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Mahler and ‘The Newspaper Company’: A Newly Discovered Contract

  • Paul Banks

In the early 1890s Mahler’s attempts to interest the German music publisher, B. Schott’s Söhne, in his large-scale works proved fruitless and the owner, Dr Ludwig Strecker, was content to publish a collection of songs, the 14 Lieder und Gesänge. Even for a major firm, with ample opportunity to use income from popular works to cross-subsidize more costly and risky ventures, the publication of new, innovative symphonies was unattractive. For Mahler one temporary solution emerged unexpectedly thanks to two Hamburg patrons who funded both the performance and publication of his Second Symphony.

However, this was hardly a satisfactory arrangement, as no orchestral parts were printed, and it was only thanks to the intervention of an old friend, Guido Adler, that Mahler finally saw his first four symphonies, Das klagende Lied and the Wunderhorn songs, published in practical and performable editions. The firm that undertook this large-scale project was not primarily a music publisher at all, but a printing company, the Erste Wiener Zeitungs Gesellschaft, and until recently the details of its agreement with Mahler were unknown. With the discovery in 2014 of a manuscript draft of the firm’s contract with Mahler this important step in the dissemination of Mahler’s music can be better understood.

The article presents a transcription and translation of the draft contract, and a commentary, drawing on other published and unpublished primary sources, that seeks to set the document in the wider contexts of the history of music publishing in Vienna and of the Erste Wiener Zeitungs Gesellschaft in particular, Austrian copyright legislation, and the publication of Mahler’s music.

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I wish to thank Mag. Martin Sima (Musikverlag Doblinger) for drawing my attention to the draft contract discussed below, and both him and Frau Dr. Pachovsky for their generous advice in connection with the transcription and translation of the text. I’m also grateful to the two readers of the original version for their helpful and supportive comments, and to Peter Carter for his advice about legal matters.

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1 See Willnauer, Franz, Gustav Mahler Briefe an seine Verleger (Vienna: Universal Edition, 2012), 2325 ; 80–101. This important volume usefully brings together a selection of the letters and other documents (many previously unpublished) relating to Mahler’s dealings with publishers. The present article draws on supplements and updates the information found there. The Lieder und Gesänge were eventually published in late January/early February 1892. My identification here of the works listed by Mahler is controversial, but it is supported by an unpublished letter from Mahler to Gustav Kogel, dating from the autumn of 1891: see (accessed 27 September 2017).

2 See Mahler, Gustav, Das klagende Lied, Erstfassung in drei Sätzen (1880) , ed. Reinhold Kubik, Gustav Mahler Neue Kritisch Gesamtausgabe, Supplement Band 4 (Vienna: Universal Edition, 2011), xxiii ; 236–45.

3 Willnauer, Gustav Mahler Briefe, 81.

4 Michalek, Andreas, Gustav Mahler und Rosa Papier (Vienna: Universal Edition, n.d.), 30 .

5 See Ollendorff’s letter to Mahler, 29 April 1897 in Willnauer, Gustav Mahler Briefe, 106. For a more comprehensive account of Mahler’s dealings with the firm, particularly its publication of his Fifth Symphony, see Klemm, Eberhardt, ‘Zur Geschichte der Fünften Sinfonie Gustav Mahlers: Der Briefwechsel zwischen Mahler und dem Verlag C. F. Peters und andere Dokumente’, Jahrbuch Peters 1979 (Leipzig: Edition Peters, 1980), 9116 . Klemm transcribes the surname of Mahler’s representative as ‘Grünfeld’ in the text of the letter, but an explanatory footnote reports that Ollendorff’s sister, Agnes, was married to ‘Siegfried Grünberg’: I am grateful to Dr Thelka Kluttig (Sächsisches Staatsarchiv) who confirmed that Klemm’s transcription is correct.

6 During most of the period under discussion here the firm’s name appeared as Universal-Edition, with a hyphen, but this was changed sometime after World War II to Universal Edition. Except in instances of quotations or imprints that adopt the later version, I use the hyphenated form in this article.

