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












Index to this page
















Printed editions


Performance History








Dates of Composition




Literary and other sources


Related works


Quotations & self-borrowings




Metronome Markings


Doubling of the Horns


Critical Edition


Supplementary material

  Outline stemma: scores and parts
  The original movement order
  The double bass solo revisited




black and white photograph, half-length portrait of Gustav Kogel, facing left.

Gustav Kogel (1849–1921)




The manuscript of the section in this volume entitled 'Mahleriana' was offered for sale at Sotheby's in London: L18402 (22 May 2018), lot 91. Apart from Julius Epstein the guests could be best described as professional colleagues rather than 'friends' of Mahler, but it is possible that this event was the one referred to by Bauer-Lechner.


Symphony No. 1 in D major



  Erste Symphonie in D Dur


  1888 (see the chronology and notes below), revised 1893–1910



1. Langsam. Schleppend [leading to] Immer sehr gemächlich.


2. Kraftig bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell. (a symbol: a dotted minim= 66.) [leading to]
Trio[:] Recht gemächlich. (Etwas langsamer als im Anfang. a symbol: a dotted minim= 54.)
[At end:] Hier eine ziemliche Pause machen bevor der nächste Satz (No. 3) beginnt.


3. Feierlich und gemessen, ohne zu schleppen.
[At end:] Folgt sogleich  No. 4.


4. Stürmisch bewegt


The instruction concerning the pause after the Scherzo is an autograph addition in ACF2 and the attacca instruction at the end of the third movement was first included in AF2.


  1889 | 1891 |1893 | 1894 | 1896 | 1900



Fl 1–4 (3–4 = picc 1–2), ob 1–4 (3 = ca), cl 1–3 in A/Ba symbol: a flat sign/C (3 = bcl in Ba symbol: a flat sign/cl in Ea symbol: a flat sign), cl in Ea symbol: a flat sign (= cl 4; [fourth movement:] mindestens doppelt besetzt), bsn 1–3  (3 = cbsn)

Hn 1–7 in F (in the finale possibly reinforced by an additional tpt and trb in bb. 656ff.), tpt 1–4 in F (in the finale, tpt 1 im ff doppelt besetzt, so a total of six players required), trb 1–3 (so four players required), tuba

Timp 1–2, bdrum, cymb, tam-tam, tr (3 players)

Harp, strings

See SMFS, 107–8 for a tabular summary of the gradual expansion of the instrumentation of the work in ACF1, AF2 and ACF2; see the catalogue entries for these manuscripts for further information.   In May 1894 Mahler was hoping for a string section of 12, 10, 8, 8, 8 for the third performance (see GMRSB, 36; GMRSBE, 35), and he informed Strauss of revisions to the strings parts at the start of the work; a press announcement for the Prague première, conducted by the composer on 2 March 1898, gives the string compliment as 16, 12 (misprinted as 72), 8, 8, 8.

The expansion of the wind and brass requirements from triple woodwind and 4 horns to 4 flutes, oboes and clarinets, 3 bassoons and 7 horns is effected in autograph and copyists' revisions to ACF2, though at what date they were made is uncertain (see the description of this manuscript for a discussion of the matter). 

See below for a discussion of the doubling of the horns required in the last movement.



c. 50 minutes (see also the note below)



Autographs ([n.d.]; 1892–1903)

Copyist’s Manuscripts: orchestral material ([n.d.])

Copyist’s Manuscripts: full scores (?1889?1898)

Arrangement: piano solo (undated)

Printed Editions (1898–1920; 1968)


Full scores (1898; 1912)

Orchestral parts (1899; 1912–20)

Study score (1906)

Arrangement: piano duet (1898)

Arrangement: piano, 2 hands

Arrangement: salon/small Orchestra

Blumine (1968)

Performance history

Performances (1889–1911)


Selected Historic Recordings (1939–1966)



‘Maitanz im Grünen’ (no. 3 of the 5 Lieder) completed.

[?early 1880s]

A fragmentary piano duet resembling the opening of the second movement (ATp4).


First performance in Kassel of Mahler’s incidental music to tableaux vivants based of Victor von Scheffel’s Der Trompeter von Sakkingen (one movement of which was incorporated into the five-movement version of the work as Blumine).


The texts of two of the Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen drafted (the piano and voice version was probably composed shortly thereafter).


Mahler was working on ‘einer großen Symphonie’ which he hopes to finish during the course of the next month. (GMLJ, 88; GMLJE, 50).


Mahler hoped to complete a fair copy of the full score of the Symphony by the end of the month or the middle of April at the latest (GMLJ, 91; GMLJE, 51).


Kaiser Wilhelm I died: with the Leipzig Stadttheater closed for ten days, Mahler was able to work uninterrupted on the Symphony.


