Rhinegold
Katy Wright

Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Mahler manuscript sets new auction record

1:07, 30th November 2016

A complete manuscript of Mahler’s second symphony sold at auction for £4,546,250, breaking a previous record set by the sale of manuscript of nine Mozart symphonies in 1987.

The 232-page score, written in the composer’s hand and including his deletions, alterations and annotations, had been expected to sell for upwards of £3.5m.

Sotheby’s described it as ‘the most significant musical manuscript ever to have been offered at auction’.

The manuscript was sold by the estate of the American businessman Gilbert Kaplan, who became obsessed with the work after seeing it performed at Carnegie Hall in 1965.

After taking conducting lessons, he went on to conduct the symphony in more than 100 performances, and recorded it twice. He also established the Kaplan foundation in order to promoting the composer’s work.

Simon Maguire, director of books and manuscripts, said: ‘No complete symphony by Mahler, written in the composer’s own hand, has ever been offered at auction, and probably none will be offered again.’

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