7 See Sonja Oswald and Monika Kornberger, ‘Weinberger, Josef’, Oesterreichisches Musiklexikon Online, (accessed 31 August 2015), for an outline biography and bibliography. The ‘Kunst- und Musikalienhandlung Jos. Weinberger & Hofbauer’ was registered on 1 November 1885: see Adolph Lehmann’s allgemeiner Wohnungs-Anzeiger: nebst Handels- u. Gewerbe-Adressbuch für d. k.k. Reichshaupt- u. Residenzstadt Wien u. Umgebung (Vienna: Alfred Hölder, 1886), 1069 (available online at (accessed 31 August 2015)). The registration of the firm was included in the list of changes in the business register of the Commercial Court in Vienna, on 6 November 1885 and published in Die Presse, 10 November 1885, p. 7 (, accessed 31 August 2015). The partnership was wound up in June 1890, with Hofbauer retaining the shop and substantial lending library at Kärtnerstrasse 34, and Weinberger establishing a new retail outlet and music publishing business, at Kohlmarkt 8. See Die Presse, 13 June 1890, p. 11 (, accessed 31 August 2015); Oesterreichische Buchhändler Correspondence 31/29 (19 July 1890): 4 (, accessed 31 August 2015); Die Presse, 15 November 1890, p. 9 (, accessed 31 August 2015).

8 ‘Summary of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886)’, WIPO: World Intellectual Property Organization, (accessed 7 October 2015).

9 See Hall, Murray G., Österreichische Verlagsgeschichte 1918–1939 (Vienna: Hermann Böhlaus Nachf., 1985), 2338 for an overview, and Junker, Carl, Zum Buchwesen in Österreich: Gesammelte Schriften (1896–1927), ed. Murray G. Hall (Vienna: Edition Praesens, 2001) for a contemporary perspective.

10 ‘Gesetz vom 26. December 1895 betreffend das Urheberrecht’, Reichsgesetzblatt 1895/XCI (30 December 1895): 667–75, particularly paragraphs 31–36 (, accessed 31 August 2015).

11 100 Years Remembered: A History of the Theatre and Music Publishers Josef Weinberger Vienna Frankfurt am Main London 1885–1985 (London: Josef Weinberger, 1985), 11. For details of the Sachverständigen-Collegien für Urheberrecht, see Oesterreichisch-ungarische Buchhändler-Correspondenz, 40/1 (4 January 1899), 4 (, accessed 1 September 2015).

12 See Paul Banks, The Business of Music: New Perspectives on Music Printing and Publishing in Vienna, 1892–1914 (in preparation) for a detailed account of the early history of the firm.

13 Neue freie Presse 13274 (9 August 1901): 4–5. The rest of the item gives further details of the proposed edition and the editors involved. Reports also appeared in the Wiener Zeitung 182 (09 August 1901): 2–3 and Pester Lloyd 190 (9 August 1901): 7, but these make no reference to possible or actual official involvement in the publication of the announcement.

14 See the Verordnungsblatt für den Dienstbereich des Ministerium für Cultus und Unterricht, Jahrgang 1901 (Vienna: Verlag des k.k. Ministeriums für Kultus und Unterricht, 1901), 336–8 (, accessed 22 August 2013), and Jahrgang 1902 (Vienna: Verlag des k.k. Ministeriums für Kultus und Unterricht, 1902), 209 (, accessed 22 April 2012).

15 Publication dates are from Hofmeister, F., Monatsbericht neuer Musikalien, musikalischer Schreiben und Abbildungen (Leipzig, 1829–) (, accessed 1 September 2015). Given the increasing political tensions during the 1890s caused by Czech demands for autonomy, it is interesting to note the relatively supportive attitude towards Smetana among Viennese music critics. See Brodbeck, David, Defining Deutschtum: Political Ideology, German Identity and Music-Critical Discourse in Liberal Vienna (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014).

16 Schabbing, Bernd, Gustav Mahler als Konzert- und Operndirigent in Hamburg (Berlin: Verlag Ernst Kuhn, 2002), 312313 . Mahler also conducted a revival of Smetana’s Zwei Witwen [Dvĕ vdovy] in 1894, though this was not published by Weinberger.

17 100 Years Remembered, 9.

18 de La Grange, Henry-Louis, Mahler, vol. I (New York: Doubleday, 1973), 444445 .

19 Transcribed in Willnauer, Gustav Mahler Briefe, 107–8.

20 The piano-vocal score and full score were both published late in 1897 and were listed in the December issue of Hofmeister’s Monatsbericht.