In a letter to Hans von Bülow Mahler reported that he had just completed the Symphony (see notes to [AF1]).


Mahler expected the first performance to be in Dresden on 7 December 1888 (GMLJ, 96; GMLJE, 56)


Mahler may have played the Symphony to friends in Vienna sometime between his unexpected departure from Leipzig and his temporary appointment in Prague from July 1888 – see the note below.


In an undated letter to Max Steinitzer Mahler asked about the possibility of a performance of the Symphony in Leipzig (GMB2, 72–3).


Mahler wrote to Paul Bernhard Limburger (1826–1891), one of the directors of the Leipzig Gewandhaus and chairman of the board, thanking him for the interest he had shown in his work, and offered to send him his score ([AF1]) – Mahler clearly hoped for a performance there (GMBVC, 75).


Mahler hoped to play through his Symphony to Ernst von Schuch in Dresden on 5 August (GMLJ, 98; GMLJE, 57).


Mahler hoped to interest Hermann Levi in performing the work in Munich in the upcoming concert season; according to a diary entry that may date from 1888 Richard Strauss may have played through the 'Symphony' with Levi (GMRSB, 13; GMRSBE, 19). Towards the end of the month various Prague newspapers reported that the Symphony would be performed in Dresden (e.g Prager Tagblatt (23.08.1888, 6)) and in Prague the following year; in September the Prager Abendblatt specifically referred to 7 December as the date of the Dresden performance (HLG1, 184).


Mahler wrote, probably to Carl Reinecke, to further the cause of a performance of his new Symphony at a Gewandhaus concert. The  letter is undated, but it was probably sent sometime between late August and 16 September, when Mahler planned to return to Iglau. He reported that a set of parts has been prepared (although a copy of the score would not be completed for another couple of weeks) and that the work has been accepted for performance in Dresden, Munich and Prague. (CBMiL, 162–63).


Mahler had a manuscript copy of the full score prepared – almost certainly ACF1.


A delegation from the Budapest Philharmonic visited Mahler (by then Director of the Royal Opera in Budapest) to request one of his symphonic works for performance at the start of the new season, in November (ZRGMH, 75).


Mahler conducted the première of the five-movement work in Budapest, under the title of Symphoniai költemény két részben [Symphonic Poem in two parts].


Mahler wrote to Dr Ludwig Strecker, offering a number of works, including 'eine symphonische Dichtung' [Symphonic Poem] to Schotts for publication.


Mahler wrote to the conductor G.F. Kogel offering a Symphonic Poem in two parts entitled “Aus dem Leben eines Einsamen” for performance.


The revised score of the last (i.e. fifth) movement completed (AF2).


The revised score of the Scherzo (i.e. the third movement) completed (AF2).


The revised score of Blumine (i.e. the second movement) completed (AF2).


Mahler conducted ‘Titan’. Eine Tondichtung in Symphonieform (five-movements) in Hamburg.


In a letter that has not survived, Strauss wrote to Mahler that he had asked Hans von Bronsart to include Mahler’s Symphony in the thirtieth festival of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Musikverein [ADM] (GMRSB, 23–4; GMRSBE, 27).


Mahler sent a manuscript score of his '2. [recte: 1.] Symphonie "Titan"' to Hans von Bronsart for appraisal by the ADM (IKRS, 92).


Felix Draeseke completed his report on the Titan Symphonie for the ADM (IKRS, 91).


Between 23–26 March Eduard Lassen recommended Mahler’s Symphony for performance at the forthcoming ADM festival (IKRS, 91).


A newly copied manuscript score (ACF2) and a set of parts for the work were almost ready to be sent to Strauss (GMRSB, 37–8; GMRSBE, 36–7).


Mahler conducted Titan. Symphonie in zwei Abtheilungen und fünf Sätzen at the ADM Festival in Weimar.


A new manuscript copy of the Symphonie Nro 1 (ACF3) – in four movements – prepared.


Mahler conducted Symphonie in D-dur für grosses Orchester (four movements) in Berlin.


A manuscript of a newly revised four-movement version of the work (ACF4) copied.

1897 Mahler apparently approached Verlag C.F. Peters – probably between February and April 1897 – about the possibility of their publishing his music, including the First Symphony (EKGF no. 1).
1897.04.29 On behalf of C.F. Peters, Paul Ollendorff rejected Mahler's approach (EKGF no. 2).
1898.03.03 Mahler conducted a performance (prepared by Franz Schalk) in Prague.

1898, December

First edition of the full score printed (and published?) under the imprint of Weinberger.

1899, ?January

First edition of the piano duet arrangement published under the imprint of Weinberger.

1899, ?April

First edition of the orchestral parts published under the imprint of Weinberger.

1906, April

First edition of the study score (PS1), a revised version of the work, published.


Mahler conducted two performances in New York, his last of the work.


