As part of the bi-annual Music and Continental Books and Manuscripts sale, Sotheby’s are delighted to offer at auction the complete autograph manuscript of Gustav Mahler’s Second Symphony (the “Resurrection”). This dramatic manuscript, spanning 232 pages and written in the composer’s distinctive hand throughout, is the highest-estimated musical manuscript ever to be offered at auction, estimated in excess of £3.5m.
Other important lots include music by Beethoven (a complete “Allegretto” for string quartet (1817), Sibelius (“Voces intimae”, for string quartet), Chopin (the opening of the First Ballade), Hans von Bülow (his vocal score of Tristan und Isolde), Richard Strauss (“Intermezzo” for piano duet), Bartók (“4 Mélodies populaires hongroises”), Boulez ( [...explosante-fixe…], for solo flute), Mussorgsky (the song “Kot Matros”), Purcell, Elgar and others; together with autograph letters by Weber, Brahms (5), Mendelssohn, Schumann, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Puccini, Martinu and Peter Cornelius (also about Tristan).
The Continental Books and Manuscripts include a good selection of titles from the press of Aldus Manutius and his successors along with other early books printed in Greek. There is a fine collection of medical books from the library of J. Dudfield Rose, including the first edition of Ambroise Paré’s Les cinq livres de chirurgie (Paris, 1572) and Tagliacozzi. There are some fine Roman plate books in fine bindings (including a Piranesi and the Beckford-Rosebery copy of Marliani) and some early incunabular bibles. French literature is represented by a first edition signed of Baudelaire’s Les fleurs du mal, Rimbaud’s Les illuminations and Apollinaire’s Alcools inscribed to Max Jacob. Russian items include a first edition of Anna Karenina, works by Nabokov, a prayer book made for Grand Duchess Victoria Federovna and some orders of battle under Peter the Great.