A Cartoon of Mahler



Symphony No. 1

Annotated copyist's score – ACF2

Autograph revisions – AR1–2


US-NYp, Bruno Walter Collection, JOB 85-2


Fascicle structure


The numbers are assigned thus: I=1–22; II=34–46; III=47–78; IV= 79–97; V=98–158


The revised and corrected transcription offered here was provided by Reinhold Kubik, to whom I am most grateful.



It is probably because Strauss was to direct the early rehearsals that Mahler added relatively copious metronome markings to ACF2, although, curiously there are none for Blumine. (This, and the fact that the sheets containing Blumine have all, at some time, been folded vertically, raise the possibility that at some date Mahler considered omitting it from the Weimar performance.)



Although it was probably not one of the major factors in the decision to replace fol. 7, the use of type B paper for the new leaf had one advantage: the 24-stave paper allowed Weidig to start the movement with a page on which each instrument had its own stave(s) and which could also accommodate the multiple divisis of the string parts.










  [?Spring/Summer 1893; Blumine added by ?September 1893; rev. February-May 1894; rev. 1894–6]



Black and red ink, in the hand of Weidig; with numerous autograph revisions and corrections in black ink, grey ink (apparently in that order) , brown ink, blue crayon, pencil, red crayon and red ink. Rehearsal numbers are added in red crayon throughout.

The annotations on fol. 17v suggest that the annotation sequence was pencil, red crayon and red ink after grey ink; blue crayon after pencil. There are no brown ink annotations on the later version of the opening (see Notes below) suggesting that the relevant folios were added at a relatively early date.


  A 20 staves, no maker's mark, upright format, no watermark, 349 x 268 (r = 300), grey
  B 24 staves, no maker's mark, upright format, no watermark, 349 x 270 (r = 306), grey on brown

Manuscript structure and collation


115 fol. + paste-overs, arranged in large, irregular fascicles (see the links in the LH column for details of the fascicle structure).


In addition there are a further four associated autograph leaves (AR1, AR2) which appear to have been prepared by Mahler to clarify revisions to ACF2, though at what date is uncertain (see the Notes below for a discussion of these revisions).


AR1: a single folio (type B paper) containing revisions to be made to be made to bb.  1–53 of the string parts in the second version of the opening of the first movement (see below).


AR2: a single bifolio and single sheet (type B paper) (first and last leaves numbered '2' and '3' respectively). This is part (bb. 286ff) of what must have been a complete autograph short score showing the new fl 4, ob 4, cl 4 and hn 5–7 parts in the finale. Weidig had access to this short score when revising ACF2, but the text he copied does not wholly correspond to that surviving on these sheets: he  presumably used at least one other currently unlocated autograph source ([AR3]).


  Offered for sale in the J.A. Stargardt Catalogue of  23/24 November 1971, lot 719


  Complete colour facsimile

ACF2.2r: Stargardt Catalogue 23/24, 181

Select Bibliography

  SW1b (= source [K1]); DM2, 203f.; HLG1F, 972; Stargardt Catalogue 23/24 (November 1971), 180


  Original layer

Picc (=fl 3), fl 1–2, ob 1–3, cl in Ba symbol: a flat sign/C/A 1–3 (cl 1=cl in Ea symbol: a flat sign), bsn 1–3 (bsn 3=cbsn)

Hn in F 1–4, tpt 1–4 in F, trb 1–3, btuba

Pke, trg, cym, bd

Harp (‘womöglich doppelt besetzt’), strings


Final revision layer

Fl 1–4 (=picc), ob 1–4, cl in Ba symbol: a flat sign/C/A 1–4 (cl 3=bcl; cl 4=cl in Ea symbol: a flat sign), bsn 1–3 (bsn 3=cbsn)

Hn in F 1–7, tpt 1–4 in F, trb 1–3, btuba

Timp, tr, cym, bd

Harp (‘womöglich doppelt besetzt’), strings


See SMFS, 107–8 for a tabular summary of the gradual expansion of the instrumentation of the work in ACF1, AF2 and ACF2. The addition of the fourth flute, oboe and clarinet, and horns 5-7 are made in late revisions to the latter score: see below for an overview of how these changes to the instrumentation were effected.



The manuscript is bound into crude card boards (no paper covering, end papers or flyleaf) at an early stage in its history as the front cover (outside and inside) have faint pencil annotations in the composer's hand (which it has not proved possible to decipher and which are scarcely visible on the otherwise excellent online facsimile), and rather more legible autograph notes in ink. The two stitched gatherings on which the first movement is written, though once also stitched to the boards, are now not attached to them, and when first viewed in 1989 were placed as shown in the description of the fascicle structure given here.