Mahler signed off a specially prepared proof copy of the PS1 text into which he had entered his final revisions.

1912, November

Second edition of the full score published by Universal Edition.


Second edition of the string parts published by Universal Edition when needed.



From the outset, Mahler almost always referred to this work in his correspondence as a symphony, and a diary entry by Richard Strauss that may date from 1888 (GMRSB, 13; GMRSBE, 19) describes the work as Mahler's 'I. Symphonie';  however other sources employ a number of different titles which imply rather fluid allegiances to the genres of symphony and symphonic poem:

a) 1889 (handbill for première): Symphoniai költemény két részben [Symphonic Poem in two parts]

b) 1891 (letters to Ludwig Strecker): 'eine Symphonische Dichtung'

c) 1891 (letter to G.F. Kogel): ‘symphonic poem in two parts entitled “Aus dem Leben eines Einsamen”’

d) 1893 (concert announcement and programme): ‘Titan’. Eine Tondichtung in Symphonieform

e) 1894 (concert programme): Titan. Symphonie in zwei Abtheilungen und fünf Sätzen

f) 1896 (ACF3): Symphonie Nro 1

g) 1896 (concert handbill): Symphonie in D-dur für grosses Orchester

h) 1899 (first edition of the full score): SYMPHONIE No 1 in D-dur

The current publicists' fad for using the title ‘Titan’ for performances and recordings of the published score, is to be deprecated as anachronistic.

Dates of Composition

Henry-Louis de La Grange points out (HLG1, 746) that both Natalie Bauer-Lechner and Guido Adler claimed that the Symphony was sketched in 1885, and this finds support in one of the more extensive reviews of the première (August Beer, Pester Lloyd, 321 (21 November 1889); see DM2, 151–4 for a facsimile and translation):

Mahler nöthigt uns umso größere Achtung mit seiner Symphonischen Dichtung ab, als er daß werke bereits vor nahezu einem Luftrum fertig im Pult liegen hatte und somit in einem Alter an die hochsten Probleme sich herangewagt, wo andere junge Talente kaum das musikalische Stammeln überwanden haben.

With his Symphonic Poem Mahler demands all the more respect in that he put the finished work into his desk almost five years ago, so that at an age when other young talents have barely overcome their musical stammers he was pitting himself against the loftiest problems.

It is clear that various Budapest critics were briefed about the new work – not least its programmatic content – in preparation for the première, so it is by no means impossible that Beer had this information directly from Mahler. Two of the works that fed material into the Symphony were completed in 1884 so Mahler could have been working on the latter the following year. On the other hand Beer may have misunderstood what Mahler was saying, and there is no direct reference to a Symphony in his surviving correspondence from this period, and the tone of his letters in early 1888 does not suggest his creative work was on a project resumed.

Private performance(s) in Vienna, 1888

In the handwritten Einleitung associated with a typescript of her Mahleriana (A-Wn Mus.Hs.38578, fol. 4) Natalie Bauer-Lechner gives a description of Mahler's physical and mental state after his departure from Leipzig that differs from the published versions:

Erst nach seinen Leipziger Aufenthalt ... traf ich ihn bei Lipiners wieder. Wir fanden ihn übel anssehend und körperlich angegriffen; zugleich war er, da seine Stellung aufgegeben hatte, auch hierüber bedrückt und voll der schwärzesten Befürchtungen für die Zukunft. Als er bei diesen Verweilen in Wien den Freuden seine in Leipzig entstandene erste Symphonie vorspielte, war ich leider nicht anwesend.

Only after his stay in Leipzig ... did I meet him again at Lipiners'. We found him looking ill and physically exhausted; at the same time, because he had given up his post, he was also depressed about this and full of the blackest fears for the future. When, during this visit to Vienna he played his first symphony, composed in Leipzig, to his friends, I was unfortunately not present.

She offers similar account of Mahler's state of mind at the time in her extended letter to Hans Reihl (1917; see  NBLMW, pp. 29/30) which sets the events (though not the run-through of the Symphony, which is not mentioned) firmly in the context of the break-up of his affair with Marion von Weber:

Als wir—die Wienerfreunde—kurz nachdem Gustav Leipzig & den Starnhembergersee [sic] verlaßen, ihn flüchtig bei uns wieder sahen, waren wir erschreckt über sein schlechtes Aussehen & die unruhig-tiefgedrückte Stimmung—welche sich auch darin äußerte, das er meinte, er werde nie mehr eine Stellung bekommen!

When we, his Vienna friends, saw Gustav here in passing shortly after he had left Leipzig and Lake Starhemberg [sic] we were shocked by his poor poor appearance and restless, deeply distressed state of mind, which expressed itself, among other ways, in the opinion that he would never again find a job.

