Bach's Partitas for Keyboard expected to make $194,000

The collection of investment banker Andre Meyer is to auction at Sotheby's on October 16-17 in Paris, led by an extremely rare first edition copy of Bach's Six Partitas for Keyboard.

Johann Bach six partitas first edition
The world record for Bach's work was set in June at Christie's

Bach's Partitas are a set of six harpsichord suites, which were published from 1726 to 1730. The first of his works to be published under his direction, they are also the last keyboard suites that he composed. They were first published under the title Clavier-Ubung Part I, with a further three books completing the series.

One of just six known surviving complete sets of Clavier-Ubung Part I, the work is one of the finest to have been offered for sale in recent years. Unlike other copies where it is frequently removed, the example at auction contains the imprint of the bookseller's daughter Rosine Dorothee, who had recently married Johann Gottfried Krugner, the engraver of the title page for Clavier-Ubung I.

The Six Partitas are widely regarded as some of Bach's finest works composed for keyboard. Examples of his compositions that were published during his lifetime are exceedingly rare, warranting an estimate of €100,000-150,000 ($129,000-194,000).

The current record for a Bach manuscript stands at £337,250 ($540,600), achieved by one of his late cantatas at Christie's in June.

Sharing the Six Partitas' estimate is a "virtually unknown" manuscript from Beethoven, which shows his ideas and workings for the piano. They are thought to have been used by Beethoven as exercises for himself or his pupils. Created circa 1800, the compositions were likely sold at the auction of Beethoven's effects in 1827, and are thought to have gone unnoticed since.

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