Unknown Fauré score sold at auction

New piano duet discovered

An unknown piano duet by Fauré has sold for £20,000 at auction. The recently discovered autograph manuscript is for a short piano duet in F major. The French composer is thought to have penned the work around 1870.

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The manuscript was sold at Sotheby’s auction house, and an extract was performed by pianists Ashley Wass and Hamish Milne on Radio 3’s In Tune programme.

‘It is extremely rare to discover an unrecorded piece of music by such an important composer,’ says Dr Simon Maguire, senior music manuscript specialist at Sotheby’s, to BBC News, ‘and it is particularly thrilling to reveal a duet to the public in such a polished form for the first time since it was composed over a century ago.’

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In the same auction a previously lost score for part of Fauré’s La Passion was sold for £70,850. Until now the only source for this incidental music for chorus and orchestra has been a set of performing parts, with Fauré’s full score presumed destroyed or lost. Although Fauré intended to compose a complete Passion setting, he only finished this Prologue. Even then some doubt remained as to whether Fauré completed the orchestration; the emergence of this manuscript in his hand suggests that he did.