Two new publications on
Gustav Mahler's Unfinished Tenth Symphony


© Aart van der Wal, November 2017


The Dutch music publisher Donemus recently released two interesting books on the subject made by Frans Bouwman: a scholarly transcription of all its manuscript pages as well as a new two piano arrangement.

Chronological Transcriptions of the Sketches, Short Scores and Orchestral Drafts
Seven fully-fledged performing versions of Gustav Mahler's last unfinished Tenth symphony have now been published, of all which have been commercially recorded at least once. These efforts, together with recent books and articles on the subject, indicate an unabated interest in Mahler X.

A fundamental question remains: how much of the music in any performing version is authentically Mahler's? Until now this question could not be answered, because a complete, scholarly, chronologically ordered, annotated and user-friendly transcription of the source material, which unequivocally records the extent to which Mahler completed his Tenth Symphony, was not available. Such a reference text is now finally presented here. It endeavours to provide an insight into the chronology of Mahler's notation, to help to clarify the development of Mahler's own ideas and thus provide a scholarly grounding upon which future editors may base their editorial decisions. The transcription, presented in the Donemus publication for the first time in its entirety, eschews any additions that did not originate from Mahler himself. It is intended as an easily accessible and comprehensible reference work for the music scholar, aspiring conductor or Mahler devotee.

To assess both the quantity and quality of the surviving material requires the examination of autograph materials dispersed among five different libraries as well as familiarity with five distinct facsimile editions. The availability of three electronic libraries facilitated easy access to the material. However thorough understanding of the sketches and drafts, particularly as regards their interrelationship, can be attained only after extensive study. The present transcription enables the reader to consult on one single page and with utmost clarity all of the existing material pertaining to any given bar of the Tenth Symphony.

The present edition consists of three volumes:
Volume 1 presents chronological transcriptions of the orchestral drafts;
Volume 2 contains the earlier stages of composition, as well as chronological graphs;
Volume 3 presents tables with descriptions of the manuscript pages, a detailed commentary about discrepancies among the various sources.

Evaluation and comparison of all surviving manuscripts has made a chronological compilation of them possible. In Volume 1 of this edition, the layout of the latest orchestral drafts is diplomatically reproduced. Aligned above this latest and most developed stage of composition are the corresponding preliminary drafts, sketches and inserts. The various stages of development in any given bar can be seen at a glance. Typically, manuscript materials from any given stage exhibit continuity from one page to the next. The abbreviations used in the score are in German: Pc = Particell or short score, PrePc = the preliminary short score, and PE = Partiturentwurf.

The purpose of this edition is to present Mahler's notation without any editorial bias. The symphony was composed at great speed - the entire body of the manuscript was probably amassed in less than seven weeks - and in the process of moving from preliminary sketches to increasingly elaborate drafts, Mahler was not always precise, relying on experience to clarify some passages at a later stage (which would occasionally entail the crafting of necessary and appropriate counterpoint). Although one would expect such a later stage to be more detailed and complete than an earlier one, in some cases the previous layer contains details that do not appear in the more advanced stage; and, especially in the Adagio (for which there are many more sketches than any of the other movements) there are occasional mistakes in transcribing earlier sketches. The most frequent difficulties in deciphering the manuscripts concern the legibility of the written pitches. Generally there are two specific problems to note: one is a clearly legible note that is apparently wrong and the other an ambiguously legible note that could be either right or wrong. Transcribing the legible notes that sound correct is comparatively easy. Slightly more dubious are notes that are apparently wrong. One's first impulse is to correct such ostensible errors. Nevertheless, this edition does not eliminate seemingly obvious mistakes: it accurately presents what is evident in the manuscript and problematic places are discussed in the 'detailed commentary'. There is a good reason for adopting this method, as in the past, undocumented 'corrections' by one editor have been subsequently rejected by another. Accordingly, the present edition eschews such editorial alterations. In Mahler's handwriting it is sometimes impossible to distinguish between a semibreve (whole note) and a minim (half note) that is missing its stem. In such cases the editor has notated a minim lacking the stem.

Frans Bouwman also presents the history of this unfinished work:

1910: Composition between approximately July 7 and September 3.

1911: Mahler dies in Vienna on May 18

1922: Alma Mahler asks her future son-in-law, Ernst Krenek, to make the entire Tenth performable.

1923: Krenek agrees only to make a fair copy of the first and third movements, which he finishes by late October.

