Performances by Gustav Mahler


  • 03-05-1880 Lied 3: Maitanz im Grunen completed.
  • 00-00-1880 A fragmentary piano duet resembling the opening of the second movement.
  • 23-06-1884 First performance in Kassel of Mahler’s incidental music to tableaux vivants based of Joseph Victor von Scheffel (1826-1886)’s Der Trompeter von Sackingen (one movement of which was incorporated into the five-movement version of the Symphony as Blumine).
  • 15-12-1884 The texts of two of the Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen drafted (the piano and voice version was probably composed shortly thereafter).
  • 00-12-1887 Mahler probably began composition of the Symphony.
  • 01-05-1888 Mahler wrote to Max Staegemann (1843-1905), Director of the Leipzig Neue Stadttheater requesting indulgence for a couple of months for ‘die gute Sache’ – apparently a request for a light work-load so that he could complete the Symphony.
  • 14-02-1888 Mahler was working on ‘einer großen Symphonie’ which he hopes to finish in February (GMLJ, 88; GMLJE, 50).
  • 00-03-1888 Mahler hoped to complete a fair copy of the full score of the Symphony by the end of the month or the middle of April at the latest (GMLJ, 91; GMLJE, 51).
  • 03-09-1888 Kaiser Wilhelm I died: with the Leipzig Stadttheater closed for ten days, Mahler was able to work uninterrupted on the Symphony.
  • 28-03-1888 Mahler announced he was about to complete the Symphony in a letter to Hans von Bulow (1830-1894) (HLG1F, 271–2, fn 53; HLG1, 866, fn 39).
  • 11-05-1888 Mahler expected the first performance to be in Dresden on 07-12-1888 (GMLJ, 96; GMLJE, 56). 
  • 00-00-1888 In a letter to Max Steinitzer asking about the possibility of a performance of the Symphony in Leipzig (GMB2, 72–3).
  • 31-07-1888 Mahler wrote to Paul Bernhard Limburger, one of the directors of the Leipzig Gewandhaus, thanking him for the interest he had shown in his work. Mahler clearly hoped for a performance there (HLG1, 184).
  • 01-08-1888 Mahler hoped to play through his Symphony to Ernst von Schuch (1846-1914) in Dresden on 05-08-1888 (GMLJ, 98; GMLJE, 57).
  • 00-08-1888 Mahler hoped to interest Hermann Levi (1839-1900) in performing the work in Munich in the upcoming concert season; Richard Strauss (1864-1949) may have played through the work with Hermann Levi (1839-1900) at this time (GMRSB, 13; GMRSBE, 19). Towards the end of the month various Prague newspapers reported that the Symphony would be performed in Dresden and in Prague the following year; in September the Prager Abendblatt specifically referred to 07-12-1888 as the date of the Dresden performance (HLG1, 184).
  • 00-09-1888 Mahler had a manuscript copy of the full score prepared – almost certainly ACF1
  • 00-09-1889 A delegation from the Budapest Philharmonic visited Mahler (by then Director of the Royal Opera in Budapest) to request one of his symphonic works for performance at the start of the new season, in November (ZRGMH, 75)
  • 20-11-1889 Mahler conducted the première of the five-movement version of the Symphony in Budapest. 1889 Concert Budapest 20-11-1889 - Symphony No. 1 (Premiere).