This manuscript was prepared in 1893 largely from AF2 – probably in two stages – in preparation for the Hamburg première of the Symphony in October 1893. Blumine was not included in the initial copying, and was presumably added soon after 16 August, the date on which the revisions to the movement were completed in AF2. The manuscript of that movement shows a vertical fold; this may reflect the composer's continuing doubts about the inclusion of the movement, and in any case the pages (like the redundant pages at the start of the first movement – see below) may well have been folded out of the way at the time of the preparation of ACF3.

The rehearsal numbers, a single sequence throughout the work, were added after the inclusion of Blumine, but before the layers of revision that post-dated the 1893 performance. Their placing does not follow that of ACF1 but is that adopted in the later scores; however, at some point (probably after Blumine was definitively dropped) the single continuous sequence of numbers (1-158)[1] was replaced (except for 129, which has no has no equivalent at b. 362 of the finale) by separate sequences for each movement (see the notes on [CO1/CO2] for a discussion of the significance of the repositioning of the numbers).

Nine pages of the original copying layer in the finale (pp. 53–9, fol. 103r–106r, bb. 502–89) have been replaced, a passage revised in AF2  (presumably) after ACF2 had been prepared, and which therefore had to be transferred to the copyist's manuscript. This could have occurred before the October 1893 performance, but if not then (and assuming the narrative of events surrounding the third performance of the work offered below is correct) this revision to AF2 must have been completed and incorporated into ACF2 by January 1894 at the latest, since after that date AF2 was in Weimar for peer review.

At the end of January 1894 Strauss – who may have have played through the work with Hermann Levi in Munich in the late summer of 1888  – wrote to Mahler (in a letter that apparently does not survive) to tell him that he had asked Hans von Bronsart (Intendant of the Hoftheater in Weimar and the President of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Musikverein) to  consider Mahler's Symphony for inclusion in the thirtieth festival of the  ADM in June of that year (GMRSB,  23–4; GMRSBE, 27; for a first hand account of Mahler's hopes for the reception of the work, see JBFDP, 409f.). On receiving Strauss's letter Mahler immediately sent Bronsart a score for appraisal  (2 February, see IKRS, 92): it is unlikely to have been [AF1] or ACF1 as both had been radically superseded. Equally, Mahler would have wished to retain what was then the current working score (ACF2), so it must have been AF2 that was sent to Weimar  (see below for confirmation of this supposition) – at this stage, the fact that it had no rehearsal numbers would not have posed a problem.

The score was sent to Felix Draeseke, who completed his report on the work on 12 March (IKRS, 91):[2]

Gustav Mahler. Titan Symphonie


Vielleicht die interessantes der Einsendungen, keineswegs aber ein ausgezeichnetes, den Stempel der Vollendung verratendes Werk. Die Themen habe frische, weisen aber mehr auf Opern- als Symphonie- Styl hin. Der Componist ist bemüht gewesen, symphonisch zu gestalten, lebt aber mit dem Contrapunct einigermaßen auf dem Kriegsfusse. Manche der Combinationen und Imitationen treten sich gegenseitig derb auf die Füsse, an Härten fehlt es nicht und bei einigen, mir zu gewagt, fast unmöglich erscheinenden Stellen bin ich geneigt Irrtümer in der Notirung anzunehmen. Der erste Teil, in der Erfindung mässig, verliert etwas in weiterm, sehr ausgedehnten Verlaufe. Das Intermezzo trotz schlechten Contrapunctes und der für Trompete /?/ gesetzte Melodie, is recht hübsch. Das Scherzo bei ziemlich gewöhnlichen Gedanken, gewinnt im Verlauf durch symphonische Ausgestaltung, dagegen ist das Trio waltzerartig leierig. Der Trauermarsch ist entschieden eigenartig und kann auch eine solche Wirkung erzeugen, doch stört am Schluss eine recht rohe Zusammenfügung (Più mosso.) – Dal inferno ist ein wild leidenschaftliches, allerdings etwas monotones, aber interessantes Stück, das nur leider recht wüst wird. Der plötzliche Uebergang in's D dur des Anfanges wirkt auch ziemlich absichtlich. – Ein interessantes Wagnis möchte man das Ganze betiteln.

