Recently, there has been something of a surge in the level of classical music memorabilia being put up for auction. Whether it is a signed Verdi extract, sheet music by child prodigy Mozart found in a charity shop, or now an annotated copy of Mahler’s Third Symphony, demand far exceeds supply.
The latest piece is set to be auctioned at Sotherby’s later today, with the score, which was unearthed in a private collection, estimated to fetch between £100,000 and £150,000.
Coming to the market for the first time, the manuscript, published in 1902 by Weinberger of Vienna shortly after the first complete performance, contains Mahler’s extensive alterations and markings that the Austrian composer made after he conducted the first performances of the symphony.
Worldwide head of books and manuscripts at Sotheby’s, Stephen Roe, described the score as “a magnificent new source for Mahler’s Third”.
“It is a spectacular and beautiful score revealing the passion of Mahler’s creation and the exuberance of his musical thinking,” he added.
The amendments themselves have been made directly onto the staves and in the margins and appear on over 60 per cent of the score’s pages, the auction house noted. Sotherby’s added that the revisions constitute the composer’s entire reworking of the symphony’s orchestration.
For example, one passage of 20 bars sees “Mahler transform the pages with new parts for oboes and clarinets in red ink, subsequently deleting these new parts in blue crayon with others for trumpets and timpani in red ink and blue crayon, then deleting entire staves for percussion in brown crayon”.
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