Imagine that feeling of delight you have when you find a dollar in the pocket of a pair of pants you’ve just thrown on. Now multiply that feeling by 100,000, and you may have a sense of what a Greenwich, Connecticut woman felt after she was told by appraisers that sheet music she had in her home was written by Beethoven over 200 years ago.
Bum bum bum buuhhhhhhhh…
According to Greenwich Time, Brendan Ryan, a professional appraiser with New York’s Butterscotch Auction Gallery, immediately realized that he was looking at some of Beethoven’s own handiwork when the Greenwich woman (who remains anonymous) brought in the sheet music for appraisal. It clearly jumped out as a lost section of one of Beethoven’s “sketchbooks,” and had even been “ferociously dotted with German words, directions, and symbols that practically flew off the pages with manic intensity.”
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the sheet music, which was written by the legendary composer in two weeks and honored the founder of Hungary, is that it offers a rare glimpse into the inner workings of one of the most well-known and beloved musical geniuses of all time. Jeffrey Kallberg, a historian from the University of Pennsylvania, said that “[Beethoven] had God-awful handwriting” and that the notes furiously scribbled on the sheet music have “the look of a messy genius.” Another expert from Manhattan College noted that “We can see the fire as it happened. He just went wild with a crescendo of activity… There’s so much impatience there [written on the sheet music].”
As it turns out, this glimpse into the inner workings of Beethoven’s process is worth quite a bit, at least to one German antiques dealer, who bought it for a whopping… insert crescendo here!… $100,000. Which is, according to even the musically uneducated, a lot of C-notes.
What do you think about paying $100,000 for some of Beethoven’s sheet music? Would you love to have an artifact from the 19th century composer, or would you rather get your hands on something a bit more contemporary from say, John Williams or Hans Zimmer? Let us know in the comments section below!