Felix Draeseke

12 März 94.

Gustav Mahler. Titan Symphony


Perhaps the most interesting of the submissions, but by no means a distinguished work bearing the stamp of perfection. The themes have freshness, but allude more to operatic than symphonic style; the composer strives to structure symphonically, but to some extent lives on a war footing in relation to counterpoint. Many of  the combinations and imitations tread heavily on the toes, crudeness is not absent, and some, to me overly daring, apparently almost impossible passages I am inclined to to accept as errors in notation. The first part, moderate in its invention, declines somewhat into broad, very extended developments. Despite bad counterpoint and a melody scored for trumpet (!) the intermezzo is very pretty. The scherzo, with fairly commonplace ideas, succeeds overall through symphonic development; in contrast the Trio is a banal waltz. The funeral march is certainly peculiar and can evoke a similar response, disturbed at the end by a truly crude combination (Più mosso.) –   The Inferno is a ferocious, passionate though somewhat monotonous  but interesting piece, which unfortunately becomes rather confused. The abrupt modulation to the D major of the opening also has a rather willful effect. – One might describe the whole as an interesting speculation.

Felix Draeseke

12 March 1894


Later in the month Eduard Lassen – who was to conduct most of the concert at which the Symphony was heard – also recommended the work for performance  (IKRS, 91).

By 22 April Mahler had received notification of the favourable reports on the Symphony and the possibility of a performance from von Bronsart, and replied to indicate that the parts were ready (having been played from) and that he would be happy to conduct the work; in a follow-up letter (24 April) he also reported that the work lasted 48 minutes (IKRS, 93). It was not until early May that Mahler received final confirmation that the work was to be performed, and in his response on 5 May 1894 he made a request about the placing of the work in the programme (IKRS, 94):

Wenn es nicht unbescheiden ist, einen Wunsch zu äußern, so wäre es der, die Symphonie, welche große Ansprüchen die Empfänglichkeit des Hörers stellt, möglichst an den Anfang, oder wenigstens in die Mitte des Programms zu stellen.

If it is not presumptuous to express a wish, it would be that the Symphony, which places great demands on the receptiveness of listeners, be placed preferably at the the beginning or at least in the middle of the programme.

This suggestion was ignored: the Symphony was the penultimate item in a very long concert.

On 15 May Mahler was preparing to send the orchestral material to Strauss (who was to conduct the preliminary rehearsals [3]) (GMRSB, 36; GMRSBE, 35):

Ich sende Ihnen morgen bereits das Stimmen-material. - Zu diesem bringe ich selbst je 2 von jeder Gattung der Streicher mit, welche jetzt hier ausgeschrieben werden; für die Vorbereitung in Weimar dürften ja 6 I Geigen, S II Geigen, 4 Violen, 4 Celli u. 4 Bäße genügen. - Nun noch eines: das Manuscript, das Sie in Händen deckt sich nicht mehr im Einzelnen mit dem übersandten Material. Dieses ist nach dem 2. Exemplar in meinen Händen ziemlich retouchirt, wobei ich mir eben die Erfahrungen der hiesigen Aufführung zu Nutzen gemacht habe. - Es ist im Ganzen Alles schlanker und durchsichtiger geworden. - Genügt Ihnen zum Zwecke der Vorbereitung die unretouchirte Originalpartitur? Oder soll ich Ihnen zu diesem Zwecke doch sofort mein Exemplar einsenden? Ich hätte dieß ohnehin sofort gethan, wenn ich nicht so ängstlich wäre, damit das Werk ganz aus meinen Händen und auf der Post herumzukutschiren zu wissen....

Eine Bitte hätte ich immerhin: Nehmen Sie Bläser und Streicher jede [?] für sich vor; ich war auch hier dazu gezwungen...

Bemerken will ich noch, daß das Material ganz fehlerlos ist, und bei jedem Zweifel demselben vor der Original-partitur der Vorrang gegeben muß. –

Die Instrumentation der Einleitung ist in den Streichern ganz geändert und befindet sich das Schema dazu in der Mappe der Noten, die ich einsende.

I shall send you the parts tomorrow.- In addition I shall bring two copies of each of the string parts, which are at present being written out here; for the rehearsals in Weimar six 1st violins, five 2nd violins, four violas, four cellos and four double basses should be enough. -One other thing: the manuscript in your hands no longer coincides in detail with the material I am sending. This has been considerably retouched to match the second copy which I now have, as I have taken advantage of the experience of the performance here. – Altogether, everything is more slender and transparent. – Will the original, unrevised score be sufficient for your preparations? Or should I send you my copy at once? I should have done this immediately in any case, were I not so afraid to think of the work entirely out of my hands and journeying about at the mercy of the post....

