Mahler's Second Symphony manuscript sells for record £4.5 million at auction

Gramophone Tue 29th November 2016

The manuscript to Mahler's Second Symphony was auctioned by Sotheby's in London

A page from the manuscript, courtesy of Sotheby's

A page from the manuscript, courtesy of Sotheby's

The auctioneers Sotheby’s have called it 'the most significant musical manuscript ever to have been offered at auction' and today the handwritten manuscript of Mahler's Second Symphony was sold for a record price of £4,546,250.

The manuscript was offered for sale by the estate of the late Gilbert Kaplan who died in January. For Kaplan, the Second Symphony was his life's great passion. He conducted the work with many of the world's leading symphony orchestras and recorded it twice, first with the LSO in 1987, second with the Vienna Philharmonic in 2002, before making a recording of a version for chamber orchestra (arranged by himself) with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra in 2014.

Simon Maguire of Sotheby's 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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