A Cartoon of Mahler



Symphony No. 2

Copyist's full score – ACF2


US-NHub Osborn Music MS 508


Fascicle Structure





Alluded to in Die Musik, XX/4 (January 1928), 318. Dr Uta Schweger (to whom I am most grateful) reports that the Handexemplar of the catalogue indicates that the manuscript was offered for sale 'on commission' but was not sold, and was returned to the consignor on 29 April 1929.



See Mahler to Behn, GMUBE p. 27. This was significant to Behn because his transcription for two pianos (see PT2p4) includes detailed information about the orchestration.




















  [On octagonal label on the brown card card cover: ink, non autograph:] Symphonie No2 / [?autograph, pencil:] C Moll. 95 / [ink, non-autograph:] Gustav Mahler / Partitur.

[On the fragment of the spine (rather damaged and indistinct:] Symphonie No 2 Gustav Mahler Partitur.]


  Undated [inter March–October 1895]


  Black ink [Weidig]; rehearsal letters added in blue crayon; revisions in black, violet and red ink, blue crayon, pencil
  A 24 staves, no maker's mark, upright format, 347 x 268 (r = 305½), grey stave lines on brown/cream
  B 26 staves, no maker's mark, upright format, 350 x 272 (r = 302½), grey stave lines on brown/cream
  C 20 staves, no maker's mark, upright format, 351.5 x 272 (r = 300), grey stave lines on cream

Manuscript structure and collation


113 fol.: [1r–29v] = first movement; [31r–45v] = second movement; [46r–70v] = third movement; [72r–113r] = fifth movement



Offered for sale by V.A. Heck, Vienna, in 1927 (Catalogue, no. 39, item 22);¹ offered for sale in 1959 by Gilhofer & Ranschburg, Lucerne (information from the A-Wigmg card catalogue: Photokopien/Mikrofilm); purchased by Mrs James Osborn from 'a New York dealer' before May 1960 (see her letter to Erwin Ratz, dated 13 May 1960 (US-NHub Osborn Collection OSB MSS7, Folder 1315)); subsequently deposited at US-NHub.


  Complete colour facsimile; NKGII.1, xvii: p. 57 (upper staves only)

Select Bibliography

  HLG1F, p. 1018–9; DM2, pp. 278, 283ff.; NKGII.2, 35–38, 124ff. (source KA2)



This manuscript was copied sometime after the partial performance on 4 March 1895 and October of that year (when the first batch of chorus parts ([CCh]) were ready to be dispatched to Berlin for rehearsals). Between then and the publication of the full score in 1897 it was the the main working copy and conducting score of the work. It contains discrete pencil casting-off annotations but these were not always adopted in the preparation of PF1, which sometimes follows Weidig's layout or another solution altogether; so the role of this score in the preparation of the first edition remains a little ambiguous.

In its present state ACF2 contains only movements 1–3, 5. The fact that there are two original pagination sequences, one terminating at the end of III3 and the second commencing at the start of III5 suggests that when Weidig started work on copying the finale he had not copied Urlicht and so could not simply continue the initial pagination sequence. The location of the Stichvorlage for the fourth movement – if it survives –  and the reason for its removal are unknown: it must have been in place when the manuscript was used for performances.

With the exception of the timpani part, Weidig used the revised text of ACF1 as the copy text for the first three movements in ACF2. There are a few exceptions to this pattern: revisions that were not adopted in ACF2 (e.g. revised bowing in the violin parts in b. 221 of the first movement); revisions which seem to have been made in ACF1 after the initial copying of ACF2 and only subsequently added to the latter (e.g. corrections in some of the woodwind, horn and string parts in bb. 274–5 of the second movement); and readings in the original layer of ACF2 that have no source in AF2 or ACF1: the copy text for such passages is currently unidentified. The copy text for the timpani part (two players) in the first and third movements, was an autograph part (AO), though in one passage – the first 18 bars of the third movement – the copying and revision process was altogether much more complex (for details, see the description of the autograph timpani part, AO). In the case of the last movement, Weidig worked from the revised layer of text in AF2 and (presumably) a lost source containing a revised version of the timpani part laid out for two players.

In a letter to Hermann Behn from mid October 1895 Mahler reports that he has made some revisions to the orchestration.² The date of these revisions is unknown – if made soon after the March 1895 performance, they would probably have been entered into ACF1, but if later they were most likely entered into ACF2, the then working copy of the Symphony.

A series of autograph annotations grapple with the positioning and status of trumpets in the last movement, issues that were to remain ambiguous in the printed sources. Despite the fact there must be a minimum of two trumpets placed permanently off-stage, so only two additional players are needed for bb. 452–71, after b. 417 (fol. 106r in ACF2) Mahler inserted two annotations instructing that onstage trumpets 3–4, as well as 5–6 take up places off-stage in preparation for the four-part off-stage trumpet writing of bb. 452–71. He appears to have recognised the superfluity of two of these additional players and deleted the second note in pencil, but did not revise the autograph annotation he had added earlier at the head of fol. 108r (b. 448) reflecting his desire to limit the number of players required:

Zur Vereinfachung der  Orchestralen Apparates ist darauf Rücksicht [?] daß diese 4 Trompeten von den im Orchester Musiker (III, IV, V, Trompette) ausgefuhrt werden können, und [?] den [?] Zeit genug, ihren Plätze zu wechseln.

At the end of the off-stage passage (fol. 109r) Mahler added a further instruction:

Nehmen wieder ihren platz im Orchester ein; doch mit Bedacht darauf, nicht durch Geräusch den „a capella” Gesang zu stören.

The manuscript has been conserved, and a report from the Northeast Document Conservation Center dated June 2002 is kept with the volume. The details of fascicle structure given here (see the links above) were recorded during a visit to the Beinecke Library in the 1980s, i.e. before the recent rebinding.

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