British Court Refuses to Throw Out Suit Over Rachmaninoff Manuscript

Classic Arts News   British Court Refuses to Throw Out Suit Over Rachmaninoff Manuscript
A judge on Britain's High Court has refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by members of Rachmaninoff's family against the auction house Sotheby's, the BBC reports.

The composer's family claims that the score of the composer's Second Symphony in Sotheby's possession belongs to them. The family first took Sotheby's to court in December, getting a temporary injunction that halted the sale of the manuscript, thought to be worth up to Ô£500,000.

Sotheby's had asked the court to dismiss the case on the grounds that it had no possibility of success. But the judge in the case said that it was possible that, as the family claims, Rachmaninoff left the manuscript with someone for safekeeping and had not sold it.

The 320-page manuscript was discovered in a Swiss cellar last September. A European collector contacted Geoffrey Norris, a music critic and author of a book on Rachmaninoff, and asked him to authenticate it.

According to Norris, the manuscript, containing all the original orchestration for the work and missing the first four pages and title page, was "unquestionably genuine."

Rachmaninoff's Second Symphony, his most popular and frequently played orchestral work, was completed in 1907, when the composer was in staying in Dresden. The symphony's first two performances, conducted by the composer, were in St. Petersburg in January of 1908. The manuscript had not been accounted for since it was used to prepare the first published edition of the score later that year.

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