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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Mus 231

Gioacchino Rossini Péchés de vieillesse and Heugel archive


Manuscripts of 35 works from the Péchés de vieillesse in a scribal hand with autograph corrections; accompanied by an archive from the Heugel music publishing firm, documenting the production of the first edition of Rossini piano works.


  • 1857-1895

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in French.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Conditions Governing Use

Images linked to this finding aid are intended for public access and educational use. This material is owned and/or held by the Houghton Library, and is provided solely for the purpose of teaching or individual research. Any other use, including commercial reuse, mounting on other systems, or other forms of redistribution requires the permission of the curator.


.66 linear feet (2 boxes)
Includes the manuscript scores as well as an archive documenting the edition, production, and distribution of the following publication: Musique de piano. Oeuvres posthumes de Rossini, publiée sous la direction de A.-E. Vaucorbeil. Paris: Au Ménestrel, chez les éditeurs Heugel et Fils, [1888-1885]. Published in 3 series: I. Les reins; II. pièces divers, and III. Études, exercises, variations.

Note: Title entries in this finding aid give the original title, with titles given by A.-E. Vaucorbeil for the Heugel firm designated with "Heugel title."

Biographical / Historical

The collection Péchés de vieillesse, of which these manuscripts are a selection, was written between 1857 and 1868, at the end of the composer's life, after a long hiatus since his successful life as an opera composer.

The collection comprises short pieces for piano, and also for solo voices in all possible combinations, with piano accompaniment. The 237 pieces are organized in 13 albums (For an inventory of these albums, see P. Gossett's Rossini entry in NewGrove, XVI (1980).

The composer had the entire collection copied from his autograph (today at the Fondatione Rossini, Pesaro); he revised and corrected them carefully, signing each piece, possibly with a publication in mind. Often at variance with the autograph scores, they represent the authoritative text.

After the composer's death, in 1873, his widow, Olympe Pélissier, sold the entire collection to the English baron Albert Grant. He, in turn, had the collection auctioned off in London, in 1878. The Société anonyme de publications périodique, Paris, was among the buyers, purchasing 20 items from the Quelques riens pour album, and later adding 14 more items from other sources (one item contains 2 pieces). The Heugel firm acquired from them the rights to publish these 35 pieces for piano solo, as the very first edition of Rossini piano works. It was prepared by Auguste Vaucorbeil (1821-1884), then director of the Paris Opéra, who gave the pieces new picturesque titles, and changed the order completely.

Both the music manuscripts and the accompanying archive remained intact in the Heugel firm until sold in 1975 to the Hamburg auction house Hauswedell & Nolte, then to the dealer Scriptorium (Brussels) before they were acquired by the Houghton Library in 1996. In 1975 the manuscripts were consulted by the Fondatione Rossini, Pesaro, for the edition of the Quelques riens pour album (vol. XII of Péchés de vieillesse), M. Tartak, ed. (1982, with introduction and commentary).


Organized into the following series:
  1. I. Compositions representing the complete Quelques riens pour album (vol. XII)
  2. II. Compositions from other albums (vols. IV-VIII, X)
  3. III. Correspondence
  4. IV. Production documents

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

*95M-38. Purchased from J & J Lubrano, 39 Hollenbeck Avenue, Great Barrington, MA 01230; received: 1996 Jan. 16.

Related Materials

The Houghton Library holds another collection fromPéchés de vieillesse (fMS Mus 153). Detailed description in Barbara M. Wolff, Music manuscripts at Harvard (Cambridge, Mass., 1992), no. I/297.

Processing Information

Processed by: Barbara M. Wolff
Link to catalog
Rossini, Gioacchino, 1792-1868. Gioacchino Rossini Péchés de vieillesse and Heugel archive: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.

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