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Mahler's Reorchestration of Schumann's 'Spring' Symphony, Op.

38: Background, Analysis,


Intentions
Author(s): Veronica Mary Franke
Source: Acta Musicologica, [Vol.] 78, [Fasc.] 1 (2006), pp. 75-109
Published by: International Musicological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25071266
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Mahler's Reorchestration

Franke

of Kwazulu-Natal

University

1. Critical

of Schumann's

reception

Symphonies

four symphonies
remain,
controversial
of all symphonies

Schumann's
most

the one

'Spring' Symphony, Op. 38

Intentions

Background,Analysis,
Veronica Mary

of Schumann's

hand, we

in both performing

and musicological
circles, the
composed
during the nineteenth
century. On
inherited the verdict of FelixWeingartner
whose
unfavourable

have

on Schumann's orchestral music have been reiterated by scholars through


to the twenty-first
as: "of all
century, and have led to such critical pronouncements
the nineteenth-century
Robert Schumann probably has the spottiest track
composers,
or:
"did
not
terms
Schumann
think
did Berlioz or Wagner?in
record;"1
naturally?as

observations

A pianist by training, he seemed to think of the piano when orchestra


or:
does little to avert the very real danger of
"Schumann's bland orchestration
ting;"2
ultimate tedium;"3 or finally, what must be considered the most defamatory comment of

of the orchestra.

all: "Schumann? My dear fellow, what are you talking about? He never wrote a symphony
in his life. He just couldn't!"4 On the other hand, Daniel Barenboim has rejected these
In a recent interview printed in The New York Times he states:
stereotypes.
I think

Schumann's

orchestrated,

don't

have suffered
symphonies
sound, are not Schumann's

for many years from the clich? that they are badly
and Idon't think this is so... There
best music,
is a

Schumann world
of music?I
won't
of sound.
say a world
particular
to another.
sometimes
from one theme
form, with
abrupt transitions
is to come with Wagner....
foretaste
of what
Beethoven
and Schumann
Mahler.

Schumann

was

historically

one

of the most

important

It has to do with
Inmany ways
made Wagner

composers

of the

music, with
it gives you a
and
possible,

19th century.5

Indeed it is interesting to trace the history of the critical reception of Schumann's sym
phonies and of the formation of standard opinions about these works. Such an historical
overview provides us with an understanding
of the most recent thought on Schumann's
1.
2.
3.

in Classical Music: A Critic's Guide


to the 100 Most
"Robert
KoziNN,
Schumann,"
Important
Books, 2004), p. 120.
Recordings
(New York: Times
Eric Frederick
Press, 2001), p. 202.
Jensen, Schumann
University
(Oxford: Oxford
Alexander
"The Rise of Urban Musical Life between
the Revolutions,
in The Early
Ringer,
1789-1848,"
Romantic Era: Between
Revolutions:
Press,
178c and 1848, ed. Alexander
Ringer
(London: Macmillan
Allan

1990),
4.

Quoted
Books,

5.

Quoted

p. 26.
in Stephen Williams,

"Robert

1949), p. 173.
inAnne Midgette,

"That Special

Schumann,"
German

The Symphony,
Sound,"

New

ed. Ralph Hill


York Times,

(Middlesex:

23.01.2004.

Penguin

Veronica Mary

76

process within
compositional
confirms that, while positive

of the most

realm. One

the symphonic
re-assessments

of Schumann's

thematic

Franke

significant outcomes
have
development

language have been far less


appeared, thorough reappraisals of his orchestral
In connection with the latter, probing Mahler's procedures
of alteration and
inOp. 38, produces new and enlightening evidence, disclosing
adaptation, as exhibited

recently
evident.

intentions and their

Mahler's

for Schumann's

orchestration.

in his own lifetime reveal that they were on


four symphonies
and were accorded much admiration.6 For this reason, Schumann

of Schumann's

Reviews
the whole

implications

successful

had little difficulty infinding publishers immediately for these compositions.