From Bauer-Lechner's descriptions the run-through she did not hear must have occurred after Mahler's departure from Leipzig (23 May 1888: see CBMiL, 14) and his professionally and psychologically beneficial call to Prague (July 1888). It may have been around this time that Mahler also played the work at a lunch organised by Julius Epstein (with whom he had studied piano at the Conservatoire), for a party that included Richard Epstein, Moriz Rosenthal and Anton Door (see MRWM, 58ff.¹).


At its first performance in 1889 and up to c. 1896, the work included an additional movement, usually known as Blumine, the title it bears in the autograph full score of the 1893 version of the Symphony (AF2). It was included in the first three performances, in which it was placed second as it is in AF2 and ACF2. It is not present in the earliest surviving manuscript, an incomplete copyist's manuscript that also lacks the slow movement (ACF1), but there is strong circumstantial evidence that it was present when the manuscript was bound, though placed third (or, less likely, fourth) in the movement sequence. As early as 1893 there seems to have been some doubt as to whether Blumine would be used in the revised version that Mahler prepared that year; it was eventually re-incorporated into AF2 at a relatively late stage. The definitive decision to exclude the movement was made between the Weimar (1894) and Berlin (1896) performances.

In October 1901 Mahler, in conversation with Natalie Bauer-Lechner, recalled his decision to exclude Blumine (NBL2, 169):

In diesen Tagen Sprach Mahler wieder davon, daß er sich das Andante der Zweiten, als zu verschieden in der Stimmung, an anderer Stelle wünsche. „Ich dachte schon daran, das Scherzo nach dem ersten Satz und darauf das Andante, vor dem „Urlicht‟, folgen zu lassen. Aber das vertrug die Ökonomie des Werkes nicht, weil Andante und „Urlicht‟, die bei dieser Anordnung unmittelbar hintereinander kämen, nicht genug gegensätzlich in der Stimmung sind. Auch wären dann die Tonarten in ihren Folge zu verwandt gewesen, während jetzt darin das richtige Verhältnis besteht. Bei meiner Dritten und Vierten konnte mir so etwas nicht mehr geschehen, weil ich jetzt außer der ganzen Anordnung der Sätze mir auch gleich die Tonarten in ihrer Aufeinanderfolge skizziere. Wegen zu großer der Ähnlichkeiten der Tonarten in benachtbarten Sätzen habe ich hauptsächlich auch das Andante „Blumine‟ aus der Ersten entfernt.‟

During these days Mahler once again spoke of his wanting  the Andante of the Second, being so different in mood, to be placed elsewhere. "I thought about placing the Scherzo after the first movement, followed by the Andante before "Urlicht". But the internal relationships of the work would not tolerate that, because the Andante and "Urlicht", which came immediately after one another in this arrangement, are not sufficiently different in mood. Also, in that order the keys would have been too closely related, while now there the correct relationship exists. With my Third and Fourth, this could no longer happen to me, because  apart from the whole arrangement of the movements, I sketched the key sequence. Mainly because of excessive similarities of tonality in neighbouring movements, I also removed the Andante "Blumine" from the First."

This seems to be an important statement of principles, but only partly corresponds to the surviving evidence:

  • For Mahler, similarity of mood and/or tonality was undesirable between adjacent movements.

  • On the other hand it was possible for an extreme contrast in mood between adjacent movements to be troubling, and in the case of the Second led the composer to contemplate a different ordering of movements. In the event it was the first principle that took precedence in his decision making process:
    Original and final key sequence
    C minor - Aa symbol: a flat sign major - C minor - Da symbol: a flat sign major - F minor/Ga symbol: a flat sign major/Ea symbol: a flat sign major
    Alternative sequence
    C minor - C minor - Aa symbol: a flat sign major - Da symbol: a flat sign major - F minor/Ga symbol: a flat sign major/Ea symbol: a flat sign major
    It seems that what really troubled Mahler about the alternative was that the work would begin with two movements in the same key and mode, this despite the fact that there was a clear precedent for such a tonal arrangement in the work that in other ways informed the design of the Second, namely Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. More than ten years later it was clearly again the crucial issue behind his decision to reorder the inner movements of the Sixth Symphony.

  • No autograph outlines for the Third Symphony have been located and the printed transcriptions, published by Paul Bekker and Alma Mahler, do not refer to the tonalities of the movements; however the one surviving autograph outline for the Fourth Symphony (very different to the final design) does include the keys of the planned movements.

  • Mahler's assertion that the second movement, Blumine, was finally eliminated from the First Symphony on similar tonal grounds is unconvincing, since the original key sequence of the five-movement version was:
    D major - C major - A major - D minor - F minor/D major.

