Auctions | June 11, 2012

RR Auction Offers Chopin Copyright Document

Frederic Chopin, a Polish composer (1810-1849) considered one of the great masters of Romantic music. His piano works are often technically demanding, with an emphasis on nuance and expressive depth.

A rare one-page document signed by Chopin is currently up at auction, from New Hampshire based RR Auction in June.
A receipt, dated March 1840, for the sale of the copyrights to two of his musical compositions. In part: “Received of Messrs. Wessel & Co.…Frith Street, Soho Square, London, at the price or sum of Sixteen Pounds…all my Copyright and Interest, present and future, vested and contingent or otherwise, for all the Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland of and in the following works.” A secretary has filled in the title and a brief description of each work, “Grande Valse brillante Opus 42,” and “Quatre Mazurkas, Op 41,” including a musical staff showing the meter, key, and notes of the respective opening measures.

Chopin’s mazurkas, based on traditional Polish folk dances, are among his most characteristic short works for piano. The set of four referred to in this letter, published as Op. 41, was written between 1838 and 1840, when he was recovering from a tubercular infection and enjoying the companionship of his famous lover, the novelist George Sand. Waltz in A-flat major, Op. 42, written in 1840, is one of composer’s finest efforts in the form. Its aristocratic tone led Chopin’s friend and fellow composer, Robert Schumann, to comment that when the work was played at a dance, “Half the ladies should be countesses at least.” The year before his death in 1849, Chopin visited England where he was warmly welcomed by his numerous admirers.
“A musical rarity, relating to two of the composer’s greatest works,” says Bobby Livingston, VP at RR Auction.

Among the museum quality pieces:

·      * A stunning original blueprint of his masterwork, Fallingwater, accompanied by a letter in which Frank Lloyd Wright fumes about its construction.
·      * A rare letter written by Beatrix Potter, British author and illustrator whose Edwardian-era tales of naughty rabbits, ‘bad’ mice, and other amusingly mischievous animals take a place among the most enduring and beloved works in the annals of children’s literature.

The auction, which features more than 1,550 items, runs through June 20 at 7:00PM Eastern.  For additional details, go to