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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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Title

 

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Scoring

 

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1

The unidentified sonata was either D. 537 or D. 784. See also BCGdM, 1876, 83 (transcribed in KBM, 151 and KBME, 152–3). There were so many eligible competitors that, exceptionally, the competition for the first and second year prizes had to be spread over two days (see Neue freie Presse 4240 (16 June 1876), 5)

 

2

See BCGdM, 1876, 87 (transcribed in KBM, 151 and KBME, 153).

 

3

In the first edition of Paul Stefan's monograph (PSGM1, 1910) this is already labelled a  Piano Quintet. Guido Adler (GA, passim.) makes no specific reference to the work.

 

4

See Martner2, 15.

 

5

This passage quotes from an otherwise unpublished portion of Bauer-Lechner's collection of Mahleriana.

 

   

 

First movement of a Quintet [1876]

 

Title

 

1. Satz zu einem Quintett

Date

  [1876]

Scoring

  [Piano Quintet]

Duration

 

Unknown

Manuscripts

 

Lost

 

Printed Editions

 

None

 

Notes

 

At the end of his first year of study at the Vienna Conservatoire Mahler was awarded first grade in his three main courses: the first year of the finishing course (Ausbildungsschule) in piano, taught by Julius Epstein, Robert Fuch's harmony class and the first year of the composition course taught by Franz Krenn. He was also permitted to enter the annual prize competitions for the piano and composition courses and on 23 June 1876 was awarded first prize in the piano competition for a performance of the first movement of a Piano Sonata in A minor by Schubert as was reported in Die Presse (29/173 (25 June 1876), 9):¹

Bei dem am 23. d. am Conservatorium abgehaltenen Concurse der Ausbildungschule für Clavier, erster Jahrgang, hat die Jury, bestehend aus den Herren Director Hellmesberger, dem Tonkünstler J.P. Gotthardt, den Directionsmitgliedern A. Koch v. Langentreu und Dr. A. Schmidt, dem Professor W. Schenner und dem Tonkünstler R. Willmers, zuerkannt und zwar: Den ersten Preis (einstimmig) den Herren: Simon Engel, Gustav Mahler.... Den zweiten Preis .... den Herren Gustav Geiringer und Ernst Ludwig.

At the competition for the first year of the finishing course in piano, held at the Conservatoire on 23 inst., the Jury, consisting of Director Hellmesberger, the musician J.P. Gotthardt, the members of the board of directors A. Koch v. Langentreu and Dr. A Schmidt, Professor W. Schenner and the musician R. Willmers, awarded the first prize unanimously to Mr Simon Engel, Mr Gustav Mahler .... [and] the second prize ... to Mr Gustav Geiringer and Mr Ernst Ludwig.

A week later, on 1 July, Mahler was awarded first prize for the first movement of a Quintet (Neue freie Presse, 4258 (3 July 1876, 5):²

Bei dem am 1. Juli am Conservatorium abgehalten Concurse der Ausbindungsschule für Composition hat die Jury, bestehend aus den Herren: Director Hellmesberger, Dr. v. Billing, Dr. v. Breuning, C. Gramman, Dr. Gehring, C. Pöck and W. Rauch, zuerkannt, und zwar rücksichjtlich des ersten Jahrganges den ersten Preis dem Herrn Gustav Mahler, den zweiten Preis dem Fräulein Katharina Haus....

At the competition for the first year of the finishing course in composition, held at the Conservatoire on 1 July, the Jury, consisting of Director Hellmesberger, Dr. v. Billing, Dr. v. Breuning, C. Gramman, Dr. Gehring, C. Pöck and W. Rauch, awarded the first prize for the first year of the course to Mr Gustav Mahler, the second prize to Miss Katherina Haus....

It is only in the Conservatoire report (BCGdM, 1876, 87) that the prize-winning submission is identified as the first movement of a quintet,³ though even there the exact scoring is not specified. That the work was not performed  at either of the final student concerts of the end of the academic year (on 12 and 15 July) was probably because Mahler had already returned to Iglau to take his end-of-year examination at the Gymnasium. 

Whether Mahler ever wrote more than one movement of this Quintet is unknown, and in July 1893 Mahler admitted to Bauer-Lechner that early in his career he rarely completed compositions (HLG1, 719–20):

It was not only because I was anxious to begin something new...but because, while still involved in the work, I had already outgrown it and was no longer content with it...but who could have known then that it wasn't [because of a] lack of creative urge, of strength or perseverance. 

However, there is strong evidence that it was in some way related to a Piano Quartet by Mahler, ostensibly scored for the unusual combination of piano, two violins and viola, performed at a concert organised by Mahler at the Hotel Czap in Iglau on 12 September 1876.

See also: Quartet for piano, 2 violins and viola (1876); Scherzo for Piano Quintet (1878).

Select Bibliography

  HLG1, 36-38; DM1, 35, 278–79; Martner2, 15–17.
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