The manuscript ended up in the archives of the Moravian Museum in the Czech city of Brno to protect it from being stolen by the Nazis, as the Petscheks, once the richest family in pre-World War II Czechoslovakia, fled the country to escape the Holocaust.
The museum kept the autograph of the 4th movement of the string quartet in B-flat Major, op. 130 — a highly valued late quartet by the German composer — in its collections for more than 80 years.
Now, a local restitution law on the property stolen by the Nazis is making the return possible.
For the first time, the Moravian Museum curators have put the score on display for five days before it is set to be handed over to the Petschek family.
"The item itself has a fascinating collecting story," says curator Simona Sindlarova. "The whole story reflects the history of Central Europe in the last 200 years."
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Details about how the family, whose wealth came mainly from the mining industry and business in the banking sector, acquired the piece after the Great War are unknown.
Beethoven composed the six-movement quartet in 1825-26, as part of his work on a series of late quartets commissioned by Russian Prince Nicholas Galitzin.
It premiered in March 1826 in Vienna's Musikverein.