Schubertiade Music to offer Wagner’s Conducting Batons!

April 19, 2010 at 6:16 pm

From the original press release (

ALLSTON, MA – April 19th, 2010 –  The Important German composer, Richard Wagner (1813–1883), by expanding harmonic, instrumental, and dramatic forces to a previously undreamed-of degree, single-handedly revolutionized opera and attained status as one of the most influential geniuses in the history of music.  A pair of conducting batons and the mother-of-pearl cigar cutter used and owned by Wagner himself will be the highlight of nearly 200 rare items in the forthcoming Spring Catalogue of the Antiquarian Music & Manuscript firm, Schubertiade Music LLC.

The batons and cigar cutter are framed with an envelope addressed by Wagner in the final weeks of his life to his close friend and associate, the conductor, Anton Seidl, who, after he was a pallbearer at Wagner’s funeral, was given the items by Wagner’s widow, Cosima, After Seidl moved to New York to conduct the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera, he gave the items to a friend – possibly a lover – in whose family they have since remained. More details about the set and the provenance may be found at:

“This is not just a piece of paper with Wagner’s signature on it, or even an autograph musical manuscript” said Gabriel Boyers, owner of Schubertiade Music and a specialist in rare printed music, manuscripts, autographs and ephemera. “We handle all types of autograph rarities – including such items from Wagner – but these impressive batons and charming cigar cutter are the kind of items which only come along even more rarely: actual used items from the collection of such a figure of historical importance, with amazing provenance.”

Alexander Rehding, Fanny Peabody Professor of Music at Harvard and author of the recent book “Music and Monumentality,” has said of these batons: “Besides his towering stature in the field of opera, Wagner was a major figure in the history of conducting. For much of his life he earned his money as a conductor, and he promoted the modern idea of the conductor as a separate authority mediating between composer and audience who would shape and interpret the musical text. What is immediately striking about his batons are their sheer size  – certainly when compared with the models in use today – which might suggest that Wagner felt he needed to make his artistic vision unambiguously clear to the musicians.”

In a year in which Cormac McCarthy’s typewriter sold for $254,000 (Christie’s), and Elvis Presley’s shirt for $62,800 (Leslie Hindman Auctioneers), Boyers is confident that these historic Wagner items will attract the interest of major collectors, both private and institutional.  The asking price for the framed set of Batons, Cigar Cutter and hand-addressed envelope is $65,000.00.

Other items of note to be offered in the Schubertiade Music Spring Catalogue include a First Edition of Mozart’s opera “Cosi Fan Tutte,” original painted set designs for the first production of Puccini’s opera “Turandot,” a signed contract for Jerome Kern’s song “I’ll be Hard to Handle,” a signed photograph of Hank Williams, and many other music-related rarities. For more information, visit the Schubertiade Music web site at or contact Gabriel Boyers at


Gabriel Boyers, Schubertiade Music LLC

(617) 308 – 4019

Allston, MA

Entry filed under: Drew Massey.

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