Scholar finds 'Beethoven's last piano work' in library

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An Australian musicologist has discovered what he believes to be the last piano work written by Beethoven.

Peter McCallum, associate professor of musicology at the University of Sydney, found the 32 bars of handwritten music while looking at one of the composer's sketchbooks in Berlin's state library. Most of his books have been studied in detail but the final one has attracted less attention.

McCallum said that he didn't know instantly that it was a piano piece because Beethoven often used a chaotic sort of shorthand. "The sketchbooks ... are very difficult to read and need a bit of deciphering, but you can work it out if you look at it for long enough," he said.

McCallum said he believed the piece was written in October 1826, five months before Beethoven died.

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