Classical music enthusiasts and Beethoven connoisseurs sit up and take notice! An incredibly rare piece of classical musical history in the form of a page from a sketchbook that the composer Beethoven carried around while composing Missa Solemnis , will be up for auction next week at R. R. Auctions in Amherst, New Hampshire. It is believed that the page is most likely dated around 1820 and contains ideas in pencil and ink for the Sanctus section of Missa Solemnis with some fragments of Benedictus and Gloria. There are some discrepancies between this manuscript version and the final composition. Most notable that the manuscript indicates Beethoven was considering the Sanctus as a movement in 3/4 time (three beats to the bar) whereas the finished version is in 2/4 (two beats to the bar).
It appears that Beethoven eventually tore the page out of his manuscript and folded it enabling him to carry it around in his pocket. The penciled entries may have been ideas he jotted down during his walks. The leaf of manuscript was unknown before 1996 when it was discovered among the papers of Beethoven’s friend and early biographer Anton Schindler who also added notes identifying the material on the page. It was auctioned by Sotheby’s for $110,000 the year it was discovered but is expected to fetch almost double that amount this time.
The manuscript offers a rare insight into the methods and process of one of the world’s most respected music composers. It is a piece of music history in itself. Musicologist William was quoted as saying that the manuscript page represents a fascinating missing piece to the main sketchbook Beethoven used during 1820, and that it mirrors his creative process in fascinating ways.