A Cartoon of Mahler



Symphony No. 2

Orchestral draft, movement 2 – OD2


US-NHub Osborn Collection MS 536


Manuscript structure and collation









  2. Symphonie. / 4. Satz [sic]


  [Ink:] Steinbach / 30. Juli 1893 / [pencil:] 8 Minuten


  Ink, bar lines free-hand in ink or ruled in pencil, annotations and corrections in pencil, black ink and brown ink


  18 staves, no maker's mark, upright format, no watermark, 332 x 257 (r = 275½)

Manuscript structure and collation

  7 bifolios; for a description use the link on the left of this page



Offered for sale by Seidelsche Sortiments-Buchhandlung / O.E. Deutsch and Co. in a list dated 30 November 1923 (see NAMR 4 (Feb. 1979), 14); sold at a Stargardt auction, Berlin, on 21/22 March 2006


  Complete colour facsimile; Stargardt Catalogue 683: title [detail only]; fol 5v = bb. 97–126

Select Bibliography

  Stargardt Catalogue 683, lot 848; NKGII.2, 27, 116 (source PE-2)



The use of upright format for an orchestral draft is unusual. but it is notable that Mahler adopted it for OD3 and the orchestral draft of the original solo song version of Urlicht, which were also completed in the summer of 1893. Perhaps that year Mahler was without a supply of oblong paper at Steinbach.

Natalie Bauer-Lechner records Mahler's work on the movement while at Steinbach am Attersee in July–August 1893 (NBL2, 25; NBLE, p. 29):

„Sind das zwei wunderschöne Themen, die ich heute aus der Skizze zum Andante meiner Zweiten Symphonie aufgegriffen habe, das ich ebenso wie das Scherzo mit Gottes Hilfe hier zu vollenden hoffe"... Mahler hatte sein Andante in sieben Tagen vollendet....

'Here are two marvellous themes' said Mahler 'that I picked up today from the sketch for the Andante of my Second Symphony. With God's help, I hope to finish both it and the Scherzo while I'm here'....Mahler finished his Andante in seven days....

The orchestral draft of the Scherzo (OD3) was completed on 16 July 1893 and that of the Andante (OD2) on 30 July 1893. The numbering of this draft seems unequivocal. Nevertheless, there is other evidence that at that time Mahler had not definitively decided on the inclusion of the song in the Symphony: the first orchestral score of the song (DKW12 AF; 19 July 1893) identifies the work as aus des Knaben Wunderhorn / Nr. 7, and when, towards the end of his 1893 vacation, Mahler made an unsuccessful attempt to begin work on the finale, he commented to Natalie Bauer-Lechner (NBL2, 28; HLG1, 276 (revised, with editorial underlining)):

Läst du mir die Tücke des Objects statt des 4/4 Taktes, den ich zum vierten Satz brauche, jetzt lauter 3/4 Takte einfallen, mit denen ich nichts zu tun anfangen kann!

Things have a nasty will of their own. Instead of ideas in 4/4, which I need for the fourth movement, I now have only ideas in 3/4 time, with which I can do nothing!

Although there were to be some significant alterations later (not least the addition of some twelve bars entirely absent in this version) the manuscript indicates that generally the drafting of this score was relatively straightforward. Nevertheless it is clear that the contrasting material was less in focus than the main section, with, for example, a first draft of bb. 55–59 on fol. 3v being abandoned, and the passage redrafted on fol. 4r; there are also significant revisions when the material returns on fol. 6r. One of the most intriguing revisions, though, concerns bb. 48–59: originally the familiar string passage accompanied a complete statement of a melodic idea – played here by fl. 1 – which in the final version appears only once in the movement, at bb. 183–193. Mahler subsequently deleted the whole flute line in pencil, with the comment bleibt weg, leaving what had been an accompaniment as the sole musical material.

In general the orchestral conception seems to have been fairly well established in Mahler's mind, though occasionally extra staves have to be added the top or bottom of a system to accommodate part not originally included in the layout: these may reflect corrections of oversights, or evidence of spontaneous creative decisions.

The clearly defined tempo structure of the published version (with the faster tempo for the restatement of the 'B' section) is not present here: there are just a very few local tempo variations marked.  Similarly the very characteristic portamenti marked in AF2 are not specified here (though in the present manuscript Mahler may have been relying on his bowing to imply their use).

Level A conformance icon, Creative Commons Licence

© 2007 Paul Banks | This page was lasted edited on 06 March 2019