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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 December, 2004, 10:34 GMT
Battle for Rachmaninov manuscript
Sergey Rachmaninov
Rachmaninov completed the work in Dresden in 1907
An original Sergey Rachmaninov manuscript was withdrawn from auction on Tuesday after a late ownership claim from the Russian composer's estate.

The annotated manuscript of his famous Second Symphony was due to be sold at Sotheby's in London, with an estimated price of 300,000-500,000.

But it was withdrawn just before the sale after Rachmaninov's estate claimed to be the true owners.

It was found in a cellar in Switzerland after being lost for almost a century.

The person selling it was a "European private collector", according to Sotheby's, but the company would not give further details.


"The manuscript was withdrawn from the music sale because there was a title claim from the Rachmaninov estate," a spokesman said.

The 300-page work has several pages missing, including the title page, and was one of a few of his original scores to be lost.

It was the "most important Rachmaninov manuscript ever to come on to the open market", according to Geoffrey Norris, Rachmaninov expert and Daily Telegraph critic.

It was composed in Dresden, Germany, and completed in 1907.

Of the works that were sold at the Sotheby's music sale on Tuesday, an autographed Chopin manuscript fetched 285,600.

And a sketchbook for Stravinsky's ballet Petrushka sold for double its estimated price, at 184,800.

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