Literary and other Sources

a) The overall title adopted in 1893–4, ‘Titan’, is possibly an allusion to the novel of the same name, written in 1800–2 by one of Mahler’s favourite authors, Jean-Paul. To what extent this source had an impact on the design or content of the symphony is not entirely clear. According to Bruno Walter, who first got to know the composer in the autumn of 1894,  it was more a matter of a general tribute (BWGM, 95–6; BWGME, 140–1 [revised below] – for the significance of Walter’s reference to another Jean Paul novel, Siebenkäs, see the discussion later in this section):

Von Mahlers Liebe zu Jean Paul zeugt schon die Benennung der ersten Symphonie nach Titan. Über den großen Roman sprachen wir oft und namentlich die Gestalt des Roquairol, deren Einfluß im Trauermarsch der Ersten zu spüren ist, war uns Gegenstand eingehender Erörterung. Mahler behauptete, daß jeder begabte Mensch einen solchen Roquairol, das heißt den sich selbst spiegelnden, zersetzenden, höhnischen, gefährdeten Geist mehr oder weniger in sich trage und erst nach dessen Überwindung durch entschiedene Tätigkeit in den Besitz seiner gesunden produktiven Kräfte gelange. Im komplizierten wilden Humor Schoppes fand Mahler sich wie im heimischen Element; sein Lieblingswerk war der Siebenkäs, den er für Jean Pauls vollkommenste Schöpfung erklärte.

Mahler’s fondness for Jean Paul is proved by the very fact that he named his first symphony after Titan. We often talked about the great novel and the figure of Roquairol, especially, whose influence may be sensed in the funeral march of the First was for us the subject of detailed discussion. Mahler asserted that, more or less, every gifted man carried within himself such a Roquairol – that is to say, a self-reflecting, decomposing, scoffing, and imperilling spirit – and that he could gain the full mastery of his real productive powers only after having overcome it. He felt very much at home in the wildly complicated humour of Schoppe. His favourite work was Siebenkäs, which he pronounced to be Jean Paul’s most perfect creation.

This assessment is supported by another of Mahler’s artistic colleagues from the Hamburg years, J.B. Foerster who commented (JBFDP, 409f.):

Überdies hatte die Symphonie damals [1894] noch ihren ursprünglichen Namen Titan, der ganz angetan war, öde Witzlein und auch Mißverständnisse herauszufordern. Mahler stützte sich in der Empfindung auf Eindrücke, die er bei der Lesung Jean Paul empfangen hatte, und ließ aus Dankbarkeit den Titel des Buches, von dem ihm die meisten Anregungen gekommen waren. 

Moreover at that time [1894] the Symphony still had its original title Titan, which was rather likely to provoke tedious jokes and misunderstandings. Mahler had drawn on feelings inspired by impressions that he had received from the reading of Jean Paul, and read with gratitude the title of the book from which he had received the most stimulation.

However, another (and rather more ambivalent) observer of Mahler in his early Hamburg years was the critic Ferdinand Pfohl, who suggest that the choice of title did not reflect any very serious thought on the part of the composer (FPGM, 17–8):

Als Gustav Mahler an seiner ersten Sinfonie arbeitete", spielte er mir aus den Skizzen und aus den eben fertig gewordenen Sätzen mehrfach das Wesentliche vor. Er suchte krampfartig nach einem großartigen und kühnen Titel für diese seine erste Sinfonie. »Ich beschwöre Sie, schaffen Sie mir einen Namen für die Sinfonie!« Ich sagte ihm: »Nennen Sie sie doch >Natur-Sinfonie< oder so ähnlich und legen Sie dem dritten [recte: vierten] Satz die Bezeichnung bei: >Trauermarsch in Callots Manier<, denn er ist höchst absonderlich: grotesk, bizarr, ein phantastisches Schauspiel...« Aber er zögerte, denn er besaß die »Fantasiestücke in Callots Manier« [von E. Th. A. Hoffmann] nicht. Der Zufall will es, daß ich am gleichen Tag im Schaufenster einer Buchhandlung eine schöne Ausgabe dieser berühmten Fantasiestücke ausgestellt finde; ich kaufe sie und bringe sie ihm.

When Mahler was working on his First Symphony he frequently played me the essential ideas from the sketches or from the already completed movements. He frantically sought an imposing and audacious title for this, his first symphony. 'I implore you, give me name for the Symphony!' I replied 'Just call it "Nature Symphony" or something similar, and, because it is very bizarre – grotesque, bizarre, a fantastic scene –  add the designation "Funeral March in Callots Manier" to the third [recte: fourth] movement. But he hesitated, because he did not have the "Fantasiestücke in Callots Manier" [by E. T. A. Hoffmann]. As luck would have it, the same day I found an attractive edition of the famous Fantasiestücke displayed in the window of a bookshop. I bought it and took it to him.

