The discovery at the Paris Opera Library, after over 100 years, of a unique and previously-unknown collection of autograph manuscripts (mainly of fragments, but also of short pieces) by late 19th-century Polish composers is a matter without precedent. The manuscripts, which were ordered by Charles Malherbe for the 1900 World Expo in Paris and are notated on special decorative forms, are of inestimable significance for musical culture. These are autograph manuscripts by 27 composers, some of them completely forgotten today; and others, such as Henryk Melcer, Tadeusz Joteyko, Ludwik Grossman, Roman Statkowski, Józef Wieniawski and Mieczysław Karłowicz, in greater or lesser measure present in the repertoires of soloists, chamber musicians and orchestral ensembles.
The unknown autographs now seeing the light of day are an academic revelation and an aesthetic feast.
The gorgeous manuscripts in the collections of the National Library of France in Paris were found by Ewa Talma-Davous; the collection was edited and prepared for publication, together with biographical notes about the composers, by Prof. Irena Poniatowska.