21 Mahler was the piano accompanist for a recital of his songs by the Dutch baritone Johannes Messchaert, at the Kunstlerhaus, Berlin on 14 January 1907.

22 In Prague: 14 March 1901 (Pauline Strauss, with Richard Strauss) and 23 March 1909 (sung in Czech by Bohumil Benoni, with Karel Kovařovic); in Berlin: 3 November 1905 (Marie Hertzer-Deppe, with Zdzislaw Alexander Birnbaum) and 19 January 1911 (Cornelius Bronsgeest, with Josef Stransky). A performance of songs 1, 2 and 4 was given at a Lamoureux Concert on 21 February 1905 (Nina Faliero (Mme Jaques-Dalcroze), with Camille Chevaillard). It seems likely that Weinberger had prepared a few orchestral sets for hire, but it was only in February 1912 that the firm finally offered the orchestral parts for sale.

23 Bauer-Lechner, Natalie, Recollections of Gustav Mahler, ed. Peter Franklin, trans. Dika Newlin (London: Faber Music, 1980), 76 .

24 Published ‘In Commission’ by Friedrich Hofmeister, Leipzig.

25 See Reilly, Edward R., Gustav Mahler and Guido Adler: Records of a Friendship (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 80116 .

26 Given Schaumann’s affiliations, the most likely positions under discussion were with the Akademischer Wagner-Verein (the society’s choir was established in 1881) or the Akademischer Gesangverein.

27 See Společnots pro podporu německe vědy umění a literatury v Čechách (Německá akademie věd v Praze). Materiály k dějinám a inventář archvního fondu=Die Gesellschaft zur Förderung deutscher Wissenschaft, Kunst und Literatur in Böhmen (Deutscher Akademie der Wissenschaften in Prag). Materialen zu ihrer Geschichte und Inventar des Archivbestandes. 1891–1945, Studia historiae academiae- scientiarum Bohemicae, Seria B, vol. 7, ed. Alena Míškova, Michael Neumüller (Prague: Archiv Akademie věd Českě republiky, 1994).

28 See the undated letter from Mahler to his lawyer, Emil Freund in Gustav Mahler Briefe, ed. Herta Blaukopf (Vienna: Paul Zsolnay, 1996), 245.

29 Geschäfts-Protokoll (1898), Geschäftszahl [Gz] 14 (Archiv hlavniho mesta Prahy, IX/0066). I am most grateful to Michael Bosworth for kindly drawing my attention to this source and that cited in n.29. The document submitted by Adler was presumably a copy of the first ‘report’ summarized by Reilly, 88–9.

30 See entry 116 in the register of Correspondirende Mitglieder der Gesellschaft zur Förderung deutscher Wissenschaft, Kunst, und Literature in Böhmen (Archiv hlavniho mesta Prahy, IX/0066), where his death in May 1911 is noted. According to the Geschäfts-Protokoll (1911), Gz 200, a letter of condolence was sent to Alma Mahler on behalf of the Gesellschaft.

31 Geschäfts-Protokol (1898), Gz 15. The document submitted was presumably a copy of the second ‘report’ summarized by Reilly, 89–90.

32 Geschäfts-Protokol (1898), Gz 46, 51. Mahler’s election and subvention was announced in the Prager Tagblatt 1898/ 37 (6 February 1898), p. 10. (, accessed 30 September 2015).

33 Bauer-Lechner, Recollections of Gustav Mahler, p. 109.

34 This contract is printed in August Göllerich, Anton Bruckner: ein Lebens-und Schaffensbild, vol. IV/3 completed and ed. Max Auer (Regensburg: Gustav Bosse, 1936), 259–62. See also see Paul Hawkshaw’s contribution to this issue, ‘A Bequest and a Legacy: Editing Anton Bruckner’s Music in “Later Times”’.

35 The conventions adopted in the transcription are:

  • < >

    < > used for the sometimes very faint pencil additions/revisions (probably by Emil Freund, Mahler’s friend and lawyer)

  • Strikethrough

    Strikethrough used for deletions in pencil

  • [ ]

    [ ] used for editorial comments

36 Initially ‘möglichste’ and then the whole paragraph was deleted in pencil, with a ‘?’ in the l.h. margin, and the subsequent paragraphs renumbered.

