Monday, 11 December 2017

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Beethoven's Emperor Concerto manuscript offered at Sotheby's

Ludwig van Beethoven's handwritten Emperor Concerto manuscript is valued at up to $265,000

A previously unpublished one page sketch manuscript for Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto, handwritten by the composer, is to sell at Sotheby's.

First performed in 1812, the work is Beethoven's final piano concerto.

Beethoven emperor concerto
Beethoven's Emperor Concerto was his last ever piano concerto

It's expected to sell for around £150,000-200,000 ($198,430-264,574) in the Library of an English Bibliophile, Part VI auction in London on October 20.

Its full title is the Fifth Piano Concerto in E Flat Major, Op. 73. It's dedicated to Archduke Rudolf of Austria (1788-1831), Beethoven's patron and former pupil.

It apparently received its nickname when one of Napoleon's officers described it as "an emperor of a concerto" due to its magisterial grandeur.

This page offers a fascinating insight into Beethoven's creative process, with the phrases at the top of the page later evolving into two separate movements.

Berlin's Deutsche Staatsbibliothek holds most of the remaining drafts for the concerto. Very few pages remain in private hands.

As Simon Maguire, Sotheby's director and senior specialist of books & manuscripts, explains: "This is a rare opportunity to acquire an unpublished draft for one of Beethoven's greatest works".

The record for any Beethoven manuscript is $3.4m, set for a handwritten copy of the Ninth Symphony in a 2003 auction.

We've got this original manuscript by legendary jazz saxophonist John Coltrane for sale.

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Images: Sotheby's

Last updated: 17 September 2016