A Cartoon of Mahler



Symphony No. 2

Copyists' chorus parts – [CCh]


Location unknown





For a description of the technique and illustrations, see MTELM, passim.





  Undated  [inter Spring 1895–October 1895]



This set of chorus parts, used by Mahler and others for early performances of the work, has not been located and probably no longer exists. Nevertheless quite a lot of its history and content can be uncovered.

Sometime in the spring or summer of 1895 Mahler started planning the first complete performance of the work at his own expense. In August, on his way back to Hamburg, he passed through Berlin and had discussions with the concert agent Hermann Wolff about the project (HLG1, 327, 332), and while there was told by Hermann Behn that he and Wilhelm Berkhan would pay for the performance (GMLJ, 503; GMLJE, 369). Despite this financial support as late as 10 September matters were still undecided (GMB, 141; GMSL, 167), but it seems very likely that despite this, the production of a complete copyist's score and performing material was begun rather earlier; the process of preparing the chorus material was particularly urgent, as the parts were needed by October so that chorus rehearsals could commence – see Mahler's letter to Friedrich Gernsheim (the conductor of the Stern'sche Chorverein) on 17 October 1895 (GMB, 172; GMSL, 168).

In the absence of [CCh] there is no direct way to infer which score – AF2 or CF2 (as it then was) – was the source used as the copy text for the chorus parts, but it was almost certainly the latter. Another imponderable is the nature of the method of reproduction: the parts might have all been hand copied, but given the number of identical parts required (Mahler initially supplied 30 parts each of the tenor and bass parts (GMB, 173; GMSL, 169), and planned to supply more) it is possible that they may have been printed by lithographic transfer from writing.¹ It may be that Willem Mengelberg was referring to that process when he noted in his copy of the full score that Mahler had told him that Hermann Behn had paid for the printing of parts.  The documentation for the next stage in the history of the chorus parts is rather more certain:  there is substantial evidence that PCh1 was engraved from [CCh], thus omitting revisions made to ACF2 after October 1895. Between that date and the appearance of the printed parts (perhaps in 1898/9 or as late as 1903), [CCh] was the only chorus material available.

The interrelationships between the various sources is graphically summarized in a provisional stemma.

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© 2007 Paul Banks | This page was lasted edited on 05 March 2019