Beethoven Original Manuscript to be Returned to Heirs of its Pre-WW2 Owner

13 Jan 2023

The famed composer Ludwig van Beethoven wrote the six-movement String Quartet in B-flat Major between 1825 and 1826, and it was known that when he died, the fourth movement was given to his secretary, Karl Holz. After a few changes in ownership, it was acquired by the wealthy Petschek family of Czechoslovakia. After the Nazi German occupiers arrived, an attempt to send this manuscript out of the country caught the eyes of a German official, who seized it and brought it to the Moravian Museum in the city of Brno for authentication. In an attempt to prevent German theft, museum experts lied, claiming it was a fake, and thus it was forgotten by the Germans. The manuscript remained with the museum through the remainder of the war. Petscheks, who had fled the country for the west, attempted to recover some of the family wealth, including this manuscript, but was met with failure, especially as communications across the Iron Curtain was limited. On 3 Aug 2022, the museum had entered into an agreement with the heirs of the Petschek family for the manuscript to be returned. This manuscript has been placed on display, since Dec 2022, at the museum for the last time before it was to be returned. "We're sorry about losing it, but it rightly belongs to the Petschek family," said Simona Sindelárová, the curator of the Moravian Museum.

For more information: AP: Czech museum to return original Beethoven score to heirs

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