A Cartoon of Mahler



Symphony No. 2

Copyist's full score – ACF1


US-NYp Bruno Walter Papers, series 16: C.JOB 85-4


Fascicle structure








This paper is probably the same as Symphony No. 1, ACF2 type B



Muck joined the staff of the Hoftheater in Berlin in 1892 and was appointed General-Musikdirector in 1908; he attended the première of the three movements in Berlin (NKGII.2, 32; 121).



Recte: the second week of January, 1895



Unlikely: Mildenburg first met the Hamburg impresario Pollini in the summer of 1895, and she started work at the Stadttheater in September of that year.



Berta Förster-Lauterer, a soprano at the Stadttheather who worked frequently with Mahler.



See first paragraph of notes, and the description of the fascicle structure of the Scherzo



See the links to details of fascicle structure and other features listed above in this column.



In this context it is worth recalling that the orchestral draft of the scherzo is headed '2. Satz' and that of the Andante '4. Satz'. Click here for a discussion of the movement order in this work.





  Label, on stiff brown card cover: pencil possibly autograph?]: Dr Carl Muck / Berlin / Kgl. Hoftheater. /  [ink, autograph] Symphonie Nro 2. /  1. 2. 3. Satz / (I Abteilung)

In the top LH corner of the front cover verso: 720/g.

In the top centre of the front cover verso, autograph blue crayon: 11.5 / 20 Minuten.


  Undated [inter July–?December 1894]


  Black ink, copied by Weidig; rehearsal numbers in blue crayon; autograph annotations in pencil and grey ink


  A 24 staves, no maker's mark, upright format, 345 x 267 (r = 306), grey stave lines¹
  B 28 staves, no maker's mark, upright format, 345 x 268 (r = 307), brown stave lines
  C 20 staves, no maker's mark, upright format, 347 x 266 (r = 300), grey stave lines

Manuscript structure and collation


72 fol., bound, in a variety of gatherings. [1r–29v] = first movement; [31r–56r] = third movement; [57r–71v] = second movement. For details of fascicle structure and collation, click on the links in the LH column.


  Karl Muck?;² sold at Stargardt sale, 23/24 November 1971, lot 720


  Complete colour facsimile

Select Bibliography

  HLGIF, p. 1018; NKGII.2, 6–7; 95–6; 32ff., 121ff. (source KA1)



This working manuscript places the Scherzo second, and omits the fourth and fifth movements. It was presumably copied in connection with preparation the partial performance of the work, with this configuration of movements, at the Berlin Philharmonie on 4 March 1895; the orchestra was the Berlin Philharmonische Orchester, conducted by the composer (the rest of the concert was conducted by Richard Strauss). The verso of the front cover has an autograph annotation that may perhaps relate to section or movement durations, noted during a rehearsal:

colour details of the the inside of the front cover, showing the autograph annotations

Fig. 1

The New York Public Library

The precise date at which this performance was discussed and agreed with Strauss is uncertain, but it must have been sometime in the autumn of 1894. In his letter to Strauss of 19 July 1894 (GMRSB, 39–40; GMRSBE, 37–8) Mahler announced the completion of the work (it seems unlikely that such a scheme would have been discussed before that date), but by 4 January 1895 (GMRSB, 41; GMRSBE,  38) he could report that the orchestral parts ([CO]) for the three movements were complete, and were to be used in a run-through in Hamburg the following week; although it is not mentioned, Weidig's copy of the score of the first three movements must also have been ready some time before this date. On 27 January Mahler reported that the run-through had taken place, and that the material for the Symphony was ready (GMRSB, 42; GMRSBE, 39). Remarkably we have a fascinating account of that read-through of the first three movements. Although it was recorded many years after the event, it does offer the first-hand memories of one of the few people present, the composer and critic, J.B. Foerster (JBFDP, 406–7):

Zu Beginn der neuen Saison³ kam es im kleinen Coventgarten-Saal bei geschlossenen Türen zur Uraufführung des Allegros, des langsamen Satzes und des Scherzos. Das Orchester des Stadttheaters verehrte seinen Dirigenten und kam mit Freuden seinem Wunsch nach. Auf der Galerie hatten Gäste Platz genommen, acht im ganzen: die ihre Karriere in Hamburg beginnende Anna Mildenburg, der Schauspieler [Karl] Wagner, Rechtsanwalt Doktor [Hermann] Behn und Fabrikant Wilhelm Berkan mit ihren Gemahlinnen, endlich meine Frau und ich.

