on events, finds, newly emerging letters or manuscripts, as well as all kinds of news relating to the work on the complete edition can be filtered by time, persons, works and places. In particular, the technical development of the website and the publication of further content are documented in the respective release messages (accessible via the search).


The website is supplemented under the Project tab by a bibliography and a digital version of the editorial guidelines to the musical works (as a 2008 cumulative version of the original 1994 version of the guidelines, the Addenda and Corrigenda from 1997 and the 2000 publication in the Editionsrichtlinien Musik in a new form more appropriate to the electronic medium and augmented in 2015 and 2022) and the published texts. The latter are currently not up to date, as a new publication in TEI-compatible form (ODD) is being prepared.

A number of special digital publications have also been published on the website to date, which are listed on the Special Publications page.


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