Classical composers are making beautiful sounds on the collectors' markets...

When it comes to letters written by historical figures, the more personal examples are often those which bring the most at auction. But what if your chosen collecting niche is legendary musicians - specifically classical composers?

While a signed Franz Liszt (1811-1886) letter would undoubtedly reveal other sides to the man, it's likely that nothing would have meant more to him than a freshly inked copy of his latest composition...

Liszt won't be appearing in Ader's Manuscripts and Autographs auction on December 3. Instead, you'll have a chance to own an historic score by a composer whose chamber works have been called "among the most distinguished contributions in the field by any French musician."

César Auguste Jean Guillaume Hubert Franck 's third Chorale

César Auguste Jean Guillaume Hubert Franck (1822-1890) was a Dutch-Belgian-French-German composer, pianist and organist who specialised in symphonic, chamber, and keyboard pieces.

Franck's final great work was written in the year of this death, the Three Chorales for organ, intended as his great musical legacy before he died on November 8, 1890. It is now for sale to collectors in Paris.

Composer and organist, César Franck

The manuscript for this third Chorale is dated and signed at the end: "September 30, Cesar Franck." It is written in brown ink on paper over 12 lines, including erasures and corrections - the latter including six measures crossed out after the 21st degree - and many indications in pencil.

According to Ader's lot notes, this manuscript was used for engraving, and wears registrations in ink by another hand - probably that of the British scholar and printer Samuel Rousseau.

Considering the significance of Franck's life and works, it's incredible that this manuscript for the third Chorale is appearing with a relatively low estimate of €10,000-15,000. We won't be surprised if it brings considerably more in the December 3 Paris sale.

And speaking of Franz Liszt, while he isn't appearing in Ader's Paris auction, he is one of many legendary composers whose memorabilia has appeared for sale on the private markets.

Meanwhile, below are a few of our favourite items linked to famous composers which are presently available to collectors and investors (you can click on the images to find out more)...

A rare autographed letter from Richard Wagner dated to 1877


This letter by Hitler's favourite composer, Wagner, was written to the to the Leipzig firm of G Steckner. Bearing Wagner's autograph in purple ink, it is currently for sale to collectors priced at £7,500 ($12,375).

A signed formal photographic portrait of Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)


The Italian Romantic composer Guiseppe Verdi was known for transcending the traditional boundaries of genre with his music. Here, he's transcending the boundaries of career choice, posing nicely as a model in this Paris, April 1880, photo which he later signed.

A personal cheque both filled out and signed by Gershwin


And last, but by no means least, is this cheque autographed by George Gershwin (1898-1937), the American composer who wrote pieces for Broadway and the classical concert hall, along with popular songs for the wider public. It may not be an original piece of sheet music, but Gershwin's signature still packs a punch as an entry-level investment. It's presently for sale priced at £1,950.


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