The Sources for the IGMG Edition of
Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony
with Mahler’s Retuschen

Gustav Mahler conducted Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on ten occasions:

Prague21 Feb 1886
Hamburg11 Mar 1895
Prague4 Jun 1899
Vienna18 Feb 1900
 22 Feb 1900
 27 Jan 1901
Strassburg22 May 1905
New York6 Apr 1909
 1 Apr 1910
 2 Apr 1910

For the last seven of these performances Mahler prepared and use his own score and orchestral parts. Dr. David Pickett has transcribed and edited these materials. The edition is shortly to be published by the International Gustav Mahler Society (IGMG) and Josef Weinberger Ltd. in collaboration with Universal Edition A.G. The sources that were consulted for this edition are listed and described briefly below. More detailed discussion will be found in the Preface and Editor’s Report included in the score.

Mahler’s Hamburg Score, P.39

The first of these performances for which we have definite evidence of Mahler’s changes to Beethoven's instrumentation is the one that took place in Hamburg. The score that Mahler prepared for this performance still exists. I refer to it in the IGMG edition as P.39, but it is also known as “the 1895 score”. It is not easy to decipher, and no set of orchestral parts has been found that matches it.

Mahler uses the E-flat clarinet extensively in P.39, even employing two of them at one point in the first movement; and at the beginning of the Alla Marcia section of the Finale we find the instructions for the use of an offstage band. Other selected features of this score are described in the Editor’s Report of the edition. While of great interest, for various reasons P.39 should not be regarded as anything more than Mahler’s interim solution to the problems he perceived in the instrumentation of the symphony. Mahler abandoned the offstage band after a single performance as an unsuccessful experiment, and it is clear that the small number of additional instruments available to him in Hamburg caused him to make compromises that he later rejected. Apart from the E-flat clarinets, one of these is the frequent use of the trumpets to rectify balance problems.

We have no definite information about the score and orchestral parts that Mahler used in Prague in 1899, though it is reasonable to infer that he made some changes to the instrumentation.

Mahler’s Viennese Score and Orchestral Parts, P.40 and P.41

Mahler marked up a new score, P.40, of the Ninth Symphony for his first Viennese performance; and a set of orchestral parts, P.41, was prepared for him by professional copyists. He used these materials for all his subsequent performances, making further changes as he went along and sometimes writing these into the parts himself. One can see clearly the hand of his New York copyist, the librarian of the New York Philharmonic in both score and parts. In addition to selectively doubled woodwind parts, Mahler requires eight horns, four trumpets, and occasionally a tuba and second timpanist.

Mahler's addition to the 7th Horn Part from P.41, courtesy Universal Edition.
Mahler’s autograph addition to his 7th Horn part. Reproduced by courtesy of Universal Edition.

The IGMG Edition

The IGMG edition is the first to take into account Mahler’s set of parts, P.41. Naturally, occasional discrepancies between score and parts had perforce to be resolved, and these are discussed in the Editor’s Report. The IGMG edition is based solely on P.40 and P.41, with no additions from P.39. The edition is published by Josef Weinberger Ltd in association with Universal Edition.

Other Sources

Other scores exist of Mahler’s Viennese and New York Retuschen in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. They are listed briefly here and described more fully in the Editor’s Report.

P.40-K.1 (the Viennese copy) and P.40-K.2 (the Wellesz Score)

The composer Egon Wellesz had a friend who made a copy of Mahler’s score in Vienna. Wellesz himself made a copy from this score. Both these scores have been identified. They enable us to distinguish between those changes that Mahler made for his first Viennese performance and those that he made later.

P.40-K.3 (the Schönberg score)

After Mahler’s death, Arnold Schönberg received permission from Alma Mahler to use P.40 and P.41 in concerts in Vienna. At that time he made his own copy of P.40, also adding some of his own Retuschen. This score is known today.

P.40-K.4 (the Zemlinsky score)

Alexander Zemlinsky likewise received permission from Alma Mahler to use P.40 and P.41 in concerts in Prague. Some of his pencil marks have been identified in these materials. He also made his own copy, though the present location of this is unknown.

P.40-K.5 (the Gabrilowitsch score and parts)

In 1923, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, then Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, was given permission by Alma Mahler to copy Mahler’s score and have orchestral parts made. This score and parts, made by an unknown copyist, contain not only Mahler’s Retuschen, but also additional changes that appear to have been made at the behest of Gabrilowitsch himself. These, which include the participation of the violas in the cello/bass recitatives at the beginning of the Finale and extra entries of the trombones, substantially reduce the authority of this source, rendering it of no value for the establishment of the IGMG edition. Unfortunately, these materials have been used in concert several times and recorded in recent years, so that many people have the erroneous impression that all the Retuschen in it are authentic.


At least four recordings of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony “with Mahler’s Retuschen” are in circulation today:
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra cond. William Steinberg, 1966 (LP: Command 12001)
From an article by Jack Diether in The American Record Guide of January 1967 we learn that this recording used a score belonging to William Steinberg himself. It is clear, however, from Diether’s description that the score does not agree with P.40 or P.41 in every detail, and Diether also writes: “It is also apparent that Steinberg has not utilized all of Mahler’s editing as seen in this score...”

Cincinatti Philharmonia Orchestra cond. Gerhard Samuel, 1991 (CD: Centaur CRC2107). This recording was based on P.40, P.40-K.3 and P.40-K5.

Brno Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Peter Tiboris, 1991 (CD: Bridge BCD 9033)
This recording is advertised as “1895 Version”, though it is not. The actual source is not specified.

Detroit Symphony Orchestra cond. Neeme Järvi (Video recording from PBS programme broadcast in December 2000). This recording was based on P.40-K.5.

Tonkünstler Orchester cond. Kristjan Järvi, 2006 (SACD: Preiser PR90773). This recording uses the IGMG edition by David Pickett.

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