The music manuscripts in this auction sold particularly strongly, with major autographs by Haydn and Ravel both selling for over £200,000 and auction records being broken for manuscripts by Sibelius (£65,250), Dvorák (£167,000) and Prokofiev (£87,500). The price paid of £60,000 for Liszt’s Grande Fantaisie on Berlioz’s Lélio was the highest for this composer in nearly thirty years. The same price was achieved by a remarkable early printed scroll, the Cronica cronicarum, printed in Paris in 1521. Letters and manuscripts by Egon Schiele, Elias Canetti and Vladimir Mayakovsky also sold well.
The top lots in the Sale include over twenty substantial autograph music manuscripts by Haydn, Dvořák, Franck, Liszt, Johann Strauss, Sibelius, Ravel, Richard Strauss, Poulenc, Prokofiev and Korngold, together with scores corrected by Bernstein and Astor Piazzolla. There is also a remarkable set of 90 gouaches by Erté: his stage designs for “Der Rosenkavalier” at Glyndebourne in 1980.
Among the Continental manuscripts there is a collection of artists’ letters by Monet, Schiele, Franz Marc, Kandinsky, Klimt and Dix, together with important manuscripts and letters by Casanova, Peter the Great, Mayakovsky and Canetti. Among the printed books, there is a 1483 hand-coloured Bible in a contemporary Salzburg binding. There is a collection of seven fine papal bindings together with colourful works by Barbier, Brunelleschi and Schmied with pochoir illustrations, a rare pamphlet by Kepler and an uncut copy of Galileo’s Dialogo.
Sotheby’s is delighted to include a private collection of over eighty autograph musical manuscripts, sketches and quotations, with estimates from £600 up to £10,000
(lots 140-197). We have no record of a similarly accessible collection being offered for many years, affording an excellent opportunity to acquire autographs by some very popular nineteenth- and twentieth-century composers, many of whose manuscripts are rarely encountered at live auctions. There are some working composition sketches by Bernstein and Donizetti, complete albeit brief pieces by Paganini, Rossini, Berlioz and Liszt as well as shorter quotations by Schumann, Mendelssohn, Dvořák, Smetana, Wagner, Berg and Gershwin. A particular feature is the number of musical examples by leading modern composers such as Stockhausen, Berio, Boulez, Carter, Cage, Górecki and Pärt.