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Ricardo Viñes collection of music manuscripts

Identifier: MSS 0213

Scope and Content Note

The Ricardo Viñes Collection of Music Manuscripts consists of thirty-six original piano works, piano transcriptions, and cadenzas from the personal music library of Ricardo Viñes, most of which carry some type of inscription to the pianist.

Of the manuscripts marked with Viñes’s inscription, thirty-five are manuscripts -- several bearing the autograph of the composer -- and one is a marked publisher’s proof. All but two are imprinted with Viñes’s personal stamp which reads, "Bibiothèque Musicale / RICARDO VINÈS." The twenty works which bear dates fall within the twenty-five-year period between 1903 and 1928. The dates, in Viñes hand, are likely dates of original composition. The remaining pieces are entirely undated.

During the first three decades of the twentieth century, a movement towards a "new" style of piano composition took place in Paris. At the forefront of this movement, which paralleled the Impressionist movement in painting, were the works of composers Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. Literally world-renowned, nearly all of their works have become part of the standard concert repertoire. Less well known are the works of their contemporaries, yet these works are certainly valuable to any in-depth study of piano music and compositional practices of this period. As gargantuan as they are historically, Ravel and Debussy were not the sole forces behind this movement towards a "new" music.

The compositions represented in this collection are not universally recognized; a majority of them may be completely unknown. Many of the composers are better known for other non-compositional contributions to music. They were conductors, such as Inghelbrecht; performers, such as Bériot; musicologists, such as Knosp; or critics, such as Manuel. For some, even a brief biography in standard reference sources is unavailable. Nonetheless, these works are representative of all qualities associated with early twentieth-century Parisian style, from non- traditional chord progressions to fanciful, imaginal titles to the strong influence of Spanish music.


  • Creation: circa 1903-1928


Language of Materials

Materials in English, Spanish, and French.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Biographical Note

The Catalan pianist Ricardo Viñes, born February 5, 1875, in Lérida, Spain, was well known for his exceptional technique, his large repertoire, and his affinity for the music of his time. After a period of study with pianist Juan B. Pujol in Barcelona, Viñes went to Paris in 1887. With the exception of his several concert tours throughout Europe and South America, Viñes remained in Paris for most of his life.

Viñes enrolled at the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied piano with Charles-Wilfrid de Bériot, as well as composition and harmony with Benjamin Godard and Albert Lavignac. Amongst his classmates was the composer Maurice Ravel, with whom Viñes developed a close social and professional relationship. Viñes also became acquainted with composer Claude Debussy and premiered almost every piano work written by the two composers during the first decade of the twentieth century. Viñes became known as a champion of new music, particularly that from the French-Spanish school of his contemporaries. In addition to Ravel and Debussy, he premiered works by Manuel de Falla, Isaac Albéniz, Déodat de Séverac and Erik Satie, as well as later composers Darius Milhaud, Oliver Messiaen, Daniel Lesur, and his most famous student, Francis Poulenc. Many new Russian works were also given first French performances by Viñes.

Two Hommages - one to Satie and one to Séverac - are the best known of Viñes’s few compositions. He contributed several articles on Spanish music to French and Spanish publications, and kept an informative journal covering performance practices of his day. Viñes died April 29, 1943 in Barcelona.

Brody, Elaine. "Viñes, Ricardo,"New Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians. London: Macmillan, 1980, v.19, p. 790.Demarquez, Suzanne.Manuel de Falla. Philadelphia: Chilton, 1968.Lockspeiser, Edward.Debussy: his life and mind. London: Cassell, 1965, v.2.


35 item (1 oversized box)


The collection contains musical manuscripts from the personal music library of early twentieth century Spanish pianist Ricardo Viñes.


The manuscripts, including transcriptions, have been organized alphabetically by composer. Where a composer is represented by more than one work, the works are arranged alphabetically by title. For the purposes of this arrangement, a "work" is here defined as any complete movement bound, folded, or otherwise physically grouped together.

There are two minor deviations from this definition. The Leone Massino Suite pour le Piano consists of three movements folded separately. Because the movement entitled "Preludio" also bears the Suite title, and the three movements follow a standard "fast-slow-fast" form, it can be reasonably concluded that the three works are parts of the same, larger whole. Thus, they are filed as one.

Conversely, three of the Lucien L. Bernheim works - Complainte de "Feu-Follet," Danse slave , and Prelude: hommage a C. Franck -- are bound together yet bear no collective title. Neither the titles and characters of the pieces nor the dates and locations inscribed thereon give any conclusive evidence that their collective binding is anything more than circumstantial. This trio of works has been assigned the generic title Piano selections, and is filed accordingly.


Gift of the Moyerman family.

Materials Available in Alternative Format

Access to digitized versions of the Roberto Viñes collection of music manuscripts is available at .

Shelving Summary

  1. Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (17 inches)


Processed by B. C. Mayes, April 1991. Encoded by Natalie Baur, February 2010, Jaime Margalotti, 2013.

Ricardo Viñes collection of music manuscripts
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2010 February 16
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

181 South College Avenue
Newark DE 19717-5267 USA