LONDON (Reuters) - A unique manuscript by Ludwig van Beethoven that was lost for more than a century will go on sale in London in December priced at over one million pounds.
Discovered in July at the bottom of a dusty filing cabinet at a religious school in Philadelphia, the manuscript is a work in progress for the composer's Grosse Fuge in B flat major -- one of his most revolutionary works.
"This is an amazing find," said Stephen Roe, head of auction house Sotheby's manuscript department. "The manuscript was only known from a brief description in a catalog in 1890 and it has never before been seen or described by Beethoven scholars."
Not only is the 80-page document a working manuscript for the only piano version of a major work by Beethoven, it is one of his few compositions for a piano duet.
Sotheby's, which will auction the document on December 1, said it was the most important Beethoven manuscript to have come to market in living memory and would prompt a complete reassessment of his works.
It is the second time very rare musical documents have been found by chance at the former Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary -- now renamed the Palmer Theological Seminary. A Mozart manuscript was discovered there in 1990.
"At that time we called it the 'Mozart miracle'. It seems appropriate that this time we are thankful for the 'Beethoven blessing,'" said seminary president Wallace Charles Smith.
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