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Monday, 15 April, 2002, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
Beethoven's Ninth up for sale
Beethoven
Beethoven finished his symphony in 1823
The earliest-known draft of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is expected to fetch up to £200,000 when it goes under the hammer.

Sotheby's auction house in London described the manuscript as one of the most important documents of the German composer to be put up for auction.

The work shows Beethoven's first attempts at the opening of the epic piece, completed in 1823.

The manuscript has been dated to 1818, which around the same time as he was commissioned by London's Royal Philharmonic Society to write a symphony.

Appeal

The much-celebrated work was first performed in Vienna and has been credited with influencing other great composers including Schubert, Brahms and Wagner.

Beethoven scholar Gustav Nottebohm described the manuscript as the "very first sketch for the Ninth Symphony".

It will be sold on 17 May as part of musical manuscripts sale, which also includes a complete score of Mendelssohn's famous composition, the Hebrides Overture, also known as Fingal's Cave.

Meanwhile, the British Library is continuing its appeal to buy an archive of original music scores which includes the manuscript for Beethoven's Ninth.

Deadline

It has been offered a vast collection of historic musical material by the Royal Philharmonic Society for £1m.

But the library needs the help of the public to raise the final £200,000 needed.

A spokesman said the appeal was going well and that they were hopeful of raising the entire amount by the end-of-year deadline.

The society's collection includes working papers, minute books and correspondence with great composers and performers.

It contains 250 manuscript scores, and took 250 years to build up.

See also:

13 Mar 02 | Arts
Michelangelo sold to US buyer
14 Jun 01 | Sci/Tech
British Library plans digital future
18 Mar 02 | TV and Radio
Beethoven tops island hit list
08 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Beethoven manuscript sells for record price
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