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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 November 2005, 15:38 GMT
Beethoven's Burns fails to sell
Beethoven manuscript
The hand-written manuscript shows arrangements for folk songs
A rare Beethoven manuscript which includes songs written by Robert Burns has failed to sell at auction.

The 22-page manuscript in Beethoven's own handwriting shows five arrangements for popular Scottish and Irish folk songs.

The music, commissioned by Scottish publisher George Thomson, was expected to fetch between 350,000 and 450,000.

Bidding at Christie's reached 300,000, but the owner was not willing to sell for that amount.

Christie's said it could not reveal the reserve price.

Heated exchanges

It is the most complete manuscript in Beethoven's hand to come to the market for 15 years.

Between 1803 and 1814 Beethoven wrote 126 settings for Thomson, who wanted to popularise Scottish and Irish folk songs in 19th century drawing rooms.

However, the arrangements produced by Beethoven were too complicated for drawing room performers.

Correspondence in the British library suggests Beethoven and Thomson had heated exchanges on the matter, with the composer refusing to simplify the music and also continually haggling on his price.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See musicians try out one of Beethoven's folk songs



SEE ALSO:
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13 Oct 05 |  Entertainment
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Rabbie wis the man for a' that!
24 Jan 05 |  Scotland


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