37 For an account of the firm’s music-related activity, see (accessed 27 September 2017) and Paul Banks, ‘“The Foremost and Unrivalled Music Engraving Business in Austro-Hungary”: Josef Eberle (1845–1921), Printer, Publisher and Manufacturer of Manuscript Paper’ (in preparation).

38 A similar arrangement was adopted when, the following year, EWZG also acquired another, rather different, specialist printer, the Artistische Anstalt, Buchdruckerei und Verlagsanstalt R. v. Waldheim, and the founder’s name was again retained for trading purposes. The two specialist subsidiaries were gradually merged within the EWZG conglomerate in the late 1890s, as discussed below.

39 See Willnauer, Gustav Mahler Briefe, 110.

40 The full score was so reissued (under the Weinberger imprint) ca. 1899, but the arrangement was not reprinted until 1914 when it was published by Universal-Edition.

41 For a biography and list of works, see (accessed 27 September 2017).

42 Renate Hilmar-Voit reports that the contract was for ‘Symphonien 1, 2 und 3, die Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Das klagende Lied und zwölf Wunderhorn-Lieder’ in Gustav Mahler, Des Knaben Wunderhorn: Gesänge für eine Singstimme mit Orchesterbegleitung, Sämtliche Werke, Band XIV/2 (Vienna: Universal Edition, n.d.), XVI. Unfortunately no source is cited, and the reference to the Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen is unexpected, since the publishing rights were already owned by Weinberger.

43 See Willnauer, Gustav Mahler Briefe, 163.

44 Kept with the draft EWZG contract in the archives of Musikverlag Doblinger, Vienna; see also below.

45 From here onwards the references are to the original paragraph numbers.

46 Between 1903 and 1906 Mahler sold the rights to Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6 outright for single payments, though the songs published by C.F. Kahnt were also covered by royalty payments.

47 In 1892, at an early stage in negotiations with Bruckner, Eberle had estimated the printing costs for 100 copies of both the full score and the orchestral part set for his First Symphony at 1410.67 Fl. Because the proposed sizes of the initial print runs of the Mahler Symphonies are unknown, no straightforward comparison of the two estimates is possible.

48 * indicates here and in Table 2 that retail prices in Austrian Gulden were not advertised, and so the figure has been derived from the price advertised in Marks, using the conversion rate applied by Weinberger in providing prices in both currencies on the material published for the first two symphonies. (Although by 1906 the Austrian unit of currency had changed (2 Krone=1 Gulden), the retail prices in Table 2 are given in Gulden for ease of comparison.)

49 I am most grateful to Universal Edition, Vienna, for allowing access to the firm’s Verlagsbücher. The figures in parentheses give the number of separate printings involved. The large aggregate print run for the study score of the Third presumably reflects the extraordinary initial impact it had at its premiere in 1902, while the single small print run of the duet arrangement (1906) suggests a dropping off of interest, which may also be traced in the number of performances of the work per annum up to 1914.

50 See Ein Glück ohne Ruh’: Die Briefe Gustav Mahler an Alma, ed. Henry-Louis de La Grange, Günter Weiß and Knud Martner (Berlin: Siedler, 1995), 164–165.

51 See Mahler to Freund, [mid-July 1910] in Willnauer, Gustav Mahler Briefe, 221, and Mahler to Universal-Edition, 11 August 1910 in Willnauer, Gustav Mahler Briefe, 225.

52 The best account of this episode, including Stritzko’s letter to Mahler, is in Gustav Mahler–Richard Strauss Correspondence 1888–1911, ed. Herta Blaukopf, tr. Edmund Jephcott (London: Faber and Faber, 1984), 132–4; but see also Klemm, ‘Zur Geschichte der Fünften Symphonie’. Stritzko believed that performance fees of 50–100 Mk were more realistic. Apparently the AKM has no records relating to Mahler’s membership 1898–1903 (correspondence with MMg. Tamara Herker, AKM, October 2015).

53 See Mahler to Emil Freund [?23–28 July] 1903, Selected Letters of Gustav Mahler, ed. Knud Martner (London: Faber and Faber, 1979), 270.

54 Mahler to Bruno Walter [?August 1903], Selected Letters, 270.

55 Daten zur Geschichte des Musikverlages Peters, ed. Bernd Paschnicke (Leipzig: Edition Peters, 1975), 38. Klemm suggests that the unidentified source of the offer was Weinberger (‘Zur Geschichte der Fünften Symphonie’, 93, n. 35), and Henry-Louis de La Grange identifies the source as Universal-Edition. See Gustav Mahler: Vienna, Triumph and Disillusion (1904–1907) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 502, n.132). Neither suggestion seems plausible since neither firm owned the rights to these works.

