News | June 24, 2024

Beethoven Neue Liebe, Neues Leben Musical Manuscript Sold for $225,000

RR Auction

Beethoven's first sketch of Neue Liebe, neues Leben

A rare autograph musical manuscript by Ludwig van Beethoven featuring his first draft for the lied Neue Liebe, neues Leben (New Love, New Life), has been sold for $225,000 at Boston-based RR Auction

The manuscript, a setting of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's 1775 love poem, is unsigned and spans three pages on two sheets, dating back to circa 1798-1799. This initial sketch, jotted down in a rushed hand, showcases Beethoven's early vision for the lied. The document already contains the melody and words, with intermittent bass sections and parts of the piano accompaniment at the end of verses. Notably, it exhibits several important deviations from the version printed in 1810.

"Beethoven manuscripts written before 1800 almost never come to market," said Bobby Livingston, executive vice president at RR Auction. "No other complete autograph manuscript of this version is known."

Other highlights of the auction included:

  • an F. Scott Fitzgerald signed first edition of This Side of Paradise, his published first novel ($8,316).
  • Beethoven's signed letter to his secretary circa mid-February 1826 which sold for $75,000
  • a J. R. R. Tolkien signed letter on The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to an 8-year-old fan ($38,750)
  • Charles Dickens's signed Sketches by Boz, presented to a London librarian, made $36,541
  • a signed copy of James Joyce's Ulysses (Limited Edition, 1936) went for $24,079
  • a Pablo Picasso signed postcard with sketch sold for $22,000 - Picasso sketched the seaside sun while vacationing in France