Europe’s finest musical manuscript collection heads to Sotheby’s

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2015-06-26 10:56:57

Europe’s finest musical manuscript collection heads to Sotheby’s

Europe’s finest private collection of musical manuscripts will be offered for sale at Sotheby’s this Autumn – including work by Beethoven, Bach and Schoenberg.

The collection was assembled by André Meyer (1884-1974), the former Treasurer of the French Musicology Society whose extensive library was open to researchers, musicians and composers alike.

Throughout the 20th century Meyer obtained manuscripts, musical scores, books, works of art and musical instruments – and close to 450 lots from his collection will appear at auction in Paris on October 16-17.

One of the sale’s main highlights will be a remarkable sketch leaf of exercises by Ludwig van Beethoven, which includes ideas and piano exercises with a composition for a piano concerto in C Major. Formerly owned by the renowned collector Aloys Fuchs, the manuscript was later gifted to the composer Frédéric Chopin during a visit to Vienna in the early 1830s. It will appear in the sale with an estimated price of €100,000 - €150,000.

Other notable items include the first collected edition of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Six Partitas for Keyboard, dated 1731, estimated at €80,000 - €120,000, and a signed autograph manuscript of Arnold Schoenberg’s groundbreaking second String Quartet estimated at €100,000 - €150,000.

Aside from musical manuscripts, the collection also features numerous rare volumes including Jean-Philippe Rameau’s personal annotated copy of his ‘Traité de l’Harmonie’ (€60,000 - €80,000), and Girolamo Frescobaldi’s 1627 Secondo Libro di Toccate (Second Book of Toccatas) (€20,000 - €30,000).

Rare and important scores are present in the shape of Marco da Gagliano’s 1608 opera Dafne, estimated at €30,000 - €40,000, and a volume featuring unique scores by composers such as Luca Marenzio and Luzzasco Luzzaschi valued at €8,000 - €10,000.

The auction will also feature portraits and sculptures of composers such as Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert, along with items of fine antique furniture and unusual musical instruments.

 

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