However, the
music and ofWagnerian
rise to dominance ofWagner's
criticism inthe second half of the
a
decisive
nineteenth
shift
of
century produced
opinion. Schumann became the target
of criticism

for several

opera, his alleged adherence


'deficiencies' as an orchestrator.
in his published
He condemned

including his supposed


inability to compose a successful
to classical forms and traditional genres, and his so-called

reasons,

The

last point was

thoroughly explored byWeingartner


of the symphony after Beethoven.7
study of 1897 on the development
sense
as follows:
in
and
orchestral
Schumann's
technique
symphonies

produces
Generally
speaking, a Schumann
symphony
The reason
than in the concert-room.
is, as the most

more
fervent

effect when
admirers

as a piano duet
not refuse

well played
of the master

dare

had not the slightest


either
that Schumann
idea of handling an orchestra,
nowadays,
inwriting
for it. He nearly always employed
the full band, seldom
trying to group
an almost
to the individual "timbre". With
childish
the different
bodies of instruments
according
a fullness and power
of sound by doubling
he could produce
the parts.
lack of skill, he thought
His
instrumentation
became,
this, so thick and dull that if itwere
through
played as he marked
to acknowledge
or
as director

it, nothing
produce

6.

The

be given out by the orchestra,


of any meaning would
a true forte as an expressive
pianissimo.8

First Symphony

was
to Alfred

and

itwould

be as

impossible

on 31 March
under Felix Mendelssohn's
direction
first performed
concerts:
historian of the Gewandhaus
"the performance
D?rffel,

Leipzig. According
symphony went magnificently.
was such that the symphony

The
was

listeners were
much

extraordinarily
and Schumann

discussed

excited...
was

to

1841, in
of the

the success with

viewed

all present
different
light
in Jon
and translated

in a much

account
to a greater degree
than previously."
is quoted
D?rffel's
and recognized
and Finale, Opus
Scherzo,
Finson, "Schumann,
52," The Musical Quarterly
Popularity, and the Overture,
success
to enjoy considerable
in
and popularity
continued
69 (1983): pp. 3-4. The First Symphony
in the concert
of many European musical
the years that followed,
repertory
attaining a secure place
was
The Second
in the
and Hamburg.
centres,
Symphony
judged,
including Berlin, Vienna, Dresden,
con
one
to
examines
of
achievements.
Newcomb
nineteenth
be
Schumann's
century,
Anthony
highest
in "Once More
'Between Absolute
and Program Music': Schumann's
reviews of the work
temporary
was first
Music 7 (1983/4):
Second
pp. 234-237. The Third Symphony
Nineteenth-Century
Symphony,"
in February
p. 300) states: "What seemed
1851, to great acclaim. As Jensen (in "Schumann,"
performed
its tunefulness
and genial nature." The Fourth Symphony
received
to contribute
to its success was
in Mendelssohn's
itwas conducted
in 1841, "maybe because
at its premiere
absence
mixed
reviews
by Ferdinand
Symphony
the work
was
7.

See

in 1853.
published
Felix Weingartner,

Reeves,

Schumann

David, whom

(Oxford: Oxford
to
but returned

n.d.),

pp. 29-41.

found

Press,
University
it in 1851, revising

The Symphony Writers

Robert
less than adequate"?see
Layton, A Guide to the
abandoned
1995), pp. 134-135- Schumann
subsequently
and

rescoring

since Beethoven,

it for one

of his D?sseldorf

trans. Arthur

Bless

concerts.

(London: William

It

Mahler's Reorchestration

Itwas

of Schumann's

also Weingartner

was

'Spring' Symphony, Op. 38

77

approach to composition
dominated
by a conglo
He referred to Schumann's

first argued that Schumann's


to symphonic
itwas
form because
who

essentially unsuited
meration
of small-scale repetitive units, or "little themes."
"customary uniformity of rhythm and tiresome repetition,"

and alleged that the compo


ser's "larger orchestral works easily become monotonous."
Weingartner's
unrelenting
to Schumann's assumed
lack of constructive
his claiming
culminated
in
objections
ability
is only upheld, in a semblance of solidity,
and the adoption of phrases which often have no raison

the sound

that: "With Schumann,

by the repetition of the theme,


d'?tre in the organic whole."9

structure

century continued to be puzzled by aspects of Schumann's symphonies.


