Beethoven Sheet Music Scores $100K

A chance find in Connecticut home proves exceptionally valuable
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 20, 2015 10:34 AM CST
Beethoven Sheet Music Scores $100K
German composer Ludwig van Beethoven, born in Bonn on Dec. 17, 1770 and died in Vienna on March 26, 1827.   (AP Photo)

Sheet music written by Ludwig van Beethoven and found in a Connecticut home has fetched $100,000 at auction. Appraiser Brendan Ryan spotted the sheet music when he visited the home of a Greenwich woman looking to sell some belongings. He recognized Beethoven's handwriting in the German words, directions, and symbols on the page, he tells the Greenwich Time. "I knew what it was. I’d seen his handwriting before." Ryan turned to an old mentor to authenticate the music; he determined it was from a sketchbook dating to 1810 and used by the composer for brainstorming. "Beethoven would write out his ideas. With most composers, we just have the final product—they threw the rest out. Beethoven didn’t throw anything out," says the mentor. "I found the sketchbook, and referenced the exact piece, we put it all together."

The sketchbook is pretty revealing, continues the mentor. "We can see the fire as it happened. He just went wild with a crescendo of activity. There’s so much impatience there—I can’t imagine working for the guy. But that aspect of his character is wonderful." It's unclear what happened to the sketchbook after Beethoven's death in 1827. It was sold in portions, with fragments turning up. Ryan says finding a complete sheet is rare. It was purchased by a German antiques dealer. It's unclear how the page found its way to the Greenwich home. (Read more Beethoven stories.)

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