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Illustrated top right is part of Mozart’s autograph manuscript of the final scene of Act IV of Le Nozze de Figaro, which contains one of the most sublime moments in any Mozart opera, indeed all opera, when the Countess emerges from her hiding place in the moonlit garden to
pardon the Count, the moment at which, to quote Tim Carter’s 1987 book on The Marriage of Figaro, high comedy is suddenly transmuted into poignancy and self-realisation. “Here the music raises the action to a new level: with the light has come true enlightenment.

The Countess pardons him in a magical moment of translucent serenity. Everyone joins in her wish that all will end happily in a solemn hymn of rejoicing.”

The most important Mozart manuscript seen at auction in ten years, and the only substantial manuscript of Mozart’s operatic masterpiece ever likely to come up for sale, it went to a private buyer at £680,000.

Illustrated below right is part of Ravel’s autograph working manuscript of his orchestral version of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, incorporating original draft and later revisions for what has become one of the best known orchestral works in the concert repertoire. Signed and dated 1922 by Ravel, and marked up throughout of by the conductor Serge Koussevitsky, who had commissioned the orchestration of Mussorgsky’s piano score, it set a record for a 20th century music manuscript at £820,000 to a collector.

Buyer’s premium: 17.5/15/10 per cent