  • 00-10-1891 Mahler wrote to Dr Ludwig Strecker, offering the Symphony to Schott music publishers for publication.
  • 00-11-1891 Mahler wrote to the conductor G.F. Kogel offering the Symphony for performance.
  • 19-01-1893 The revised score of the last (i.e. fifth) movement completed (AF2).
  • 27-01-1893 The revised score of the Scherzo (i.e. the third movement) completed (AF2). 1893 Concert Hamburg 27-10-1893 - Symphony No. 1, Des Knaben Wunderhorn (Premieres).
  • 16-08-1893 The revised score of Blumine (i.e. the second movement completed (AF2).
  • 23-10-1893 Mahler conducted the revised five-movement version in Hamburg?
  • 00-01-1894 Richard Strauss (1864-1949) wrote to Mahler that he had asked Hans von Bronsart to include Mahler’s First Symphony in the thirtieth festival of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Musikverein (GMRSB, 23–4; GMRSBE, 27).
  • 02-02-1894 Mahler sent a manuscript score to Hans von Bronsart for appraisal by the ADM.
  • 12-03-1894 Felix Draeseke completed his report on the Symphony for the ADM.
  • 23-03-1894 Eduard Lassen recommended Mahler’s Symphony for performance at the forthcoming ADM festival (IKRS, 91).
  • 17-05-1894 A newly copied manuscript score (ACF2), and a set of parts almost ready to be sent to Richard Strauss (1864-1949) (GMRSB, 37–8; GMRSBE, 36–7)
  • 03-06-1894 Mahler conducted the five-movement version at the ADM Festival in Weimar. 1894 Concert Weimar 03-06-1894 - Symphony No. 1.
  • 00-06-1894 A new manuscript copy of the work (ACF3), in four movements, prepared.
  • 16-03-1896 Mahler conducted the work as a four-movement symphony in Berlin. 1896 Concert Berlin 16-03-1896 - Symphony No. 1, Todtenfeier, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Premiere).
  • 00-08-1896 A manuscript of a revised four-movement version of the work (ACF4) copied.
  • 03-03-1998 1898 Concert Prague 03-03-1898 - Symphony No. 1
  • 00-12-1898 First edition of the full score printed (and published?) under the imprint of Weinberger music publishers.
  • 00-01-1899 First edition of the piano duet arrangement published under the imprint of Weinberger music publishers.
  • 00-04-1899 First edition of the orchestral parts published under the imprint of Weinberger music publishers.
  • 00-04-1906 First edition of the study score (PS1), a revised version of the work, published.
  • 00-00-1906 An arrangement by Bruno Walter (1876-1962) for piano four hands (two players at one piano) was published in 1906.
  • 16-12-1909 Mahler conducted two performances in New York, his last of the work. 1909 Concert New York 16-12-1909 - Symphony No. 1 and 1909 Concert New York 17-12-1909 - Symphony No. 1.
  • 13-07-1910 Mahler signed off a specially prepared proof copy of the PS1 text into which he had entered his final revisions.
  • 00-11-1912 November Second edition of the full score published by Universal Edition (UE) music publishers.
  • 00-00-1912 Second edition of the string parts published by Universal Edition (UE) music publishers when needed.


