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Lot #530
Ludwig van Beethoven Autograph Letter Signed

Rare handwritten letter by Ludwig van Beethoven, sending his 'Missa Solemnis' to London

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Estimate: $80000+
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Rare handwritten letter by Ludwig van Beethoven, sending his 'Missa Solemnis' to London

ALS in German, signed “Beethoven,” one page, 9.5 x 8.25, circa September 1823. Letter to Franz Christian Kirchhoffer, concerning the sending of the 'Missa Solemnis' to London. He invites him to lunch at his flat on Sunday, with his nephew Karl: the weather appears promising, and his presence would be a great pleasure for both of them. In full (translated): "My dear Kirchhoffer: If it is not possible to send a packet through the English embassy to London, please inquire. I will therefore tomorrow send an answer or if you think it is good for the occasion? On Sunday we will certainly see you, my Karl and I at table, the weather seems to be favorable again and it will be very pleasant for us both to have you here." In very good condition, with professional repairs and restoration, including full backing.

Kirchhoffer served as cashier at the Hofmann & Goldstein Bank in Vienna. Several times in 1823 he helped Beethoven to send funds as well as music to their mutual friend Ferdinand Ries in London. The shipment of the "packet" in question is the just-completed Missa Solemnis, op. 123, for which Ries is to find a publisher. During Beethoven's lifetime, the Missa Solemnis was widely considered his masterpiece. It was this work to which he dedicated the most time and intense effort, working on it over the course of four years. In a letter of 1819, Beethoven wrote, 'The day when a High Mass of mine is performed in honor of the solemnities…will be the most delightful of my life,' and in 1822 called the Missa Solemnis his 'greatest work.' The piece is even present in the most famous image of Beethoven, an 1820 portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler, which shows the composer holding a pencil above his notebook labeled 'Missa Solemnis.' A superb autograph letter by the revered composer.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts
  • Dates: #643 - Ended September 14, 2022

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