Schumann’s 2nd Symphony Score Sells for $2.3 Million

From Reuters

The manuscript of a Schumann symphony, lost for more than 50 years, was sold at auction for a record $2.3 million in London on Thursday.

It was a record not just for a manuscript by Robert Schumann but for any 19th-Century score, Sotheby’s auction house said.

It said the manuscript of the German Romantic composer’s second symphony, written in 1846-47, was bought by Robin Lehman and his wife in New York City in a telephone bid through a dealer.


“They’re well known as private collectors and a large part of their collection is on loan to the Pierpont Morgan library in New York,” said James Kirkman, who took part in the bidding on their behalf.

The emergence of the manuscript from an anonymous private collection ranked among the most momentous sale events in music for 50 years, Sotheby’s said.

“In many places Schumann marked the score so heavily with revisions, deletions, erasures and scratchings-out in pencil, ink and brown crayon that new passages had to be pasted in on top,” Stephen Roe, head of Sotheby’s Books and Manuscripts department, said.

“Lifting these back one can see layer upon layer of working and reworking--earlier versions that have been hitherto unknown to scholars,” he said.

The manuscript had been expected to sell for around $1.25 million.

Some scholars believed the manuscript had been lost when an Allied bombing raid on Leipzig during World War II destroyed the premises of the music publishers who then owned it.