Sotheby’s are offering for sale a rare first edition of Mahler’s third symphony with his own revisions for the next printing.

Mahler 3 p.48

?What’s remarkable about it is its unremarkability. Mahler never regarded a work of his as finished, always trying it one way in concert, then another, driving publishers to distraction with his changes.

In the last letter of his life, for example, he talked of reworking the fifth symphony, which had been performed widely but not yet to his own satisfaction. In the sixth, he switched around the second and third movements – but not definitively.

What this score shows is Mahler at work, Mahler at his most Mahlerian, never regarding a piece of music as being fixed in time. See Why Mahler for further details.

Sotheby’s, typically, are not saying who put it up for sale (though I could make an informed guess).

Here’s the press release, newly revised:

Sotheby’s London To Offer Mahler’s Own Newly Discovered Revised Copy of the First Edition of the Third Symphony– The Rare Full Score Contains the Composer’s Extensive Autograph Revisions and Performance Markings –Gustav Mahler, composer’s own copy of the first edition of the Third Symphony, containing his extensive autograph revisions and performance markings, the full score, 1902. Est. £100,000-£150,000.Sotheby’s, London, 25th May 2011, today announces that it will offer as part of the Music, Continental and Russian Books and Manuscripts Sale on 8th June 2011, Gustav Mahler’s newly discovered personal copy of the first edition of the Third Symphony. Coming to the market for the first time, the full 1902 score of this seminal work contains the composer’s extensive alterations and performance markings, vividly amended in coloured ink, crayons and pencil. It is estimated at £100,000 – £150,000*.Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Books and Manuscripts Stephen Roe said: “This is a magnificent new source for Mahler’s Third. It is a spectacular and beautiful score revealing the passion of Mahler’s creation and the exuberance of his musical thinking.”The score itself is a very rare edition (by Weinberger of Vienna), published shortly after the first complete performance, conducted by Mahler in June 1902. The composer’s corrections were made in the light of directing the first few performances and constitute his full-scale revision of the orchestration of the symphony. Rich with successive layers of reworking, some 60% of the score’s pages contain Mahler’s autograph notes and amendments.Many pages of the score are visually striking. Mahler wrote new music directly onto the staves and margins, mainly in red ink, but also frequently in brown and blue crayon – the various colours revealing successive stages of revision (pictured left). It is not only a wonderfully textual record of the workings of the composer’s mind and his quest for perfection, but a work of art in its own right. In a substantial passage of over 20 bars, Mahler transforms the pages with new parts for oboes and clarinets in red ink, subsequently deleting these new parts in blue crayon with others for trumpets and timpani in red ink and blue crayon, then deleting entire staves for percussion in brown crayon.The Third Symphony is a unique work and colossal in its conception. It was largely composed in the summer of 1895 after an exhausting and troubling period that pitched Mahler into feverish creative activity. It is the composer’s hymn to the natural world and his longest work. The first movement alone has a duration of between 30 and 40 minutes and forms the first part of the symphony. The second part consists of the other five movements and lasts a further 70 minutes. The work presented a challenging musical experience for contemporary audiences.Recently discovered in a private collection, Sotheby’s London is delighted to bring this rare, important and beautiful piece of musical history to auction for the first time.* Estimates do not include buyer’s premium

In a manoeuvre that has been conducted with the pace of a lame tortoise, Washington National Opera has finally divested itself of an absentee director and appointed an artistic advisor of energy and commitment.

Francesca Zambello will be planning the show, with Michael Mael as executive director and Kennedy Center chief Michael Kaiser involved more closely than before. Zambello and Kaiser worked together when he ran Covent Garden and have remained in close contact. This appointment was Kaiser’s call but it took him years of tact and diplomacy to bring it about.

She has a day job at Glimmerglass Opera Festival but the two roles are complementary and will give her plenty of room to manoeuvre – and, boy, does Washington manoeuvre. Domingo, who was also running Los Angeles, singing all over the world and conducting whenever asked, was seldom there. He ran the company along the lines of a 1970s state enterprise, on stale repertoire and a steady flow of cash to cover crises. It was not a highlight of his illustrious career and he should be glad to put it behind him.

Zambello, a busy stage director, was in line to become director of New York City Opera a few years back only to be rejected over a weekend by a sexist board. That, in retrospect, seems a lucky escape. Washington is in for a good time.


Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:Wednesday, May 25, 2011Francesca ZambelloAppointed Artistic Advisor for Washington National OperaMichael L. Mael Named Company’s Executive Director(WASHINGTON, D.C.) –

Washington National Opera (WNO) today announced that Americandirector Francesca Zambello has been appointed the company’s Artistic Advisor. Simultaneously,Chief Operating Officer Michael L. Mael has been named Executive Director. With theseappointments, WNO enters into its affiliation with the John F. Kennedy Center for the PerformingArts (effective July 1, 2011) with a complete roster of artistic and administrative executives.As Artistic Advisor, Ms. Zambello will offer advice and expertise related to opera repertoire, casting and creative teams, working in close collaboration with Kennedy CenterPresident Michael M. Kaiser, WNO Director of Artistic Operations Christina C. Scheppelmann,WNO Music Director Philippe Auguin and newly appointed Executive Director Michael L. Mael.The Artistic Advisor position is designed to further develop WNO’s artistic profile.