I do have one request: please rehearse the wind and strings separately; I was forced to to so here as well....

I would also mention that the [orchestral] material is entirely free of errors, and in case of doubt should be given precedence over the original score.

The instrumentation of the Introduction has been entirely changed in the string parts, and the outline of this is in the folder of music I am sending you.

This crucial letter is not only very revealing about Mahler's creative priorities in undertaking his most recent revisions, but it does provide important clues about the chronology of the process. The 'second copy' with Mahler in Hamburg (ACF2) had been revised and the performing material 'retouched' to reflect these changes, thus rendering the score in Strauss's hands obsolete: the implication that prior to the most recent alterations the two scores were broadly the same confirms the identification of AF2 as the Weimar score.

The fact that the parts ([CO1/CO2]) which were 'fix und fertig' in late April were subsequently retouched, offers strong evidence that, with the possibility of a high-profile performance in the summer confirmed in April, Mahler had taken the opportunity to refine the work, revising ACF2 and collating this score with the performing material. In the case of the opening of the first movement the process, by which Mahler first arrived at and later refined the striking utilization of string harmonics, was complex and as a result the first fascicle of ACF2 preserves two versions of the passage, both of which include layers of revisions (fol. 2r–6v; 7r ff.).

That Mahler should revise this gathering is hardly surprising, but the way in which Weidig incorporated the revision is unusual and may indicate that he was working within a tight schedule. A few other features of this fascicle also require explication. One is that the scoring of the pedal A copied by Weidig onto fol. 7r ff. is not identical to the revised text on fol. 2r ff., indicating that there was one further revision stage, presumably on a document not currently traced; the other is the fact that fol. 7 is a single sheet of type B paper, tipped onto fol. 12. The following is an attempt at a reconstruction of the processes that may have led to these curious features.



Sometime in the spring/summer of 1893 Weidig copied a new score from AF2, to be used as the conducting score at the work's second performance, in Hamburg in October of that year.


Mahler made initial revisions to the scoring of the opening: the date is uncertain but the most likely scenarios would be that they were made either in connection with the rehearsals for the October 1893 performance, or soon after he first became aware of the possibility of a performance at Weimer in 1894. These revisions were not substantial and they were mainly effected by erasures of some of the original copying layer of ACF2.


Mahler undertook a second revision of the passage, not in AFC2, but in a manuscript that has not come to light. The format of this document is uncertain, but it may have been similar to the partial scores Mahler prepared in 1894-5 to clarify revisions to the string and wind parts (AR1, AR2). That Mahler prepared a document just recording the new revisions to the string parts at the opening of the first movement is confirmed by his letter of 15 May to Strauss quoted above. The date of these later revisions is unknown, but see d) below.


The second-stage revisions to the strings parts were substantial, involving complex divisi writing that could not be easily incorporated by revisions to the existing pages (e.g. with paste-overs). Rather than recopy the whole of the first fascicle, or undertake a messy scissors-and-paste revision (removing fol. 2-6 of the original copy, and tipping freshly copied replacement leaves onto the stubs left behind) Weidig opted for a solution that was probably intended to save time: he simply copied the new version of the first 79 bars onto a gathering of three bifolios, and inserted this into the centre of the existing first fascicle of the manuscript. The redundant leaves at the start of the fascicle could simply be ignored (or folded away, as the vertical creases on fol. 2-6 show was clearly the case). If correct, this proposed rationale behind Weidig's strategy would suggest that the second stage of revisions to the opening was made relatively late in the preparation of the score and parts that were sent to Strauss in mid May 1894. Weidig also repaginated the copy from from fol. 13r onwards (because the introduction now occupied 12 pages instead of 10), by scratching out the unwanted number(s) and renumbering in pencil.


Providing a plausible and specific explanation for the replacement of the first leaf of the new gathering with a leaf of type B paper (fol. 7) is more challenging. Since only one leaf was replaced it seems probable that whatever factors motivated the replacement, they became an issue only after the whole of the new gathering (and in particular the replaced leaf's conjugate, fol. 12) had been copied: before that, the quicker solution would have been to simply replace the relevant bifolio (fol. 7 /12). It is also worth noting that it was probably the text on both sides of folio 7 that required replacement, since a single paste-over on the offending page would otherwise have fixed the problem. The issue may have been a copying error, but more likely the presence of this replacement leaf reflects yet another revision to the scoring of the very opening of the Symphony.[4] Since nothing is known of Weidig's paper stock, the use of type B paper offers no clue as to the dating of the substitution: it could have been added at any date between April-May 1894 and the point at which ACF2 was replaced by ACF3.

