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Main heading: The Music of Gustav Mahler: A Catalogue of Manuscript and Printed Sources [rule] Paul Banks





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Piano Quartet Movement in A minor




[Piano Quartet Movement in A minor]




  Piano, violin, viola, cello



c. 9–13 minutes



Autograph score ([1876])

Printed Editions


See the Critical Editions listed below under Notes

Performance AND RECORDING history

The work – apparently adapted for the unusual combination of piano, two violins and viola – probably had its first performance in Iglau (Jihlava) on  12 September 1876, along with a quartet for the same combination, by Rudolf Krzyzanowsky.  Mahler's Quartet, in its original instrumentation, was given a second performance on 10 March 1932, as the second item in a radio programme, Kuriositäten-Kabinett II, broadcast at 21:45 by Südwestdeutsche Rundfunk. The performers were members of the Amar Quartet – Licco Amar or Walter Caspar (vn), Erich Kraack (vla), Maurits Frank (vcl) – and Erich Itor Kahn (pf). The work was not heard again until 12 February 1964 when it was performed by members of the Galimir Quartet, with Peter Serkin, at an event organised by the International Society for Contemporary Music, United States Section Inc., at Philharmonic Hall, New York (see NAMR 66, 42–49). The work was first recorded in 1973, by the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Piano Quartet (Nobuyuki Shioda (vn), Klaas Boon (vla), Saskia Boon (vcl), Ina Overkamp (pf) on a 45 rpm disc that was distributed to the Stichting Donateurs van het Concertgebouw that year. For details of this and subsequent commercial recordings, see PFMD2, 335–7; 564 (timings).



One of the interesting features of the sole surviving autograph (AF), is that the title page bears the stamp of the Viennese music publisher Theodor Rättig. The date and precise circumstances that led to this feature are unknown, but the teenage composer Mahler and the ex-bank  employee cum music publisher Theodor Rättig (1841–1912) were among the small group of admirers who consoled Bruckner after the unsuccessful performance of his Third Symphony in 1877. Rättig offered to publish the work, and in addition to issuing the full score, he commissioned Mahler to prepare a piano duet arrangement, which duly appeared, probably in late 1879 or early 1880 (see PBMMP, 179–183). In view of these encouraging connections with Rättig it would not be surprising that Mahler might have wanted to show him some of his own music. However, what is astonishing is that even an inexperienced composer might have loaned such a messy working manuscript for perusal by a potential publisher. The date and circumstances of the return of the document to Mahler or his widow, are at present undocumented.

Critical Editions

PR1973: Gustav Mahler, Klavierquartett (1876), 1. Satz und Skizze eines Scherzo-Satzes. Herausgegeben von Peter Ruzicka (Erstausgabe), (Hamburg: Musikverlag Hans Sikorski, 1973)

SWSBIII: Gustav Mahler, Klavierquartett, 1. Satz, für Violine, Viola, Violoncello und Klavier, Sämtliche Werke, Kritische Gesamtausgabe, Supplement Band III, edited by Manfred Wagner-Artzt, with a Foreword by Renate Hilmar-Voit and a critical report by Reinhold Kubik (Vienna: Universal Edition, 1997).


Select Bibliography
  OACAM No. 1145, 177; NAMR 4, 14; NAMR 66, 42–49; HLG1, 35, 721ff.; HLG1a, 72
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