Lot 88
  • 88

Mahler, Gustav

60,000 - 80,000 GBP
68,750 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Mahler, Gustav
  • Autograph working manuscript of part of Symphony no.4, a hitherto unknown leaf from the composition draft, 1899
  • paper
being "folio 4", from the first movement, the short score notated in black ink on four systems of four or five staves each, with additions in pencil, some heavy deletions, comprising thirty bars of music (equivalent to bars 154 to 183, starting one bar before figure 12 in the final version), the music essentially complete, without any instrumental designations or dynamics

1 page, oblong folio (26.5 x 34.3cm), numbered by the composer in blue crayon ("4", previously "3"), 24-stave paper (J.E. & Co. no.14), watermarked ("J.E. & Co. / Wien"), signed and inscribed on the verso by the composer's widow ("Skizzenblatt aus der IV Symphonie, Alma Maria Mahler"), [Vienna, late July 1899], some holes in the lowest system slightly affecting the text in the first bar


Alma Maria Mahler (1879-1964), the composer's widow; her inscription to verso.

Catalogue Note

HITHERTO UNRECORDED: this manuscript has not been seen by scholars and is not described in the literature.  

This draft contains part of the development of the first movement with key signatures of E-flat minor [Figure 12] and F minor [Figure 13], although the tonality of this passages is rather fluid.  Up to this point Mahler has mostly explored the relative keys around G major, but here his modulations are more far-reaching.  The music is continuous throughout the whole page.  Mahler writes on four-stave (occasionally five-stave) systems, of which three staves are notated almost throughout, although three bars (bars 7, 11 & 12) are represented by a single line on one stave alone.   

Mahler's composing manuscript for the first movement covers eleven sheets like this, of which the first is also unrecorded.  The remaining leaves are dispersed in Stanford, Geneva-Cologny, Munich, Chicago, Vienna and a private collection. There were also some rejected leaves that were replaced by the composer.  Sotheby's sold one such rejected leaf ("folio 9") in New York on 25 November 1997, lot 113, a draft of the last  54 bars.  A nineteen-bar replacement for it ("Einlage 10") was sold at Stargardt, 27 November, 1985, lot 823, and is now in the Austrian National Library.  Those two leaves apart, autograph music for the Fourth Symphony is rarely offered for sale at auction.

Sotheby's is happy to acknowledge the advice of Professor Paul Banks in our catalogue description of this lot.