Breaking: Cleveland Orchestra acquires Mahler 2nd manuscript

Breaking: Cleveland Orchestra acquires Mahler 2nd manuscript


norman lebrecht

September 27, 2022

The autograph manuscript of Mahler’s second symphony, formerly owned by Gilbert E Kaplan and published by him in facsimile, has been donated to the Cleveland Orchestra by its present owner, the Austrian businessman, Herbert G. Kloiber.

The orchestra says it will preserve the manuscript ‘in partnership with the Cleveland Museum of Art, making it available to scholars, and accessible for public viewing in the future.’

The press release continues:

In celebration of this exceptional event, two performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 by Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra in Mandel Concert Hall at Severance Music Center on September 29 and 30 will open the Orchestra’s 105th season. The concerts will be preceded by a public viewing of the manuscript, free of charge, on September 28 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in the Bogomolny-Kozerefski Grand Foyer of Severance Music Center and it will be on display for those attending the September 29 and 30 concerts.

The manuscript was purchased anonymously at auction at Sotheby’s in 2016. Dr. Kloiber — an international trustee of The Cleveland Orchestra and chair of its European Advisory Board, as well as an advisory director of the Metropolitan Opera— has now been publicly identified for the first time as the previous owner of the autograph manuscript prior to generously donating it to The Cleveland Orchestra.

Franz Welser-Möst said, “Personally, and on behalf of The Cleveland Orchestra, I am incredibly grateful for my dear friend Herbert Kloiber for his most generous gift of the Mahler autograph score. The first time Herbert showed me the manuscript was a deeply moving occasion. As a musician and especially as a conductor, this is one of the most special moments you can experience in your life. To see Mahler’s handwriting on the page and to follow his process, one feels even closer to the composer and to this masterpiece.”

Herbert G. Kloiber said, “When I acquired the Mahler autograph score, I knew I was doing so only as a temporary caretaker, responsible for finding a permanent home for this magnificent document. My experiences with The Cleveland Orchestra in recent years, both on tour in Europe and in its wonderful concert hall at Severance Music Center, moved me to conclude that it would provide a wonderful home for this great document to reside.”


  • Rob says:

    This should have been given to Marina Mahler and then kept in the Haus der Musik. It has no business in Cleveland. Franz Welser-Möst and Kloiber should know better.

  • Robert Holmén says:

    What was the auction price at Sotheby’s in 2016?

  • CA says:

    Personally, I think this manuscript belongs in NY where it received it’s US premiere by and with the orchestra with which Mahler had a deep association.

  • Barry Guerrero says:


  • lamed says:

    What were the circumstances of the original sale?

    Did the Mahler or his heirs authorize and benefit from the sale?

    Curious, do restrictions on the export of cultural property and artwork apply to musical scores?

    Today, museums and authorities are becoming much more sensitive and alert to pieces that ought to be repatriated to their countries/owners of origin.

    Mahler’s scores belong in Cleveland as much as the Parthenon belongs in London or the Mona Lisa belongs in Paris. Your interpretation of that sentence depends on your worldview about property, ownership, culture.

  • Greg says:

    If Mahler’s music is not exclusive to Vienna (or to the year 1895 for that matter) then the manuscript can find a home anywhere the symphony is loved and appreciated. Cleveland will take very good care of it.

  • Greg Takacs says:

    The Autograph Manuscript Score will be fantastic addition to TCO’s Szell Library.

  • a colleague says:

    not “acquired”, rather it was “donated”…

  • Malcolm Jay Kottler says:

    You can read the Sotheby’s auction description of the manuscript (sold in November 2016) here:

    As to the selling price: with the buyer’s premium it was £4,546,250.
    The estimated range was £3.5-4.5 million, so Sotheby’s was on the money.

    If you need to know what that is in US$, the British pound was a little less than $1.25 on the day of the auction, so the $5.6 million is correct
    ($6.5 million is incorrect).

  • Don Antonio says:

    Obviously it belongs in Berlin, where the premiere was performed on Dec 13, 1895. Cleveland- really?

  • David J Gill says:

    A bit of trivia: Mahler conducted in Cleveland on one occasion. That was on December 6, 1910, with the New York Philharmonic at Gray’s Armory.

    (The Cleveland Orchestra would be established in 1918.)