21 May 2014

Rachmaninov original sells for £1.2m

9:52 am on 21 May 2014

A manuscript handwritten by Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninov of his Second Symphony in E Minor, Op 27, has sold at auction for £1.2 million.

The 320-page score was presumed lost after its premiere in St Petersburg in 1908, until it was discovered in a private collection in 2004, the BBC reports.

It is thought to be the only surviving handwritten manuscript of the symphony in existence.

The Second is considered to be Rachmaninov's greatest symphony.

Sotheby's said the manuscript was bought by a private collector.

Composed in Dresden, where the composer lived from 1906 until1909, it was created for a series of concerts run by Rachmaninov's cousin.

After the first performances in St Petersburg and Moscow, it is believed the orchestration was revised, making the manuscript the last remaining evidence of Rachmaninov's original vision.

The full orchestral score features many differences from later scores, and it is notated in black ink with numerous deletions, corrections and annotations throughout, including a few bars of new music.

The manuscript was previously due to go up for sale at Sotheby's in 2004, but was withdrawn after members of Rachmaninov's family claimed to be the true owners, saying there was no evidence of the composer ever having sold it during his lifetime.

A settlement was later agreed in 2005 and the score has since been on display at the British Library.