The MGM logo: a hand-drawn cartoon of Mahler at the podium, glaring at the audience

Main heading: The Music of Gustav Mahler: A Catalogue of Manuscript and Printed Sources [rule] Paul Banks





Instrumental Works


Vocal Works


Unfinished Works


Lost and Spurious Works






Mahler's Publishers


Supplementary Essays




Using the Catalogue


Conventions & Abbreviations




Index of Works


Site Map













See Thomas Olechowski, 'Über Frei-, Pflicht- und Probeexemplare',  Mitteilungen der Vereinigung Österreichischer Bibliothekarinnen & Bibliothekare 58/3 (2005), 41–48.




From 1852 there had been a system of pre-publication censorship in place, which required the deposit of 'Probeexemplaren' with the authorities (see Olechowski (2005)).




For a summary of the discussions and negotiations within and between the administration and the Parliament that preceded the publication of the law, see Thomas Olechowski,  'Law making procedure under the rule of the February Patent: The Austrian Press Act 1862 between the House of Lords and the House of Deputies', Proceedings of the 57th ICHRPI Conference: Representative and Parliamentary Institutions in the World, from Middle Ages to Present Times, ed. Jean Garrigues et al., (Paris Assemblée Nationale, 2006), 581–90.




See CJVOB, 37; the petition was printed in a Beilage to OUBC, 16/36 (04.09.1875).




See CJUSB for an account of the early attempts to establish such a national bibliography.




This was reported by Gutmann himself at the 1896 AGM of the Verein der österreichisch-ungarischen Buchhändler (OUBC, 27.06.1896), 343–4. However, in 1899 Carl Junker reported that recent decisions meant that even orchestral parts had to be deposited (CJVOB, 37).




This number has an ambiguous format: are the last two digits a partial date - [1931]? It should be noted that this number appears on several separate catalogue records, suggesting that Universal Edition supplied such copies in batches, as the firm had perhaps done in 1922.



Pflichtexemplaren (Deposit Copies)


The provision of Pflichtexemplaren (deposit copies) of published material was a legal responsibility of publishers or printers within the Dual Monarchy from 1863. It was primarily concerned  with a form of post-publication censorship that was not finally removed from the Austrian Republic's statute book until 1982,¹ but had the supplementary (and apparently intended) effect of establishing legal deposit of printed materials.²  The relevant law, known as the Presse-Gesetz was promulgated on 17 December 1862 and came into force on 9 March 1863 (Reichs-Gesetz-Blatt für das Kaiserthum Oesterreich, 1863, Nr 6, 145ff.).³ The provision of such copies was specified in paragraph 18 of the 1862 law:

Von jeder, zum Verkaufe bestimmten Druckschrift, welche im Inlande verlegt oder gedruckt wird, ist, insoferne sie nicht unter die im §. 9* erwähnten Ausnahmen fällt, an das Staatsministerium, an das Polizeiministerium, an die k. k. Hofbibliothek und an jene Universitäts- oder Landesbibliothek, welche durch besondere Kundmachung in jedem Verwaltungsgebiete als hiezu berechtigt bezeichnet wird, je Ein Pflichtexemplar zu überreichen. Von jeder periodischen Druckschrift ist überdieß ein Pflichtexemplar an den Chef des Verwaltungsgebietes, in welchem die Druckschrift erscheint, einzusenden.

For every printed item intended for sale, that will be published or printed within the state  - in so far as they do not fall among the exceptions referred to in § 9* - a deposit copy will be supplied to the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Police, the Court Library and to those university or district libraries identified in each administrative area as eligible for  this purpose. In addition for every periodical printed item a deposit copy must be sent to the head of the administrative area in which the publication appears.

Die Zusendung dieser Pflichtexemplare, welche die Portofreiheit genießt, hat bei periodischen Druckschriften in den regelmäßigen Zeitabschnitten ihres Erscheinens bei anderen Druckschriften aber binnen längstens acht Tagen, von der Ausgabe der Schrift an gerechnet, zu geschehen, und es werden bei Druckwerken von besonders kostspieliger Ausstattung die wirklich bezogenen Pflichtexemplare mit dem nach besonderer Anordnung zu ermäßigenden Preise vergütet werden.

The supply of these deposit copies, which will enjoy free postage, should occur, for periodical publications, within the regular intervals of their appearance and for other publications, within no more than eight days following their publication, and for printed copies of particularly expensive presentation, following special arrangement the deposit copies actually received will be paid for at reduced prices.

Die Ablieferung der Pflichtexemplare liegt dem Verleger, bei Druckschriften aber, auf welchen ein gewerbemäßiger Verleger nicht oder fälschlich genannt ist, oder welche im Auslande verlegt werden, dem Drucker ob.

The [responsibility for] delivery of the deposit copies lies with the publisher, but for printed items on which the publisher is not named or is falsely named, or which are published in a foreign land, [it] lies with the printer.

