LONDON-A song written by German composer Mendelssohn has had its first public hearing since it went missing 140 years ago.

Mendelssohn wrote the privately commissioned piece, titled The Heart of Man is Like a Mine, in 1842. It was never published but the original manuscript has now emerged in a private collection in the US. It will be sold at Christie’s later this month, where it is expected to fetch £15,000 - £25,000.  The song was performed exclusively for the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme by Christopher Glynn and Amy Williamson from the Royal College of Music.

It comprises just 29 bars for an alto voice and piano in A flat major. It was a private commission for an acquaintance who worked at the Court Theatre in Berlin. Christie’s senior specialist in manuscripts Thomas Venning said before the BBC performance: ‘This is a very exciting rediscovery: the song was only ever a private commission and we know that even in Mendelssohn’s lifetime he deliberately prevented its circulation.  ‘The manuscript has been lost for 140 years, so it seems likely that we have here music by one of the great composers that no living person has ever heard. It is quite a simple, short song with a catchy, lilting melody.