Brahms Letters and Rutter’s Ukrainian Prayer Manuscript On Sale

Sotheby's

A selection of letters by Brahms

Sotheby’s current winter Music Sale is packed with a wide variety of lots of interest for collectors of music items. The highlight is a collection of mostly unpublished 44 autograph letters by composer Johannes Brahms to the George Frideric Handel expert Friedrich Chrysander. These cover a range of subjects including the general state of 19th century music and the works of Mozart. Sotheby’s is calling it “the most important collection of Brahms letters to be offered at auction in modern times”.

Bringing the sale right up to date is an autograph manuscript of the first draft of A Ukrainian Prayer for unaccompanied voices by John Rutter, the UK’s most popular living choral composer. It is Rutter’s response to the war in Ukraine. The world premiere was held in London in March 2022.

Also under the hammer are:

* letters by composers Jean Sibelius, Hector Berlioz, GiuseppeVerdi, Gustav Holst and Heitor Villa-Lobos.

* original set and costume designs by Franco Zeffirelli for the 1966 Met production of Antony and Cleopatra

* music manuscripts for opera, film, and concert hall by modern British composers, including Harrison Birtwistle, Thomas Adès, George Benjamin, Robert Saxton, James MacMillan, Debbie Wiseman, and Judith Weir. The composers have donated their manuscripts in support of the University of York Music Press charity that suports contemporary concert composers

* Joseph Haydn’s engraved visiting card featuring Haydn's name and four bars of music set to the words "Hin ist alle meine Kraft alt und schwach bin ich''

Bidding is already underway and closes  December 13 2022 from 11.00 GMT.