BOSTON – A handwritten letter by the legendary composer Ludwig van Beethoven sold for nearly $100,000 at RR Auction on April 12. It concerned his standout work Missa Solemnis, which translates from Latin as ‘Solemn Mass.’
The one-page letter, written in German and signed “Beethoven,” was penned circa September 1823 and addressed to Franz Christian Kirchhoffer. It ultimately sold for $99,000. The letter concerns sending the Missa Solemnis to London and invites Kirchhoffer to lunch at Beethoven’s flat on Sunday, along with his nephew Karl.
In the letter, Beethoven expresses his concern about the shipment of the Missa Solemnis to London, and asks Kirchhoffer to inquire about the possibility of sending it through the English embassy. Beethoven then goes on to invite Kirchhoffer to lunch at his flat, where he and his nephew Karl will be in attendance. He expresses his pleasure at the prospect of Kirchhoffer’s company, especially given the promising weather.
The sale of this letter is a testament to Beethoven’s enduring legacy and the ongoing fascination with his life and work. It provides a unique window into the composer’s personal life and relationships with those around him. The fact that the letter concerns the sending of the Missa Solemnis, one of Beethoven’s most celebrated works, only adds to its significance.
“The letter provides a rare glimpse into the personal life of Beethoven, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time,” said RR Auction Executive VP Bobby Livingston. “It’s a superb autograph letter by the revered composer.”