A Cartoon of Mahler



Symphony No. 2

Sketch, fifth movement – S5.4


US-NYpm Kaplan Deposit





270 at the top of the sheet; 268 at the bottom.





  Undated [c. 29 March 1894]


  Ink, pencil


  28 staves, Joh. Aug. Böhme, Hamburg. No. 20., no watermark, upright format, 355 x 268270¹ (r = 279), black staves on cream

Manuscript structure and collation


1 fol.:  





26 bars, ink draft of bb. 472–93


after b. 493, a faint sketch in pencil headed aus dem I Satz:bb. 135–36 of the first movement 




24 bars, ink draft of bb. 512–35


6 bars, ink draft of an unused continuation of bb. 512–35


1 bar, pencil sketch of a variant to the 4th bar of the continuation


5 bars, pencil sketch of an alternative for b. 3ff. of the continuation




blank except for (a) [blue crayon:] Mahler and (b) evidence that the verso was glued to a support of some sort


  Ex coll. Mrs Charles F. Adler, Vienna; offered for sale at Sotheby's, London, 29/30 November 1993, lot 420; purchased by Gilbert Kaplan



Fol. 1r is reproduced in the Sotheby's catalogue, p. 156; DM2, p. 282; GKMRC, frontis. (colour facsimile) and p. 27 (colour, with transcription by Stephen Hefling)

Select Bibliography

  DM2, p. 281; GKMRC, passim.



For an account of the composition of the finale, see the notes to S5.1. It is very possible that this is the manuscript Mahler was working on when J.B. Foerster called on him after the funeral of Hans von Bülow  on 29 March 1894 (JBFDP, 405):

Ich öffne die Tür und sehe ihn am Schreibtisch sitzen, das haupt ist gesenkt, die Hand hält die Feder über Notenpapier. Noch stehe ich in der Türe. Mahler wendet sich um und sagt: „Liebe Freunde, ich hab's!” ... Klopstocks Gedicht, das wir am Vormittag aus Kindermünden vernommen haben, wird die Unterlage für den Schlußsatz der Zweiten Symphonie sein.

I opened the door, and saw him sitting at the writing desk, head bent, hand holding pen over manuscript paper. I remained standing at the door. Mahler turned and said: 'Dear friend, I've got it!'...Klopstock's poem which we heard this morning in the mouths of children, will be the basis of the finale of the Second Symphony.

The draft continuation of bb. 512–35 on 1r23–27 does not correspond to the final version, and incorporates a variant of the E major theme from the first movement (I, bb. 48ff.) and a reference to Urlicht (bb. 23–24): Stephen Hefling provides a detailed account of the drafting process documented by this sketch in GKMRC, pp. 13–24.

This was not the earliest sketch for the finale: towards the end of his 1893 vacation Mahler made an unsuccessful attempt to begin work on the finale as he reported to Natalie Bauer-Lechner (NBL2, 28; HLG1, 276 (revised)):

Mahler sagte mir: „Läst du mir die Tücke des Objects statt des 4/4 Taktes, den ich zum vierten [sic] Satz brauche, jetzt lauter 3/4 Takte einfallen, mit denen ich nichts zu tun anfangen kann!“

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

No sketches have been identified that might date from this phase of work, and, indeed, it is by no means certain that Mahler bothered to notate the unusable musical material that was welling up in his mind.

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© 2007 Paul Banks | This page was lasted edited on 28 August 2018