Music Publications and Sound Recordings


The music collection encompasses sheet music, books about music, gramophone records, audio cassettes, CDs, methodologies, encyclopedias, lyrics (librettos), dictionaries and reference books, language courses, musical periodicals (magazines and newspapers). Music sheets and scores are more than 50,000 in count, music theory has over 40,000 volumes, there are more than 20,000 units of recordings, audio cassettes and CDs.The total duration of the collection is over 30,000 hours of music from all genres!

The library possesses unique copies of rare and valuable Bulgarian sheet music publications.The Music Department contains the richest and best preserved collection of music editions from the late 19th century and the following decades. Only via this departmentit is possible to get a comparatively more complete picture of the production of the first Bulgarian music publishers in Varna (“Nietzshe”), Rousse (“St. I. Rigolev”), Sofia and other cities of the country. Thanks to the preserved periodicals of this time we have the only information about the composers’ work, comprising mainly songs and small instrumental melodies responding to the educational needs of Bulgarian schools at that time. Among these composers are A. Stoyanov, A. Bojinov, R. M. Zachov, D. Boichev and others. There are manuals, textbooks, and larger instrumental, vocal and orchestral works, performed at that time by A. Matsak, K. Mahan and others.

Among the most valuable sound documents are the three albums of gramophone records of “His Master’s Voice”, “Columbia”, ”Polydor”,”Granola” from 1930-40; the full collection of Maria Callas records (on gramophone plates and CDs); the Anniversary Edition of J.S. Bach’s Complete Works on 172 CDs “Hanssler”; the vocal recitals of Boris Christoff, Enrico Caruso, Placido Domingo, Joan Sutherland, Montserrat Caballé; thousands of instrumental works and opera albums with the most famous world performers. Particularly valuable books from the collection are the publications, dated from 1800 – 1830; repertoirs of the imperial theaters in Russia (1830-1890); the complete works of W.A.Mozart, P.I.Tchaikovsky, and many other scores and piano versions of symphonic or opera works of some of the world’s largest publishing houses (“Ricordi”, “Peters”); “ Grove Encyclopedia’; “Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart”; “Encyclopedie Larousse” and many more.

The department has a modern sound recording studio and an on-site auditioning studio.
It offers Internet and material scanning.
Boris Christoff’s costume from his participation in the opera “Boris Godunov” by M. Mussorgsky at the Covent Garden Theater in the 60s is exhibited in a special showcase in front of the department. In this performanceChristoff sang the Russian opera in Russian, which opened the way for the challenging practice any opera to be performed in the original language it was created.


The music collection has been created fifty years ago. In 1951 the music publications were taken from the Library’s main collection and organised in a separate collection. At that time, the operation of the Music Department at the Library was organised by Mrs. Lilia Nikolaeva. Since the late 1960s, for 30 years, the Music Department has been headed by VesselaMagneva, which was credited with the enrichment and display of the collection.Such music enthusiasts contributing to the development of music culture in Bulgaria as GeorgiSlavov, LyubaEncheva, Emil Naumov and others have contributed greatly to the collection development and have donated many items from their personal libraries.

Since 1965 all Bulgarian gramophone records have been deposited and stored in the Music Department. Since 1972 the music editions began to be registered and are currently included in the series “Bulgarian Literature”- Series 1 of the National bibliography and the sound recordings arepart of series 3.


The department is open to a wide range of readers – from students to academics. The reading room is used by musicians, composers, conductors, musicologists, critics, music lovers. Only the Music Department can be used by students from secondary art schools.

Business hours: Monday – Friday: 08: 30-17: 00

This is the costume of the famous Bulgarian bass Boris Christofffrom the opera “Boris Godunov” by M. Mussorgsky – a gift to the National Library by the singer’s wife Mrs. Franca de RenzisChristoff. In 1959, dressed in this Covent Garden Theatre costume, Boris Christoffreformed the opera, introducing Russian language in the performances of Russian operas.