“Francesca Zambello is a highly respected, creative artist, known for her forward-thinking,innovative style. Her deep experience in the international opera community, coupled with herintimate knowledge of Washington audiences, make her an ideal advisor as we work to extend therange of artistic opportunities for WNO,” stated Mr. Kaiser.

Ms. Zambello responded, “I am proud to join the team led by Michael Kaiser of such aworld famous cultural center in our nation’s capital. This is a city I love; I love the architecture, thediversity, the atmosphere, the drama. For me, this is the right job at the right time, and I will work topresent a rich range of international and national programming and use all of the various venues toproduce the finest standards in opera and musical theater. I look forward to working with MichaelKaiser, and the Kennedy Center and WNO staff, to carry on and further the tradition of qualityestablished by Martin Feinstein and continued by Plácido Domingo.”

Ms. Zambello has directedten WNO productions since her company debut in 2001 with Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men.(more)2Mr. Mael, a key administrator who led WNO through the Kennedy Center affiliationprocess, stated, “Francesca Zambello’s appointment is another important step forward for WNO.She brings both continuity and an eye towards the future. I look forward to working with Francesca,as well as with Michael Kaiser, Christina Scheppelmann and Philippe Auguin, to expand uponWNO’s legacy of high artistic quality.”As Executive Director, Mr. Mael will manage all WNO activities, working closely withWNO staff and Board, as well as with Kennedy Center leadership, to meet the organization’sartistic and financial goals.Commenting on the appointments, Kenneth R. Feinberg, President of WNO’s Board ofTrustees, said, “Washington National Opera’s Board has great confidence in Francesca Zambelloand Michael Mael, and in their ability to keep the Opera moving in a positive direction.”About Francesca ZambelloNewly appointed Washington National Opera Artistic Advisor Francesca Zambello made hercompany debut with Of Mice and Men in 2001, and has returned to direct Das Rheingold, DieWalküre, Siegfried, Porgy and Bess, Billy Budd, Fidelio and mostly recently, Salome. Aninternationally recognized director of opera and theater, Ms. Zambello’s work has been seen atthe Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, the Bolshoi, Covent Garden, Munich Staatsoper, ParisOpera, New York City Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and English National Opera. She has stagedplays and musicals on Broadway, at the Royal National Theatre, BAM, the Guthrie Theater,Vienna’s Raimund Theater, the Bregenz Festival, the Sydney Festival, Disneyland, Berlin’s Theaterdes Westens and the Kennedy Center. She is currently in her first season as Artistic & GeneralDirector of the Glimmerglass Festival, as well as the Artistic Advisor to San Francisco Opera,where she is directing a new production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle in June 2011.Ms. Zambello has been awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government forher contribution to French culture, and the Russian Federation’s medal for Service to Culture. Hertheatrical honors include three Olivier Awards, two Evening Standard Awards, two French GrandPrix des Critiques, the Helpmann Award, the Green Room Award, a Palme d’Or in Germany andthe Golden Mask in Russia.She began her career as the Artistic Director of the Skylight Opera Theatre and as an assistantdirector to the late Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. She has been a guest lecturer at Harvard, Juilliard andYale. An American who grew up in Europe, she speaks French, Italian, German and Russian. She isa graduate of Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. Ms. Zambello’s complete biography isavailable at Michael L. MaelMichael L. Mael joined Washington National Opera in April 2008 and was appointed ExecutiveDirector in May 2011. Formerly the Opera’s Chief Operating Officer, he was responsible for allfinancial and day-to-day operations of the company, and under his leadership, the organizationreturned to financial stability with four consecutive balanced budgets. He led the effort toaffiliate with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, ensuring the long-termstability of the Opera.Previously, Mr. Mael was the Vice President of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) atStrathmore, where he was responsible for launching and managing all activities related to theBSO’s second home at the new Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Md. In additionto overseeing the BSO at Strathmore’s Development, Marketing, Public Relations, andCommunity Outreach, Mr. Mael was the orchestra’s main liaison to Montgomery County andkey to introducing the BSO at Strathmore’s new brand to the Greater Washington, D.C. region.He has consulted for symphony orchestras and was involved in assessment and planning projectsfor the Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Buffalo Philharmonic, andwas the Director of Government Affairs for the American Symphony Orchestra League. Prior tohis career in arts management, Mr. Mael held senior executive positions with several technologycompanies, including Focal Communications, PSINet and MCI Communications.Mr. Mael is a 2005 graduate of Leadership Montgomery and is currently President of its Boardof Directors. He also serves on the board of the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington and is amember of the Finance Committee of the Washington Chorus. Mr. Mael received his A.B. fromBrown University and his M.B.A. from Stanford University.About Washington National OperaFounded in 1956, Washington National Opera is recognized as one of America’s leading operacompanies. WNO continues to build on its rich history by offering operas of a high artisticquality, balancing popular grand opera with new or infrequently performed works. In addition,WNO fulfills its mission by serving as a vital resource throughout the Washington metro area,bringing opera to a broad and diverse public through its award-winning education andcommunity programs. On July 1, 2011, WNO will affiliate with the Kennedy Center, uniting thetwo organizations’ administrative and business functions. The previously-announced 2011-12season will include full productions of Tosca, Lucia di Lammermoor, Così Fan Tutte, Nabucco,and Werther, as well as concerts featuring Angela Gheorghiu and Deborah Voigt.