1924: Franz Schalk examines Krenek's fair copy and finds it problematic. Without consulting Krenek, Alma Mahler asks Berg to compare Krenek's score to the autograph. Berg's extensive critique, completed at the end of February, is largely ignored. October 12: Premiere of Adagio and 'Purgatorio' movements, Vienna State Opera, Franz Schalk conducting, shortly preceded by publication of ZF. November-22 - December 22: Willem Mengelberg conducts five performances of the 'Purgatorio' and Adagio (in that order) in Amsterdam. Shortly later Alexander von Zemlinsky performs the Adagio in Prague.

1942: The American Mahler enthusiast Jack Diether tries unsuccessfully to persuade Dimitri Shostakovich to complete the Tenth.

1949: Alma Mahler and Jack Diether ask Arnold Schoenberg to complete the Tenth. He, too, declines. Clinton Carpenter begins the first of his six orchestral adaptations of the Tenth.

1951: First publication of the Adagio and 'Purgatorio' movements, ed. Otto Jokl (New York: Associated Music Publishers). Barshai plays a record of the Adagio for Shostakovich, who transcribes its beginning. Pietro Scarpini makes a two piano arrangement of movements 2 - 5, which he plays for the Italian radio after an orchestral performance of the Adagio.

1953: Joe Wheeler begins the first of his four performing versions.

1956: Hans Wollschläger begins a version of the Tenth, which he withdraws after hearing the Cooke version.

1959: Deryck Cooke commences work on the Tenth Symphony.

1960: Mahler centennial. December 19: Cooke presents a BBC radio talk and partial performance of his version, conducted by Berthold Goldschmidt. Alma Mahler bans further performances of Cooke's score, on the advice of Bruno Walter.

1963: Shortly before her death in 1964, having finally heard a tape of Cooke's performing version, Alma Mahler rescinds her ban on May 8.

1964: August 13: first complete performance of Cooke's version conducted by Berthold Goldschmidt. Erwin Ratz, who opposes performance of the complete symphony, issues an edition of the Adagio only in the Kritische Gesamtausgabe (Vienna: Universal Edition).

1966: Publication of both the Carpenter and Wheeler editions by Schirmer/Associated Music Publishers.

1976: Printed edition of the performing version by Cooke et al. (revised 1989), published by AMP/Faber.

1986: Mahler X. Symposium, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Performances of the editions by Carpenter, Cooke and Mazzetti (first three movements only), plus an arrangement for two pianos by Frans Bouwman, performed by Katy Satur and Frans Bouwman.

1989: Premiere of the complete Mazzetti version by the Dutch radio orchestra under Geatano Delogu.

2000: Premiere of the edition by Rudolf Barshai, performed by 'Die Junge Deutsche Philharmonie' under Barshai.

2001: Premiere of the edition by Nicola Samale and Giuseppe Mazzuca, played by the Wiener Symphoniker under Martin Sieghart.

2010: Premiere of the edition by Yoel Gamzou, played by the International Mahler Orchestra under Gamzou.

The performing versions (of the five moments) are:

0. Gustav Mahler, [Symphonie No. 10], Hans Wollschläger ed., Bamberg, 1957-58. Withdrawn.

1. Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 10, Joseph H. Wheeler ed., New York, AMP/ Schirmer, 1978. Earlier versions date from 1948, 1953 and 1965. In 1997 posthumously emended by Robert Olson, Remo Mazzetti and Frans Bouwman.

2. Gustav Mahler, X. Symphony, Clinton Carpenter ed., Chicago, New York, AMP/Schirmer, 1966. Earlier versions 1946-1964. Errata list made in 1982.

3. Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 10 in F sharp: Performing Version of the Comprehensive Full-length Sketch, Deryck Cooke ed., London, Schott, 1960; A Performing version of the draft for the Tenth Symphony, prepared by Deryck Cooke in collaboration with Berthold Goldschmidt, Colin Matthews and David Matthews, London, Faber & Faber, New York AMP. 1976. Second edition with slight improvements published in 1989. An updated third edition is being considered.

4. Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 10 completed by Remo Mazzetti Jr. ed. New York, AMP/Schirmer/MacMillan, 1985, corrected 5/2000.

5. Gustav Mahler, Symphonie Nr. 10 Rekonstruktion und Orchestrierung nach Mahlers Entwurf von Rudolf Barshai ed., Vienna, Universal 2001.

6. Gustav Mahler, Sinfonia n. 10 in Fa# Magg. Recostruzione di Nicola H. Samale e Giuseppe Mazzucca, 2001.

7. Gustav Mahler, Symphonie Nr. 10 Realisation und Weiterentwicklung der unvollendeten Skizzen. Konzertfassung von Yoel H. Gamzou ed. 2003-2010, revised 2011, Mainz, Schott-Verlag.