There are several manuscripts that document the revisions to which Mahler subjected the work:

  1. 00-00-1888 Leipzig: The original autograph score, in Mahler's handwriting (location unknown, may no longer exist).
  2. 00-00-1889 Budapest: The base layer in a copyist's handwriting is probably identical to the original autograph score. Over this, there are many revisions in Mahler's hand, and some whole sections deleted with new replacements added, in preparation for the 1889 Budapest premiere on 1889 Concert Budapest 20-11-1889 - Symphony No. 1 (Premiere). Bound into two volumes, vol. 1 containing the 1st movement and Scherzo, vol. 2 containing the last movement; the Blumine and funeral march movements are missing - in fact, conflicting numbering of the Scherzo, and the smaller size of the paper on which Blumine is written, seems to indicate that the Blumine was not originally part of Mahler's conception, and that it was lifted whole from the 1884 Der Trompeter von Säckingen score at some point between the symphony's completion in early 1888 and the Budapest premiere in late 1889. The entire symphony is scored for the standard symphonic orchestra of the time, with 2 each of all the woodwinds and 4 horns. In this version the piece was called "Symphonic-Poem in 2 Parts". (University of Western Ontario, Rose collection). 
  3. 00-00-1893 Hamburg: The base layer in Mahler's hand corresponds to the final version of the Budapest manuscript, and probably was the manuscript sent by Mahler to Schott music publishers as a Stichvorlage (engraver's copy) in 1891 in hopes of publication, and for the first time given a title: Aus dem Leben eines Einsamen (From the Life of a Lonely-one). Over this base layer, there are many revisions and new sections (including to Blumine) added in 1893, in preparation for the second performance, in Hamburg on 1893 Concert Hamburg 27-10-1893 - Symphony No. 1, Des Knaben Wunderhorn (Premieres). Contains all 5 movements; the funeral march was apparently lifted whole out of the 1889 manuscript. Orchestra has 3 each of the woodwinds. Just before the Hamburg performance, Mahler added the titles from Titan. (Yale University, Osborn collection).
  4. 00-00-1894 Hamburg: The base layer in a copyist's handwriting corresponds to the final version of the 1893 manuscript, with further revisions by Mahler. Probably prepared for the third performance, in Weimar on 3 June. 1894 Concert Weimar 03-06-1894 - Symphony No. 1. Pages containing the Blumine have been folded over, indicating deletion. Orchestra has 4 each of the woodwinds, and 3 additional horns. Still includes the titles from Titan. (New York Public Library, Bruno Walter Collection).
  5. 00-00-1896 Hamburg: The base layer in a copyist's handwriting, with revisions by Mahler. Probably prepared for 4th performance, in Berlin on 16 March. Contains 4 movements (Blumine not included). Known from this point on as "Symphony No. 1". (Sold at auction by Sotheby's in 1984, presently inaccessible). 1896 Concert Berlin 16-03-1896 - Symphony No. 1, Todtenfeier, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Premiere).
  6. 00-00-1898 Vienna: In a copyist's handwriting, based on the final version of the 1894? manuscript, this is the Stichvorlage [engraver's copy], used as a basis for the first score published by Weinberger music publishers in 00-02-1899. Probably prepared for the 5th performance, in Prague. 1898 Concert Prague 03-03-1898 - Symphony No. 1.
  7. 00-05-2002 Jerusalem: The original score of Symphony No. 1 was discovered in Jerusalem, among the personal effects of an old student of Viennese music: this score had annotations by Gustav Mahler himself.





  • Bassoon (bassoon 3 doubling contrabassoon) (3)
  • Clarinet in B-flat, C, A (clarinet 3 doubling bass clarinet in B-flat and clarinet in E-flat) (3)
  • Clarinet in E-flat (doubling clarinet 4 in B-flat in movement 3 briefly, "doubled at least" in movement 4) (clarinet 4 tacet in movement 2)
  • Flute (flutes 3 & 4 doubling piccolos) (flute 2 doubling piccolo in movements 1 & 4 briefly) (flute 4 tacet in movements 1, 2) (3)
  • Oboe (oboe 3 doubling English horn) (oboe 4 tacet movements 1–3) (4)


  • Horns (reinforced by an extra trumpet and trombone in the last movement) (7)
  • Trombone (4th trombone tacet movements 1–3), (4). Originally Mahler instructed that several "reinforcement" horns join the horn section for the last 76 bars of the last movement. However, in his final revision of the score, this was changed to a fifth trumpet and a fourth trombone. He also instructs all of the horns to stand up to get the largest possible sound out of the instruments.
  • Trumpet in F (trumpets 1, 2 "from a wide distance" in movement 1) (trumpet 1 doubled in fortissimo passages in movement 4) (5th trumpet tacet movements 1–3), (5). Trumpet 3 doubles trumpet in B-flat "in the distance", offstage, for a brief passage in the beginning of the first movement.
  • Tuba


  • Bass drum (with a cymbal attached to be struck by the same player in movement 3)
  • Cymbals. 2 timpanists, using a total of 5 drums: For movements 1 through 3, there is one timpanist with 29″ and 26″ drums, occasionally muffled. In the last movement, the first timpanist plays these same drums, while the second timpanist utilizes three drums (29″, 26″ and 23″).
  • Tam-tam
  • Timpani
  • Triangle


  • Double bass
  • Harp (tacet in movement 2)
  • Violas
  • Violin I
  • Violin II
  • Violoncell


  • Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Rafael Kubelík, DG, 02-1997.