When the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra cancelled its deal with the Salzburg Easter Festival 10 days ago, many saw the withdrawal as a crippling blow for the Karajan-founded event. The Berliners said they had been offered more money by Baden-Baden. After 45 years, they were happy to trade down high prestige for a mess of pottage. Their conductor, Simon Rattle, stayed conspicuously shtum.

I wrote at the time that Berlin stood to lose more than it gains from the Baden-Baden betrayal. Within hours of that prediction, Salzburg was in close and fruitful negotiations with Christian Thielemann and the Dresden Staatskapelle to replace Berlin from 2013. Thielemann is Germany’s most popular conductor. At Christmas, he and Dresden knocked Rattle and Berlin out of their regular television slot on ZDF and wiped the floor with them in the ratings.

If, as reliably reported in Vienna, Dresden are about to move in to the Salzburg Easter vacancy, Berlin will have given up valuable territory for marginal Baden-Baden, allowing their rising rivals a serious foothold in the major marketplace.

Thielemann is not Peter Alward’s only powerful ally in his drive to stabilise the festival, but Berlin will sleep less easy now that Thiely’s on its Salzburg tail. Frankly, the Berliners deserve every setback that ensues from their act of bad faith.

The Bregenz Festival – the one with a stage on the lake – was left in the lurch when David Pountney flitted off last month to head Welsh National Opera.

Moving with a speed that would be envied by most football teams, it has installed Roland Geyer of the Theater an der Wien in his place.

Roland Geyer ist ab 2015 neuer Intendant in Bregenz. Foto: Bregenzer Festspiele / Dietmar Mathis

More here. He gets his feet under the desk in 2015.

The oboist Murray ‘Sandy’ Johnston who took his dismissal by Welsh National Opera to court has succeeded in overturning the original verdict.

His case will be heard again by a different panel.

Johnston claimed he was unjustly treated by the former WNO music director Carlo Rizzi. He now has all to play for.




Sandy Johnston, the former Principal Oboist of the Welsh National Opera has succeeded in his appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal. Murray “Sandy” Johnston successfully appealed against the decision of the Employment Tribunal in Cardiff that he was fairly dismissed by the Welsh National Opera.


Mr Johnston had been employed by the Welsh National Opera for more than 30 years, but was dismissed by WNO management allegedly on the basis that they had concerns about his artistic performance. Central to the appeal by Mr Johnston was a collective agreement between the WNO and the Musicians’ Union which set out very clearly the procedure to be followed in cases of “poor artistic performance”.


Mr Johnston was required to re-audition for his job in accordance with the poor artistic performance procedure and unanimously passed that audition. Nevertheless, the WNO management then decided that the collectively agreed procedure applied only to solo playing and not “ensemble” playing, despite the fact that the distinction does not exist in the agreement. Mr Johnston’s offer to audition on an ensemble basis (despite there being no legal or contractual obligation to do so) was rejected by WNO management.


The solicitor acting for Mr Johnston, Chris Mayers of MLM Cartwright, had suggested that the WNO could allow Mr Johnston to re-audition, but within a specific ensemble. Alternatively, suggested Mr Mayers, the incoming Musical Director, Lothar Koenigs could audition Mr Johnston and he could then comment on Mr Johnston’s performance.


Neither of those options was accepted by the WNO.


Managers of the WNO then convened a Disciplinary Hearing against Mr Johnston at which they indicated it was not their policy to call “live” witnesses. Mr Johnston, therefore, was required to attend a Disciplinary Hearing at which no live witnesses were produced and he therefore did not fully understand the allegations against him, nor was he given the opportunity to question the evidence against him.


At the hearing in London last Friday, the decision of the Employment Tribunal in Cardiff has been overturned. The Judge at the Employment Appeal Tribunal criticised the decision of the Cardiff Employment Tribunal and in particular criticised the failure to follow the collective agreement.


The case has now been remitted by the Employment Appeal Tribunal to be re-heard by a differently constituted panel in Cardiff.