Rare Haydn manuscripts in Australia for 150 years
Drafts that reveal process of composition were once kept in an envelope under the owner's bed. Marianne Macdonald reports
Saturday 15 April 1995
The working draft of the four famous string quartets, Opus 50, Numbers 3, 4, 5, and 6, which are bound together in a book, are extremely rare and throw light on the composing process.
They were first discovered in 1982 when the owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, took them in a shopping bag to show experts at a Haydn festival in her home city of Melbourne, Australia.
She is understood to have known what the manuscript was because it had been in her family for more than a century. What she did not know was that her version of the string quartets was unknown to scholars and considered lost.
When she was told about the value of her possession, it was transferred to a bank for safekeeping. At the beginning of this year, she decided to sell. The auction takes place at Sotheby's on 18 May, with an estimate of up to £750,000 for the four quartets.
The owner said in a statement: "They are not doing anybody any good in a bank vault. My husband and I have been music fans all our lives and I would like to establish a trust to help young people with talent make their way in the music world."
Stephen Roe, Sotheby's music specialist, said the manuscripts differed in small but significant details from the version which Haydn published in 1787.
"There are additional bars and crossed-out bars. The draft shows how the composer got to his final version. A lot of the movement titles are different, for example: in one movement he substituted `allegro' for `allegretto' in the published version."
The manuscripts have had a chequered history since they were written by the Austrian composer in the mid-1780s.
It is thought that Haydn gave them to his friend Muzio Clementi, the Italian composer, who made annotations. They came into the present owner's family in 1851 when they were bought in London by her ancestor, a retired English colonel, before he and his family emigrated to the Antipodes.
In the 19th century they languished on a sheep farm in New Zealand and survived a crossing by ship to Australia.
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Perez Hilton apologises for publishing Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
Victoria Justice on naked photo leak: 'Let me nip this in the bud right now – pun intended'
Jennifer Lawrence 'nude photo hacker' claims there are hundreds more celebrity images to be published
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: Pictures are completely fake, say singer's representatives
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£50000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Automation Tes...
£60000 - £75000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Business Anal...
£90 - £135 per day: Randstad Education Manchester Primary: Experienced Primary...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Science Teacher - South Es...