J.S. Bach manuscript auctioned for $3.3 million

Posted on: July 19, 2016

An unsigned Wednesday (7/13) article in Germany’s Deutsche Welle reports on a recent Christie’s sale in London, at which a J.S. Bach manuscript was auctioned for $3.3 million. “Likely written between 1740 and 1745, the Prelude, Fugue and Allegro in E-flat Major (BWV 998) is a favorite among both harpsichords and lutenists…. It can be played on different instruments.… The privately owned score, not having changed hands or been seen in public since 1969, was exhibited in Hamburg, Munich, Dusseldorf and Stuttgart, then making its way to showings in New York and Japan…. Only a portion of Bach’s works exist in … original manuscripts in the composer’s own handwriting. Few were published during his lifetime…. According to Christie’s, less than 10 complete autograph scores by Bach are currently privately owned, including two instrumental works and six cantatas. The vast majority … exist in publically accessible libraries. A number of them can be viewed on the Bach digital website of the Bach Archive in Leipzig. Johann Sebastian Bach bequeathed his original manuscripts to his widow and children. His oldest son, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, sold some to pay debts. For this and other reasons, a number of Bach’s works remain lost.”

Posted July 19, 2016