This single-owner music sale offered many unrecorded and unpublished letters and manuscripts. The highest price achieved was for Lot 138, the series of thirty-six unknown autograph letters by Verdi about Il trovatore and other operas. Lot 138 was purchased by the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali in Rome on the eve of the sale for £358,000, a record for a collection of letters by a composer. The printed brochure for this lot is available on request. On the day, good prices were realized for music manuscripts by Brahms, Chopin, Bellini, Schumann and Verdi (his earliest known sketch-leaf), all hitherto unknown. Strong results were obtained with autograph letters by Haydn, Gluck, Dvorák, Bruckner, Mahler, Tchaikovsky and Wagner, and for some splendid photographs, including four signed by Brahms, and others by Mahler, Johann Strauss and Puccini.
Sotheby’s is honoured to offer for sale fine and important music manuscripts and letters from a distinguished private collection, amassed in the first half of the twentieth century, and unknown and inaccessible since then. It contains a large number of new, unpublished and unrecorded manuscripts including an autograph canon by Beethoven, “Ewig dein”, reported in the 1860s but thereafter untraced, leading modern scholars even to doubt its existence. There are also unrecorded music manuscripts by Chopin, Bellini, Verdi, Schumann and others. Most remarkable is a series of thirty-six mainly unpublished letters by Verdi to one of his most important collaborators Salvatore Cammarano, about composing Il trovatore, Luisa Miller and other operas. There are also music manuscripts by Brahms and Mendelssohn, letters by Haydn, Gluck, Paganini, Berlioz, Rossini, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Mahler and Puccini and many exceptional signed photographs.