Einige Tage später teilt mir Mahler mit, daß er nun endgültig für seine Sinfonie einen Charaktertitel gefunden habe. »Ich nenne sie: Titan ... « Den Namen hatte ihm einer seiner musikbegeisterten Freunde eingeblasen. Aber als dann die Sinfonie unter dem hohl aufgedonnerten Titel in Hamburg und später in Weimar aufgeführt und mit einer sehr abfälligen, fast schon vernichtenden Kritik bedacht worden war, tilgte Mahler die nicht sehr glückliche Bezeichnung.

A few days later Mahler told me that he he had finally found a characteristic title for his Symphony. 'I am calling it "Titan"...' One of his music-loving friends had suggested it to him. However, when the Symphony was played in Hamburg and later Weimar under that vainly dressed-up title, and had been subjected to very disapproving, almost completely annihilating criticism, Mahler erased the not very happy label.

If Pfohl’s tacit assumption was correct, the title 'Titan' had nothing to do with Jean-Paul, and that seems to have been what Mahler told Nathalie Bauer-Lechner in 1900 (NBL, 148–9; NBL2, 173–5; NBLE, 157–8):

Mahler hatte seine Erste ursprünglich „Titan“ genannt, dann aber diesen Titel, wie alle Überschriften seiner Werke, längst gestrichen, weil sie ihm als Andeutungen eines Programms ausgelegt und mißdeutet wurden. So brachte man ihm seinen „Titan“ mit dem Jean Paul’schen in Verbindung. Er hatte aber einfach einen kraftvoll-heldenhaften Menschen im Sinne, sein Leben und Leiden, Ringen und Unterliegen gegen das Geschick, „wozu die wahre, höhere Auflösung erst die Zweite bringt“.

Originally, Mahler had called his First Symphony ‘Titan’. But he has long ago eradicated this title, and all other superscriptions of his works, because he found that people misinterpreted them as indications of a programme. For instance, they connected his ‘Titan’ with Jean Paul’. But all he had in mind was a powerfully heroic individual, his life and suffering, struggles and defeat at the hands of fate. ‘The true, higher redemption comes only in the Second Symphony.’

b) The subtitle for the Part I of the Symphony given in the handbill for the Hamburg performance in 1893 alludes to Blumen-, Frucht- und Dornenstücke oder Ehestand, Tod und Hochzeit des Armenadvokaten F. St. Siebenkäs im Reichsmarktflecken Kuhschnappel by Jean Paul, published in 1796–7.

c) The title used for the original second (later subsequently deleted) movement, Blumine, may be an allusion to Jean Paul’s Herbst-Blumine, oder gesammelte Werkchen aus Zeitschriften (3 vols, 1810–20).

d) As early as 1889 Mahler told a journalist that the funeral march drew on a picture called ‘Hunter's Funeral’ and the the 1893 Hamburg programme for the fourth (third) movement refers to a ‘parodistic picture, known to all children in Austria, ‘The Hunter’s Funeral’ from an old book of children’s fairy tales’; these and all the subsequent references are probably to ‘Wie die Thiere den Jäger begraben a woodcut after a drawing by Moritz von Schwind (1804–71) (from Münchner Bilderbogen No. 44: Die guten Freunde (Munich, 1850):

a woodcut after a drawing by Moritz von Schwind (1804–71) (from Münchner Bilderbogen No. 44: Die guten Freunde (Munich, 1850)


Related Works

a) The first movement incorporates complete passages from ‘Ging heut’ morgen über’s Feld’, the second song of the Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen.

b) Richard Specht (RSpGM1, 17) reported, perhaps on the basis of information from Mahler, that much of the first movement was based on motives taken from the sketches for the music of the first Act of Rübezahl. See also d) below.

c) Blumine, the eventually-deleted second movement in the five-movement version, was originally composed as one of the numbers in Mahler’s incidental music to tableaux vivants based on Scheffel’s Der Trompeter von Säkkingen.

d) The second movement in the four-movement version, uses material with a strong resemblance to ‘Maitanz im Grünen’ from Mahler’s early collection of 5 Lieder für Tenorstimme, a song Mahler also planned to use in the Märchenoper Rübezahl (1879–1890). The song was later published as ‘Hans und Grete’ in Lieder und Gesänge (1892).

e) The central section of the third movement is a purely orchestral version of the closing section of the final song of the Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, ‘Die zwei blauen Augen’ (bb. 37–67).

f) The finale (bb. 340–6) re-uses in slightly modified form the climactic gesture from Das klagende Lied (Der Spielmann, bb. 451–7).


a) The main section of the third movement is based on a minor-mode version of the famous round Bruder Martin.

b) Constantin Floros has suggested that the finale of the Symphony alludes to Liszt’s Dante Symphony in both overall design (epitomised by Mahler’s movement heading D'all Inferno al Paradiso) and motivic elements, and that the chorale (bb. 296–304) is ‘nothing more than a rhythmic variation of the Grail theme from Wagner’s Parsifal which is [itself] shaped from Liszt’s Cross symbol and the Dresden Amen’ (see CFGM, II/247–65; CFGME 43–48).


