Tags: gustav mahler | manuscript | record | auction

Gustav Mahler Manuscript Sells for Record $5.6M at Auction

Image: Gustav Mahler Manuscript Sells for Record $5.6M at Auction

Musical manuscripts of Austrian late-Romantic composer Gustav Mahler's Second Symphony, the 'Resurrection', are displayed in a glass cabinet at the Sotheby's showroom in Hong Kong on Aug. 17, 2016. (Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images)
 

By    |   Tuesday, 29 Nov 2016 12:20 PM

Gustav Mahler’s manuscript has broken the record for the highest priced musical manuscript sold at an auction after selling for £4.5 million ($5.6 million) at Sotheby’s on Tuesday morning.

“The result establishes a new auction record for a musical manuscript,” Sotheby’s said in a statement, according to Sky News.

The manuscript, which was handwritten by Mahler, was the composer’s Second Symphony, consisting of more than 230 pages, according to BBC News.

“The work retains the form in which Mahler left it, reflecting and revealing the compositional process,” Sotheby’s said, according to Sky News.

“This was the first major work that saw the composer confront the universal themes of life and death, which were so characteristic of his oeuvre,” Sotheby’s said, per Sky News.

Its 232 pages, also known as the Resurrection Symphony, “includes the composer’s deletions, alterations and annotations,” Sky News noted.

Before being sold on Tuesday, the manuscript was owned by U.S. businessman Gilbert Kaplan. Kaplan had become fascinated with Mahler’s work after seeing it performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1965, and he committed himself to learning how to conduct the piece himself before he died earlier in the year, Sky News noted.

Kaplan spent the last 17 years of his life traveling the world to see the symphony performed, according to the Daily Mail. He even spent a month taking nine-hour-a-day lessons with the hopes of performing the piece on the big stage someday – an opportunity that would eventually present itself in 1982 at the Lincoln Center in New York.

“I walked into that hall one person and I walked out a different person – I felt as if a bolt of lightning had gone through me,” Kaplan said, reminiscing on the first time he saw Mahler’s manuscript performed.

There were four telephone bidders as the manuscript was being auctioned off on Tuesday, but the winner has chosen to remain nameless.

According to the auction house, the only other notable manuscript to compare with Mahler’s new record is the manuscript of nine Mozart symphonies, which sold for $2.5 million in 1987, Sky News noted.

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Gustav Mahler's manuscript has broken the record for the highest priced musical manuscript sold at an auction after selling for £4.5 million ($5.6 million) at Sotheby's on Tuesday morning.
gustav mahler, manuscript, record, auction
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2016-20-29
Tuesday, 29 Nov 2016 12:20 PM
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