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  • Rachmaninov's Second Symphony auctions for $1.2m at Sotheby's
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • auctionsRachmaninov'sSecondSymphony

Rachmaninov's Second Symphony auctions for $1.2m at Sotheby's

The only known manuscript of Sergei Rachmaninov's Second Symphony in E Minor, a staple of orchestras around the world, sold well at Sotheby's Music, Continental and Russian Books and Manuscripts auction on May 20 in London.

Rachmaninov Second Symphony manuscript
Only a handful of manuscripts of works still played by orchestras around the world are known to exist



The manuscript spans a remarkable 320 pages, including unpublished material that was previously unknown to scholars. Selling for £1.2m ($2m), it is the only known original example of the Second Symphony in E Minor in any format.

The lot is also one of only a handful of manuscripts of great works that are still played around the world. It sheds new light on Rachmaninov's compositional processes at what is regarded as the peak of his career.

Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943) created the symphony in Dresden, as part of the series of concerts managed by his cousin Alexander Siloti between 1906 and 1909.

Also starring in the sale was the manuscript for Mozart's Kyrie in C Major. Smuggled out of Nazi Germany by its Jewish owner, it was described by Sotheby's as "the most significant work from Mozart to have appeared for sale in more than a decade".

Valued at £300,000-500,000, the 1772 piece was written when Mozart was just 16 years old, but later abandoned. It achieved a 15.7% increase on estimate, selling for £578,500 ($973,407).

We are currently offering a fantastic signed manuscript from the great jazz musician John Coltrane for sale.


  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • auctionsRachmaninov'sSecondSymphony