As far as Mahler's expansion of the compliment of wind and brass instruments (from triple to quadruple flutes, oboes and clarinets and from four horns to seven) is concerned it is worth noting firstly that Blumine was not modified at all; and secondly that the revision processes used in the other movements differed. In the first third and fourth movements it was Mahler who made the changes, through verbal instruction, changes within existing staves or on spare staves at the top and or bottom of a page. Some are relatively neat, but many appear to have been written quickly. In the finale, however, the necessary changes are effected for the most part by Weidig. He was evidently working from autographs that outlined the new parts (AR2 and [AR3]; see above) and the revisions, in red ink, were effected with a thoroughly professional concern for clarity and unambiguousness, by verbal instructions, changes within used staves, additions on unused staves, on hand-drawn staves above and/or below the system or on fold-out paste-ons (fol. 87r). Mahler's relatively infrequent additions are not directly concerned with the expansion of the number of wind parts, but rather with other changes in scoring (often neatly done, as on fol. 88v), or performance instructions and some might well reflect alterations made in rehearsal. The result is a score that could be have been used for rehearsal and performance without great difficulty. This difference in revision process suggests that Mahler may have initially planned for the additional instruments to be used only in the finale and that it was only at a later date that he decided to deploy them in the earlier movements. At present there appears to be no conclusive evidence of the date at which any of these changes were made. They may have evolved  as Mahler reviewed the work in advance of Weidig's preparation of ACF3, but if so, why did Weidig and Mahler spend so much time preparing a neat revision of the finale - hardly necessary if Weidig was about to recopy the whole work. But if the revisions date from the run-up to either the Hamburg (1893) or Weimar (1894) performance, why produce a very usable version of the finale, and a much less practical revision of the earlier movements? One explanation would be that at the time of the either or both of these performances Mahler did indeed employ the full orchestra only in the finale, and that it was only after 1894, when preparing the 1896, four-movement version, that he expanded the scoring of the rest of the work.

If, as seems more probable than not, the final enlargement of the instrumentation was decided between early autumn 1893 and May 1894, one might have expected Mahler to alert Strauss and the ADM that the work needed more wind instruments than specified in the score they had to hand - particularly since he did indicate that he would like more strings than they were planning to provide (see GMRSB, 36; GMRSBE, 35) - but no evidence has come to light that he did so. However, in the midst of the revisions he was making in the spring of 1894, Mahler seems to have forgotten that the only score to which Strauss had access - AF2  - differed from the new, revised manuscript score and orchestral parts, and that, apart from everything else, it lacked rehearsal numbers: there is something curiously unprofessional in Mahler's asking whether his colleague needs a score that matched the parts in order to be able to rehearse the work. That Mahler expected more than a token run-through or two, is shown by his advice that Strauss undertake sectional rehearsals for wind and strings and one can all-to-easily imagine the frustrating and time-wasting confusion that would have resulted from a set of performing materials that did not match the conductor's score. Strauss's prompt reply has not survived, but he clearly took the eminently pragmatic line that he needed a score that did match the parts, and on 17 May Mahler duly agreed to send ACF2 to Strauss the following day. (GMRSB, 36; GMRSBE, 36; there seems to have been a slight glitch in this process: see Mahler's [undated?] letter to Eugen Lindner quoted in HLG1, 888 fn. 78).

At some stage Mahler may have expected (or at least, hoped) that this score would be the Stichvorlage for a printed edition, as there is more than one Anmerkung für den Setzer (e.g. on fol. 18v); in the event the progress towards publication was rather convoluted and protracted, and two further manuscript copies would be produced (and revised) first (ACF3, ACF4).

The fact that that there are only revisions in black, grey and brown ink (and one pencil annotation) in the second movement, suggest that the revisions using other writing materials may date from a final stage of revisions made after the 1894 performance and/or in preparation for the production of a new four-movement manuscript copy (i.e. ACF3); this possibility is lent some support by the fact that as it now survives ACF2 would be unsuitable for use as a practical conducting score. Sadly, the non-availability of ACF3 makes the identification of the final textual layer in ACF2 difficult (if not impossible) to ascertain with any degree of certainty.

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© 2007 Paul Banks | This page was lasted edited on 17 April 2018