Feedback on the transcriptions is appreciated, comments can be sent to

An arrangement for two pianos
In November 1986, Bouwman participated in the Utrecht Mahler Ten symposium. As it became clear that only the first three movements of the Mazzetti version would be ready to be performed, Bouwman decided to adapt his existing two piano arrangement, based on Cooke et alius, to an arrangement based on Mazzetti's performing version. This was performed at the beginning of the symposium by Bouwman and his wife Katy Satur. Being intrigued by Mahler at a young age, Frans Bouwman saw the Zsolnay facsimile of the Tenth Symphony at the The Hague municipal library. In 1976 he transcribed the symphony from this Zsolnay facsimile. In 1975 the Residentie Orkest, conducted by Jean Martinon, had premiered the Cooke performing version of the Symphony, in The Hague. The Cooke score had not yet been published, but Martinon was so kind to lend Bouwman his score, thus enabling him to make corrections in his piano arrangement. From that Bouwman created an arrangement of the Cooke score for two pianos. As a spin-off of this transcription, Bouwman took his two piano arrangements from 1985 and 1986 and with the expertise acquired, he transformed these into the present one in 2016.
Bouwman: "The tradition of writing piano reductions was well established during Mahler's lifetime. All of his symphonies have been arranged for piano, mostly one piano four-hands, but one can also find arrangements for one piano two-hands, and two pianos four, or even eight hands. Mahler was a great composer first and a great orchestrator second. That is why, in my opinion, it is also on the piano that Mahler symphonies have an impact. I chose to use two pianos to avoid crossing voices. A large part of the music can be played by one person on one piano, but at climaxes or passages with more complex textures, the pianist had to choose what to leave off. With two pianos, not one note has to be left out."

Bouwman drew up a concise survey of the piano reductions for Mahler's Tenth:

• The Adagio was partially transcribed by Alban Berg (1924), Eduard Reeser (1931), Dimitri Shostacovitch (1951), Henri Louis de La Grange (1951) and David Matthews (1961). Erwin Ratz felt compelled to publish a four hand reduction of the Adagio (1973).

• In 1935 Friedrich Block wrote a four hand reduction of movements 2, 4, 5.

• In 1946 Clinton Carpenter wrote a two and four-hand piano reduction of the whole piece.

• In 1951 Pietro Scarpini made a two-piano reduction of movements 2-5. He played this solo, presumably with the help of a tape recorder, on the Italian radio after an orchestral performance of the Adagio. He wrote a 'prima stesura' and a 'stesura definitiva' but neither one is truly complete.

• Also in 1951 the two-hand arrangement of the Cooke et al. Score by Ronald Stevenson and Christopher White (2008), recorded by White, is the first complete two-hands arrangement.

• In 1984 Frans Bouwman finished a two piano arrangement based on Cooke et al. (unpublished).

• In 1986 Frans Bouwman wrote a two piano arrangement based on Mazzetti (unpublished).

• In 2008 Ronald Stevenson arranged the Adagio for two hands, and Christopher White arranged for two hands the movements 2-5.

• In 2016 Frans Bouwman wrote a two piano arrangement based on Cooke et al. with an odd bar from other editors. Published in 2017 by Donemus.

• In 2017 Frans Bouwman is preparing a one piano two hands arrangement reduced from his 2016 two piano arrangement.

In sharp contrast to the transcription that exclusively contains notes by Mahler, Bouwman made an arrangement in 2016 that is not only based on Mahler but also includes input from other editors, as well as from himself. The majority of the information used for completing missing harmonies and counterpoint, phrasing and tempo indications were inspired by the Cooke score, some by Cooke's cooperator Berthold Goldschmidt. One odd bar was taken from the versions by Rudolf Barshai, Remo Mazzetti or Yoel Gamzou, or was influenced by the counterpoint of the four hands version by Frederick Block. For the Purgatorio Bouwman used some of Mengelberg's counterpoint. The octave doublings, tremolos and metronome numbers are Bouwman's. Tremolos are to be executed with caution as not to be an irritation rather than an improvement. Tempo indications written in the normal script are Mahler's, those within brackets are also Mahler's but from earlier sketches. The tempo indications in italics are mostly Cooke's. To keep the score readable no distinction was made between what is Mahler's and what is not. Please consult the above mentioned transcriptions of Mahler's facsimile in the case of doubt.

Both the scholarly transcriptions as well as the two piano arrangement has been published by Donemus, © 2017 (Stichting Donemus Beheer, Rijswijk).

Feedback on the two piano arrangement is appreciated, comments can be sent to

Further reference (in Dutch only):
Mahler: Symfonie nr. 10
Mahler in Toblach