Culture

Gustav Mahler £4.5m manuscript breaks record at Sotheby’s

A piece of music handwritten by Gustav Mahler has broken the record for the highest price for a musical manuscript sold at auction, the BBC reports.

The composer’s Second Symphony, which spans 232 pages, fetched £4.5m at Sotheby’s on Tuesday morning.

But a controversial manuscript which the auction house said was handwritten by Beethoven failed to sell.

The authenticity of the manuscript for the composer’s 1817 piece, Allegretto in B minor, had been questioned.

Sotheby’s had stood by the manuscript’s authenticity and expected it to fetch up to £200,000.

But ahead of the auction, Prof Barry Cooper, a musicologist and Beethoven scholar, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme there were inconsistencies within the piece.

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