The original manuscript of two famous piano works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has been discovered at a Philadelphia seminary and will be sold in London, auctioneers said Tuesday.
Sotheby's said it expected that the 14-page manuscript of the "Fantasia in C Minor" and the "Sonata in C Minor" will fetch between $940,000 and $1.4 million on Nov. 21.The works were written in 1784 and 1785 and are usually performed together.
The whereabouts of the brown-ink manuscript Mozart wrote had been unknown since the death in 1915 of its American owner, William H. Doane of Cincinnati.
"We have two safes and this one held old deeds and financial documents of the seminary and our related Eastern College which were not often looked at," said Manfred Brauch, president of Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.
He said the manuscript was found in July by a member of the staff who was looking in one of the safes for historical records.
With it were lesser compositions by Joseph Haydn, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Ludwig Spohr and Johann Strauss the Elder, which are expected to fetch a total of about $110,000 in the same sale.
"We knew there were music manuscripts in the safe, but we did not realize how important this Mozart one was," Brauch said in a telephone interview.
"I am delighted by the discovery because I was brought up on the classics, and Mozart has always been my favorite composer," said Brauch, 50, whose family emigrated to the United States from Regensburg in Germany in 1953.
Doane who was a a musician and philanthropist and author of hymns.
On his death the manuscripts were in the possession of his widow and then passed to his daughter, Marguerite Treat Doane, who in 1950 donated them with funds for the building of a chapel and music rooms at the seminary, Brauch said.
London has been chosen for the sale as it is the center of music dealers.
"Scholars have not seen this Mozart manuscript since the early 19th century," said Stephen Roe, a Sotheby's expert on music manuscripts. "It went through several hands and crossed the Atlantic to Doane's collection in 1889.
"The two works have been played regularly by great pianists since Mozart's time and he himself performed the `Fantasia' in 1789. They contain some of his most moving music in the minor key," Roe said.