At the beginning of the new season³ the first performance of the Allegro, slow movement and Scherzo took place in the small Covent Garden hall, behind closed doors. The orchestra of the Stadttheater respected its conductor and happily acceded to his wish. Guests, eight in all, had taken their seats in the circle: Anna von Mildenburg, just starting her career in Hamburg, the actor [Karl] Wagner, the lawyer Dr [Hermann] Behn and the manufacturer Wilhelm Berkan with their wives, and finally my wife and myself.

Mahler erschien mit dem Orchestermitglied Weidich [recte: Weidig], einem älteren Herrn, der die Aufgabe hatte, die von Mahler während der Probe bezeichneten Abänderungen und Ergänzungen vorzumerken. Unser Zuhörerkreis vernahm zuerst nur kurze Bruchstücke der Musik, denn Mahler unterbracht das Spiel immer wieder durch seine Bemerkungen: „Weidlich, das Violoncello unisono mit dem Fagott – die Oboen streichen – Flöten verdoppeln – die Harmonie in die Posaunen.”

Mahler appeared with a member of the orchestra, Weidich [recte: Weidig], an old man whose task it was to record the revisions and additions specified by Mahler during the rehearsal. At first our group of listeners heard only short fragments of music, as Mahler constantly interrupted the playing with his comments: Weidlich, the cello in unison with the bassoon – delete the oboes – double the flutes – the harmony in the trombones.

Weidichs Vormerkbuch war bald vollgeschrieben. Manche Abänderungen und die dynamische Details wurden gleich an Ort und Stelle in die Partiturstimmen eingetragen, das Übrige wurde in der Pause berichtigt. Nach dieser Vorbereitung spielte das Orchester Satz um Satz ohne Unterbrechung durch und belohnte zum Schluß den Komponisten mit herzlichem Applaus. Wir Zuhörer waren hingerissen. Doktor Behn und ich, die wir bereits in das Werk eingeweiht waren, lauschten berauscht den Zauberklängen. Geradezu geblendet waren wir von dem zweiten Thema (E-dur) im ersten Satz mit seiner lyrischen Schönheit und Innigkeit, dann von dem Trio im Scherzo, wo Mahler in kühner dreistimmiger Führung, in der sich die Dissonanzen zum lieblichsten Zusammenklang einen, die tönende Seele der Trompeten entdeckt hat.

Weidich's notebook was soon full. Many alterations and details of dynamics were entered into the parts there and then, and the rest were corrected during the interval. After this preparation the orchestra played through movement by movement without interruption and at the end awarded the composer enthusiastic applause. Those of us in the audience  were overpowered.  Although we had already been introduced to the work,  Dr Behn and I listened intoxicated  to the magical sounds. We were immediately dazzled by the second theme (in E major) of the first movement, with its lyrical beauty and ardour, then by the Trio of the Scherzo, where Mahler – in a daring three-part texture, in which dissonances united with delightful harmonies – revealed the musical soul of the trumpet.

Doktor Behn, ein ausgezeichneter Musiker und Pianist, versprach, eine Einrichtung der Partitur zu vier Händen für zwei Klaviere versuchen zu wollen, „damit wir nicht jahrelang auf eine Wiederaufführung warten müssen.” Auch bei dieser Klavierpremiere in Behns Villa an der Alster war ich zugegen. An den Klavieren nahmen der Komponist und der Gastgeber Platz. Unter den Gästen erschien auch Bülows greise Freundin and warme Verehrerin Frau Lazarus. Sie versicherte uns beim Abschied, sie scheide als nicht weniger glühende Vereherin Gustav Mahlers.

