Arts & Culture
2:24 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Rare Beethoven Manuscript Going To The Highest Bidder In New Hampshire

An exceptionally rare scrap of music written by Ludwig Von Beethoven goes on the auction block Wednesday night at an auction house in New Hampshire. The single page document, which Beethoven apparently tore out of a sketch pad, provides rare insight into the composer’s creative process.

The rare Beethoven manuscript going up for auction in New Hampshire.
Credit Courtesy: RR Auction

The Beethoven manuscript, written in his own writing in about 1820, is an early draft of one of his most famous pieces, the Missa Solemnis.  It’s barely decipherable, even to a skilled musician.  Its value to scholars is that it provides important clues into Beethoven’s composing process, which he struggled with all his life. 

Bobby Livingston, a spokesman for RR Auction, expects it to fetch $500,000. “This Beethoven pocket sketch leaf has garnered intense interest from around the world,” said Livingston. “We’ve talked to people in Germany, Europe, the rest of Europe as well as the United States. We’re thrilled with the interest.”

The manuscript was originally found in the papers of Beethoven’s biographer, Anton Schindler but disappeared from view until 1996 when it was sold by Sotheby’s for $110,000.  Its current owner lives in Germany.

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