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In brief

Beethoven's Ninth sells for $3.47-million

By Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 23, 2003

A spectacular rarity was auctioned at Sotheby's in London on Thursday.

The final transcript of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, with its ecstatic Ode to Joy and complete with annotations by the composer, sold for $3.47-million to an anonymous bidder.

The previous owner of the Beethoven manuscript was a private foundation, which has not been identified.

The work, completed by the frustrated - and by then deaf - composer in 1823 consists of 465 pages in three bound volumes. It is believed to be the score that was used at the work's premiere in Vienna on May 7, 1824, and it was the source for the first printed edition, which was published two years later. It contains passages of music by Beethoven that were excised from the score before performance and have therefore never been heard.

A single sheet of Beethoven's early draft of the opening of the Ninth sold last year for $2-million, eight times more than the estimated price. That sheet was written in the composer's hand; the manuscript sold Thursday was made by a copyist and had revisions and raging comments by Beethoven.

FBI tape saves obscure MLK speech

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - On a winter night in 1965, three weeks into a black voter registration drive in Selma, Ala., an FBI tape recorder rolled as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. urged followers at an Alabama Baptist church to keep their eyes on the prize.

He beseeched them to pursue nonviolence and focus on the coming "dawn of a new fulfillment," despite the beating of a black woman earlier in the day by sheriff's deputies.

Until this year, a text of the hourlong speech sat in the hands of an Alabama police informant and King's biographer. But now a former speechwriter for President Clinton has published the speech in its entirety for the first time in a new anthology of civil rights oratory, Ripples of Hope.

"This is not what you see on national television. This is talking to the foot soldiers," said Josh Gottheimer, a 28-year-old Harvard Law student.

King's passionate remarks were transcribed from FBI surveillance tapes held by an Alabama police "consultant" for 32 years, according to King biographer Taylor Branch.

Branch said he worked for 15 years to convince the Selma man - who wanted to sell the tapes for $1-million - that they belonged in the public domain. Branch obtained the transcript in 1997 and later supplied it Gottheimer.

The speech was delivered Jan. 25, 1965.

King reminded the audience of what was at stake: "Now, the way we're going to change these things, the way you're going to get this street out here paved and all of the other streets where Negroes live that are unpaved, the way you're going to get better salaries, the way you will have better homes, will be to engage in a vigorous, nonviolent struggle to get the ballot."

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