Dr Behn, an outstanding musician and pianist, declared he wished to attempt an arrangement of the score for two pianos, four hands, 'because we must not wait a year for a repeat performance'. I was also present at this piano première at Behn's villa on the Alster. The composer and the host took their places at the piano. Von Bülow's aged friend and ardent supporter, Frau Lazarus, was among the guests. Making her farewell she assured us that she left as no less enthusiastic an admirer of Gustav Mahler.

Apart from a layer of revisions and corrections, the Hamburg run-through would be the most likely occasion for the addition of the timings for the first and second (=Scherzo) movements. How accurately the score and parts were collated during and after the run-through is a matter for conjecture. Further layers of revisions may have been added by Mahler before (during rehearsals) and after the March performance of the first three movements; again the thoroughness of any collation of score and parts is open to debate.

The fact that the pagination in ACF1 is NOT continuous (which it is in ACF2) perhaps indicates that the movement order was in some sense provisional – either the order in the symphony was still not quite fixed, or Mahler was undecided about the sequence to be adopted in the partial première. This uncertainty is also reflected in the sequence of rehearsal numbers: initially reflecting the movement order of this manuscript, in having a continuous sequence through the first movement and Scherzo (in the latter the first bar corresponds to  figure 28) it then adopts a new sequence for the Andante moderato. When the final movement order was adopted (from ACF2 onwards) this sequence of rehearsal numbers was retained, no doubt for pragmatic reasons: the task of providing a new sequence in all the parts of the Scherzo would have been time-consuming and costly. Exactly when the final movement order was established definitively is not known, but the programme of the partial première lists them in the now familiar sequence.

The autograph full score AF2 was the primary source used by Weidig when preparing ACF1, but the relationship between the two manuscripts is complicated by the fact that AF2 itself contains several layers of corrections and revisions. The earliest revisions were made in ink during the process of writing out the score and these, together with later revisions in red and blue crayon were incorporated into the original layer of Weidig's copy. Mahler subsequently made further changes to AF2 in blue crayon (and perhaps ink) and these were transferred to ACF1 by Mahler who also made further revisions directly into the newer score (for a graphic summary of this overview, see the provisional stemma). It seems surprising that Mahler would enter a further series of revisions into AF2 at a time when ACF1 was in existence, and the main working copy for the first three movements. One explanation would be that Mahler did so at a time when he did not have access to ACF1 and two possible occasions were (a) while ACF1 was being used as the copy text for the preparation of the orchestral parts (presumably in December 1894) and (b) after it was sent to Strauss in Berlin (the revised parts – and by implication, the revised version of the score, ACF1a – were ready for dispatch by 27 January 1895; see GMRSB, 42; GMRSBE, 39). It appears that in the event only the score was sent to Strauss – Mahler's letter of 5 February (GMRSB, 43; GMRSBE, 40) assumes that his colleague had it to hand – and that Mahler planned to take the parts with him to Berlin for the first rehearsal in mid-February (GMRSB, 46; GMRSBE, 42).

Perhaps the most significant example of late revisions in AF2 that were not transferred to ACF1 is the redistribution of the original timpani part in the first movement and scherzo for two players. This process was first sketched in blue crayon in AF2, Mahler then worked on the details in an autograph part for the two players, and prepared a full score Einlage to replace the first page of the scherzo in ACF1, but never entered the rest of the revised text of AO into ACF1, the score from which he conducted in March 1895  (see the description of the autograph timpani part (AO) for the details and conjectural chronology of this complex revision process). A rather different situation occurs in the Andante moderato, bb. 171–4 and 280–5; here the original layer of ACF1 adopts readings that are close to the published version of the string parts, but with no textual foundation in AF2 – it is not clear from what Weidig was working.

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© 2007 Paul Banks | This page was lasted edited on 04 March 2019