In 1894 Mahler’s own estimate of the duration of the symphony (i.e. the five-movement version, with no repeats in the first movement or scherzo) – offered in a letter of 24 April to Hans von Bronsart – was 48 minutes. This is broadly in line with three timings that appear in performers' annotations to Mahler’s orchestral part set (GMPO2) used for later performances of the four-movement version.

Metronome Markings

At the start of his career as a published composer Mahler included some metronome markings despite voicing concerns about their limited value as early as January 1896 (NBL2, 42; NBLE, 46). In the case of the First Symphony, there are such markings in some of the early printed sources. The table below lists these, and those in the 1893 copyist's manuscript, together with details of the variant tempo indications in the Scherzo:

Bar   ACF2 PF1 PTp4 PS1 PF2


1 Langsam. Schleppend Graphic: a crotchet=56–60        
9 Più mosso Graphic: a crotchet=104        
18 Tempo I Graphic: a crotchet=60        
22 Più mosso Graphic: a crotchet=104        
63 Immer sehr gemächlich Graphic: a minim=88        
135 Hier ist nach allmächlicher Steigerung
 ein frisches, belebtes Zeitmass eingetreten
  Graphic: a minim=116   Graphic: a minim=116 Graphic: a minim=116
163 (Graphic: a crotchet= wie füher die Graphic: a minim) Graphic: a crotchet=96 Graphic: a crotchet=96 Graphic: a crotchet=96 Graphic: a crotchet=96 Graphic: a crotchet=96
207 Sehr gemächlich Graphic: a minim=66 Graphic: a minim=66 Graphic: a minim=66 Graphic: a minim=66 Graphic: a minim=66
220 Etwas bewegter, aber immer noch sehr ruhig Graphic: a minim=72 Graphic: a minim=72 Graphic: a minim=72 Graphic: a minim=72 Graphic: a minim=72
257 Hier is wieder das Zeitmass: „Gemächlich” eingetreten Graphic: a minim=96 Graphic: a minim=96 Graphic: a minim=96 Graphic: a minim=96 Graphic: a minim=96
358 a Tempo (Hauptzeitmass) Graphic: a minim=84 Graphic: a minim=84 Graphic: a minim=84 Graphic: a minim=84 Graphic: a minim=84
364 Etwas bewegter Graphic: a minim=92 Graphic: a minim=92 Graphic: a minim=92 Graphic: a minim=92 Graphic: a minim=92
416 Hier ist bereits ein ziemlich frisches Zeitmass eingetreten,

welches jedoch noch immer etwas zu steigern ist

Graphic: a minim=112 Graphic: a minim=112 Graphic: a minim=112 Graphic: a minim=112 Graphic: a minim=112
1 Andante allegretto con moto Y N/A N/A N/A N/A
Bar   ACF2 PF1 PTp4 PS1 PF2
1 Kräftig bewegt. (Langsames Walzer-tempo) [ACF1/PTp4]

Kräftig bewegt [PS1]

Kräftig bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell [PF2]

graphic image representing a dotted minim=66 graphic image representing a dotted minim=66 graphic image representing a dotted minim=66 graphic image representing a dotted minim=66 graphic image representing a dotted minim=66
93 Vorwärts   Y Y Y N
101 Vorwärts   Y Y Y N
106 Immer vorwärts N N Y N N
118 Tempo 1

Hier ist das Tempo bereits frischer, als am Anfang











133 Vorwärts   Y Y Y Y
153 Immer vorwärts   Y Y Y Y
159 accelerando al Segno *   Y Y Y Y
171 Mässig   Y Y Y Y
175 Recht gemächlich (Etwas langsamer als im Anfang) graphic image representing a dotted minim=54 graphic image representing a dotted minim=54 graphic image representing a dotted minim=54 graphic image representing a dotted minim=54 graphic image representing a dotted minim=54
285 Tempo primo   Y Y Y Y


Bar   ACF2 PF1 PTp4 PS1 PF2
1 Feierlich und gemessen, ohne zu schleppen Graphic: a crotchet=76   Graphic: a crotchet=76    
83 Sehr einfach und schlicht wie eine Volksweisen Graphic: a crotchet=72 Graphic: a crotchet=72 Graphic: a crotchet=72 Graphic: a crotchet=72 Graphic: a crotchet=72
Bar   ACF2 PF1 PTp4 PS1 PF2
1 Stürmisch bewegt Graphic: a minim=92 Graphic: a minim=92 Graphic: a minim=92 Graphic: a minim=92 Graphic: a minim=92
55 Energisch Graphic: a minim=108 Graphic: a minim=108 Graphic: a minim=108 Graphic: a minim=108  
254 Wieder wie zu Anfang. Stürmisch bewegt Graphic: a minim=112   Graphic: a minim=112    