56 See Neuigkeits-Welt-Blatt 35/42 (20 February 1908): 9, where Hertzka was described as ‘einer auf dem Gebiet des Verlags bekannter Fachmann’. Fadüm had been appointed as Weinberger’s successor in 1906.

57 The exact nature of the publishing arrangement for the three 1910 printings is uncertain: if they were issued by Universal-Edition under licence from Weinberger, as seems to have been the intention in 1908 when the edition numbers were assigned, then no copies have been located to date. If not, one might wonder whether they were ‘advance’ printings anticipating the transfer of rights in the works which was already under negotiation.

58 Willnauer, Gustav Mahler Briefe, 198.

60 This was also the view of Henry-Louis de La Grange; see Gustav Mahler: A New Life Cut Short (1907–1911) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 794.

59 Mahler, Alma, Gustav Mahler: Erinnerungen und Briefe (Amsterdam: Allert de Lange, 1940), 215 .

61 The figures are derived from the inventory of plates held by Waldheim-Eberle c. 1910 (in the archives of Musikverlag Doblinger). It should be borne in mind that during the period 1900–1906 costs – particularly labour costs – had increased.

62 After a decline in circulation figures and profits the Illustriertes Wiener Extrablatt was sold by EWZG in 1905, and the approach to Peters (see above) was undoubtedly made in an attempt to raise further capital from its copyright assets. The year after the sale of the newspaper the firm adopted the rather cumbersome new name; the shortened form ‘Waldheim-Eberle’ was widely used even before it was formally adopted c. 1915.

63 Documents relating to this transaction are also located in the archives of Musikverlag Doblinger.

64 Willnauer, Gustav Mahler Briefe, 224–5.

67 Willnauer, Gustav Mahler Briefe, 223.

65 Willnauer, Gustav Mahler Briefe, 226. Willnauer redates the letter to ‘15.? August 1910’; all previous editions have accepted the dating (probably from Freund himself) in the 1924 edition of Mahler’s letters. Since Mahler’s proposed revisions form the basis of the version of the contractual letter he signed on 11 August, this letter to Freund must be earlier.

69 Selected Letters, 351.

70 There should have been a small income generated by the sales of the songs and Das klagende Lied.

66 Willnauer, Gustav Mahler Briefe, 222.

68 Willnauer, Gustav Mahler Briefe, 225.

71 Keym, Stefan, ‘“Für den Verleger gerade die misslichste Gattung”: Zum Symphonik-Repertoire der Leipziger Musikverlage und seiner Re-Internationalisierung im “langen” 19. Jahrhundert’, in Das Leipziger Musikverlagswesen: Innerstädtische Netzwerke und Internationale Ausstrahlung, ed. Stafan Keym and Peter Schmitz (Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 2016), 291328 . As Table 2 reveals, by 1909 sales of the study scores of Mahler’s first three Symphonies had outstripped those of the piano duet arrangements.

72 See Banks, Paul, ‘Mahler and Music Publishing in Vienna 1878–1903’, in Music and the Book Trade from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Century, ed. Robin Myers, Michael Harris and Giles Mandelbrote (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press/London: The British Library, 2008), 179198 . The Bruckner symphonies (in order of publication) were Nos. 7, 4, 3 (1890) and 8.

73 Nos. 2, 1, 5 and 6.

74 See Willnauer, Gustav Mahler Briefe, 120–21 and 166–7, and Tabelle 2 in Keym, ‘“Für den Verleger gerade die misslichste Gattung”’, 308. However, the failure of the Sixth had made it very difficult for Mahler to find a publisher for the Seventh; unfortunately, the fee paid by Lauterbach & Kuhn for the latter work is not known, but it is very unlikely to have been as substantial as those for its two immediate predecessors.

* I wish to thank Mag. Martin Sima (Musikverlag Doblinger) for drawing my attention to the draft contract discussed below, and both him and Frau Dr. Pachovsky for their generous advice in connection with the transcription and translation of the text. I’m also grateful to the two readers of the original version for their helpful and supportive comments, and to Peter Carter for his advice about legal matters.

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