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Friday, December 09, 2005
LONDON -- A working manuscript of Ludwig van Beethoven's "Groose Fuge" sold for US$1.72 million to an anonymous buyer, Sotheby's auctioneers said.

Sotheby's desctined the manuscript, discovered in a Pennsylvania sminary library, as "an astounding and important discovery" and possibly themost substantial manuscript of a Beethovern work to come up for sale in more than a century.

The buyer, who bid by telephone, paid US$1.95 million, including the buyer's permission, Sotheby's said. It declined to say where the buyer was based.

"The manuscript was only known for a brief description in a catalogue in 1890 and it has never before been seen or described by Beethoven scholars", said Stephen Roe, head of Sotheby's manuscript department.

"It's rediscovery will allow a complete reassessment of this extraordinary music."

Manuscript rediscovered
The 80-page manuscript is a piano duet version (opus 134) of the last movement of Beethoven's string quartet in B flat (opus 130), which was first performed in 1826, a year before his death.

The "Grosse Fuge" composed as part of commission from Prince Nikolay Golitsin of St. Petersburg., was originally published as the finale of the string quartet.

Because players found the manuscript so difficult, the publisher asked for a simple version, and the "Grosse Fuge" was then puboished separately (opus 133).

The piano manuscript was rediscovered earlier this year by librarian Heather Carbo at the Palmer Theological Seminary in Wunnewood, Pa., just outside Philadephias' city limits.

The manuscript is full of clues to Beethovens' composition process. It is written in brown and black ink, sometimes over pencil and includes later annotations in pencil and red crayon. There is evidence of deltions, corrections, deep erasures, smudged alterations, and several pages pasted over the original.

"The extent of Beethovens' working and reworking on the manuscript suggests that the composer accorded it great significance and leads to the suggestion that he may have given the four hand version equal standing with the better known quartet version," Sotheby's catalogue said.

'Very important discobery'
University of Pennsylvania musicologist Jeffrey Kallberg, who authenthicated the manuscript, said it was in pristine condition because it has not been touched or moved for so many decades.

"It's a very important discovery", he said. "This was a controversial and not understood work because it was so ahead of its time. It sounds like it was written by a dossonant 20th century composer."

The manuscript was last mentioned in an 1890 auction catalog from Berlin. The buyer is not documented, but seminary officials believe it was industrialist and composer William Howard Doane.

(Source: Associated Press)
posted by infraternam meam @ 11:34 PM  
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