A number of these tempi are rather swifter than those commonly adopted today (particularly the scherzo and slow movement) and it is also worth noting that the tempo markings in the earliest printed editions of the score imply a double accelerando in the first section of the Scherzo. (The curious reading at bar 118 in PTp4 suggests a single, longer accelerando, but this may be the result of an error or oversight.) The metronome markings at the start of the work that are given uniquely in ACF2 indicate that the fanfares are to be considerably faster than main pulse at this point – perhaps anticipating the tempo that is to be the goal of the whole movement. (For a more extended discussion of tempi in the first two movements, see PBMDC.) Mahler provided these relatively detailed indications in this manuscript because it was to be used by Richard Strauss at the preliminary rehearsals for the 1894 performance in Weimar.

Doubling of the horns (Finale, bb. 657ff.)

Mahler's requirements for this passage evolved over the years. Two important letters dating (probably) from February 1898 to Franz Schalk who was preparing for the Prague première on 3 March 1898 make it clear that even at this date Mahler considered two strategies (GMUB, 159, 161; GMUBE, 155, 157):

[Letter 1]

... Eine 5. Trompete für den Schlußsatz wäre famos, wenn sie aufzutreiben ist....Eine Verstärkung für den Hornsatz zum Schluße sehr wünschenswerth!


[Letter 2]

...Haben Sie eine genügende Verstärkung für den Schluß„choral” der Hörner? Dieß ist mir äußerster Wichtigkeit; und ich bitte im schlimmsten Falle eine Extra-Trompete und Extra-Posaune zur Verstärkung dazu [zu] benutzen. Aber natürlich viel Hörner sind mir am liebsten!


... A fifth trumpet for the final movement would be fantastic, if you can find one....A reinforcement of the horn passage at the end is most desirable!



Have you sufficient reinforcements for the horns' final "chorale"? This is of utmost importance to me; and I ask that in the worst case you use an extra trumpet and an extra trombone. But of course many horns would be preferable!

Clearly at this stage Mahler's preference was for additional horns, with the use of a trumpet and trombone as a possible alternative, and the first edition of the score includes a stave for the Hörner Verstärkung, an unspecified number of additional horns playing in octaves, with a footnote (p. 162, at the upbeat to bar 657) and a headnote (p. 163, at bar 657):

Von hier an (und zwar nicht 4 Takte vorher) bis zum Schluss ist es empfehlenswerth die Hörner so lange zu verstärken, bis der hymnenartige, alles übertönende Choral die nöthige Klangfülle erreicht hat. Alle Hornisten stehen auf, um die möglichst grösste Schallkraft zu erzielen.


Die Hörner Alles, auch die Trompeten übertönen!

it is recommended that from here onwards (and certainly not from 4 bars previously) up to the end, the horns be reinforced sufficiently so that the hymn-like, all-dominating chorale attains the necessary sonority. All the horns stand, in order to achieve the greatest possible strength of sound.


The horns drown everything, even the trumpets.

The scoring of this passage and the notes remained unaltered in PS1 (1906). Nevertheless the first edition of the orchestral material (PO1) contained parts for the Hörner Verstärkung and for a fifth trumpet and fourth trombone, playing in octaves.

Two of the later annotated copies of the first edition of the full score have autograph additions to the note on p. 162:

APF2 (?1909)

Nötiger sind je eine Trompete u[nd] Posaune mit 1. u[nd] 2. Horn.


One trumpet and [one] trombone [playing] with the first and second horns are necessary.


APF5 (1910)

Eventuell müßte auch eine Trompete und eine Posaune herangezogen werden.


Possibly a trumpet and a trombone should also be brought in.

The APF5 addition is adopted in PF2, and pp. 162–71 re-engraved to replace the single stave for the Hörner Verstärkung with two additional staves, one for each of the optional reinforcing instruments.

Critical Edition

SWIa: Gustav Mahler, Symphonie Nr. 1 in vier Sätzen für großes Orchester (Revidierte Ausgabe), Sämtliche Werke, Kritische Gesamtausgabe, Band I, ed. Erwin Ratz (Vienna: Universal Edition, 1967)

SWIb: Gustav Mahler, Symphonie Nr. 1 in vier Sätzen für großes Orchester (Verbesserte Ausgabe), Sämtliche Werke, Kritische Gesamtausgabe, Band I, ed. Sander Wilkens (Vienna: Universal Edition, 1992)

Supplementary Material

  Symphony No. 1 – Outline stemma: scores and parts

Symphony No. 1 – The original movement order

Symphony No. 1 – The double bass solo revisited

Mahler's Hamburg copyist – Ferdinand Weidig (1841–1921)

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