Rare Beethoven manuscript at Sotheby’s


On 20 October Sotheby’s London will offer a previously undocumented and unpublished sketch-leaf for Ludwig van Beethoven’s most renowned piano concerto, his ‘Emperor’ Concerto, estimated at £150,000-£200,000.

Simon Maguire, director and senior specialist in Books & Manuscripts said: ‘This is a rare opportunity to acquire an unpublished draft for one of Beethoven’s greatest works.’

First draft

Offered on the open market for the first time in ‘The Library of an English Bibliophile, Part VI’, this sketch-leaf is one of the earliest for this great work, possibly containing Beethoven’s first draft of its famous themes.

Beethoven’s Fifth Piano Concerto in E Flat Major, Op. 73 is dedicated to Archduke Rudolf of Austria (1788-1831), the brother of Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor and Beethoven’s great friend, patron and pupil.

An emperor of a concerto

The Archduke began taking lessons from Beethoven aged around 16 and he was the only pupil to whom Beethoven taught composition.

The Fifth Piano Concerto is now known simply as ‘Emperor’: legend has it that it was described by one of Napoleon’s officers as ‘an emperor of a concerto’ due to its grandeur and ambition. It is by far the composer’s most forward- looking statement in the genre.

To find out more go to Sothebys.com


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