The autograph manuscript of Sibelius’s String Quartet in D minor (‘Voces intimae’), Op. 56, signed twice (‘Jean Sibelius’), was offered for auction at the bi-annual Music and Continental Books and Manuscripts sale by Sotheby’s, London on 29 November 2016. The sale also offered the complete autograph manuscript of Gustav Mahler’s Second Symphony (‘Resurrection’).
This is the autograph manuscript of Sibelius’s most famous chamber work and features the original ending, which differs from the published version. The original ending can be heard on a recording by the Tempera Quartet on BIS-1466 (or BIS-1903/05).
The large number of new recordings of ‘Voces intimae’ (see e.g. our Discography & Recordings page) in recent years have confirmed its status as one of Sibelius’s middle-period masterpieces.
The quartet was completed in 1909 and published by Lienau the same year. Although this manuscript was used by Sibelius’s publisher to set up the first edition in 1909, it contains important differences from it. The final twenty-one bars differ markedly from the printed scores and were evidently completely rewritten on a later manuscript.
This is the sole surviving manuscript of the whole work.
Guide price: £ 200,000-300,000 € 222,000-333,000
Update: The manuscript of ‘Voces intimae’ remained unsold. The manuscript of Mahler’s Second Symphony was the star of the auction, selling for £4,546,250.