Die Nichtbeachtung dießfälligen Vorschrift wird an dem Verleger oder Drucker als Uebertretung mit einer Geldstrafe von 5 bis 50 fl. geahndet, deren Erlag jedoch von der Pflicht zur Ablieferung des Exemplares nicht befreit.

The non-observance of this rule, as an infraction by the publisher or printer will be punished by a fine of between 5 to 50 fl., who [i.e. publisher or printer], by payment of the same, will not be exempt from the duty to supply the copies.


*... solcher Erzeugnisse der Presse ... welche lediglich den Bedürfnissen des Gewerbes und Verkehres oder des häuslichen und geselligen Lebens zu dienen bestimmt sind, wie: Formulare, Preiszettel, Visitkarten u.s.w.

*... such products of the press ... which are merely intended to serve the needs of industry and travel or the domestic and social life, such as: forms, price lists, business cards etc.

As in other states that introduced similar legislation for the cost-free provision of deposit copies for major libraries, the book and music trades in Austria (principally, Vienna) were unhappy about the burden this law imposed on them, and in 1875 submitted an extended, evidence-based petition to the Abgeordnetenhaus of the Austrian parliament, which sought to demonstrate that the cost of providing such copies amounted to a 6.5% tax on net profit. At least for a time following the 1852 Pressgesetz the library of the Ministry of the Interior had published a national bibliography (a useful planning and marketing resource for publishers and booksellers) on the basis of the Probeexemplaren (see footnote 2), but this had never been comprehensive (for example, art and music publications were omitted) and in any case it fell victim to financial cutbacks in 1859 and was not revived.

The 1862 law was broadly drawn, referring to printed items that had been published, with no reference to the concept of 'work' or to published format. This 'catch-all' approach was no doubt intentional, but there were ambiguities that at times had to be resolved in the courts, one of the the most striking being the question whether Pflichtexemplaren of all printed formats of the same musical work (e.g. score and orchestral parts) had to be supplied. This issue was apparently argued when in 1896 the publisher A. J. Gutmann was accused by the University Library in Vienna, of failing to supply orchestral parts along with a full score that he had deposited. Although for many years he had supplied copies of scores and arrangements of orchestral and choral works he had not supplied parts, and had therefore forced a court case to test the law. Gutmann contended he had successfully defended his position on the basis that a set of parts merely reproduced the content of the score (which he had supplied), and on established practice.

To date some Pflichtexemplaren of works by Mahler issued by Viennese publishers/distributers have been located in the Austrian National Library (A-Wn):





Library catalogue

Deposit number/date


Das klagende Lied

Vocal score (Weinberger)





Das klagende Lied

Vocal score (Universal Edition)











Das Lied von der Erde

Full score (Universal Edition)



Pfl. (K.) Z:895/31








Des Knaben Wunderhorn

Voice and piano (Weinberger)



Mus 186/1899 17. X. 99


Des Knaben Wunderhorn

Score and parts (nos 1–10, 12) (Weinberger)





Symphony No. 1

Full score (Weinberger)





Symphony No. 1

Study score (Universal-Edition)





Symphony No. 1

Piano duet arrangement (Universal-Edition)











Symphony No. 2

Full score (Weinberger)





Symphony No. 2

Full score (Universal Edition)





Symphony No. 2

Study score (Universal Edition)



(K.)1931. Z:895/31.


Symphony No. 2

Piano duet arrangement (Universal Edition)


Mus MS7136-4º









Symphony No. 3

Full score (Weinberger)





Symphony No. 3

Study score (Universal Edition)


Mus MS7134-8°



Symphony No. 3

Piano duet arrangement (Universal-Edition)




Symphony No. 3 Fifth movement arr. piano, 2 hands   MS16131-4° 1931  







Symphony No. 4

Full score (Universal Edition)



Pfl. (K.) Z:895/31


Symphony No. 4

Vocal score











Symphony No. 8

Full score (Universal Edition)



Pfl. (K.) Z:895/31


Symphony No. 9 Full score (Universal Edition)   MS17610-4º 1931  
Weber: Oberon, arr. Mahler   Vocal score (Universal Edition)   MS6993-4° [undated/numbered]  

There appear to be substantial lacunae in this list (for example, it is striking that none of the material issued by Doblinger for the Fourth Symphony is included, nor material issued by Weinberger for the Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen), but whether this reflects failure to supply the material, or inconsistent record-keeping by the library, is unclear. It is also notable that with the exception of Des Knaben Wunderhorn, no orchestral or choral part sets are listed, suggesting that either other publishers followed Gutmann's practice, or that the Hofbibliothek was not anxious to accept such bulky material.


Level A conformance icon, 
          W3C-WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 Creative Commons Licence

ORCID logo and link to author's page © 2007-21 Paul Banks  |  This page was lasted edited on 07 January 2021