Esteemed music historians, such as Donald Tovey, Mosco Carner and Gerald Abraham,
as a symphonist from the same two
the quality of Schumann's achievements
questioned
firstly, Schumann's treatment of orchestral colour and textures,
angles asWeingartner:
The twentieth

in particular his generation


and development
and, secondly, Schumann's formal content,
In the opening of his analytical discussion of Schumann's sympho
of thematic material.
of organic
nies, Tovey criticized Schumann's
ineptitude in relation to the establishment
in large forms, asserting that "it is quite true that Schumann's treatment
of
no
model for students." Tovey also berated Schumann for the "incredible
large forms is
latent in it from the outset, and
clumsiness" of his scoring, declaring that "tragedy was
structure

in his pitiful failure as a conductor."10 Both Carner and Abraham


de
form"
and
his
"static
of
mosaic-like
plored
conception
emphasized
"inability
to invent true symphonic themes, themes capable of development
and further growth."
became

manifest

Schumann's

Furthermore,

"thick and generally unimaginative


in terms of the piano.11
While
nic writing

symphonies were
frequently handicapped
by
his orchestral music
scoring" and that he conceived

they felt that Schumann's

recent Schumann
on

its own

scholarship
terms, negative

8.

11.

sonata
the

forms.

He

feels

the structural

that the

form Schumann

large-scale

to sympho
of the 'Spring'

his contribution

In his critique
appraisals persist.
for instance, stresses that this work embodies

Symphony, Carl Dahlhaus,


limitations of many nineteenth-century
diverse melodic
ideas "works against

9.
10.

has begun to assess

was

absence

of

seeking

to

Weingartner,

pp. 36-37.
Weingartner,
pp. 33-38.
Donald
Francis Tovey, Essays

inMusical

Analysis:

Symphonies

II(London:

Oxford

University

pp. 46-47.
See Mosco

Press,

1935),

in Schumann: A Symposium, ed. Gerald Abraham


"The Orchestral
Music,"
Carner,
(London:
"Robert
The New Grove
Press, 1952), pp. 178-186; Gerald Abraham,
Schumann,"
University
vol. 1, ed. Stanley Sadie (London: Macmillan,
Early Romantic Masters,
1985), pp. 178 and 183fr; and
Music:
in The New Oxford History
inOrchestral
"New Tendencies
Abraham,
of Music:
1830-1850,"

Oxford

Romanticism,

ed. Abraham

(Oxford:

Oxford

University

Press,

1990),

pp. 41-44

and 55-56.

Veronica Mary

78

create." What

ismore,

"the elaboration

of the main motive

lacks the

necessary to save the thematic process from degenerating


nical development."
Dahlhaus concludes that "by substituting the motivic
character piece forthat of the Beethoven
symphony [Schumann] became

and refinement

Franke

sophistication
into mecha
unity of the
in
embroiled

contradictions
that led not so much
lyricism and monumentality,
to a productive dialectic as to mutual paralysis of its various components."12
For Charles
in
in
chamber
movement"
his
music
and sym
Schumann
had
Rosen,
"sustaining
difficulty
contradictions

between

in his late years. He succinctly attributes Schumann's


limitations to "a difficulty in
and
later
forms
of
the
cites Schumann's
with
the
Classical
dealing
previous generation,"
In
music.
works using larger forms to epitomize
negative elements of post-Beethoven
on
some
kind
Rosen
the
focuses
of
of
rhythmic variety
"integrating
particular,
difficulty
into large-scale structures," and proclaims that in Schumann's
lateworks "the obsessio
phonies

nal rhythms are now unenlivened


and unrelieved." This obsessional
quality results in a
"continual disparity between
traditional form and musical
idea."13The silence of other
critical
historians, such as Richard Taruskin in his multivolumed
leading contemporary
music, would suggest similar negative assessments.14
study on the history ofWestern
On

the other

of Schumann's

arguing for a more positive evaluation


in symphonic writing
isgrowing. Inthis regard, the work of
as Linda Roesner, Michael Musgrave, Joel Lester, Jon Finson

hand, the number

achievements

of scholars

such prominent musicologists


on the area of thematic
is significant.15 They have concentrated
and Anthony Newcomb
inwhich these and other processes
and the way
and tonal organization,
development
create

and

cogent,
integral relationships
instrumental compositions.
Newcomb,

in Schumann's

interconnections

for instance, focuses

on the thematic

large-scale
metamor

Schumann's Second Symphony, op. 61, and affirms that "the


phoses found throughout
is thorough and deeply worked
thematic unity of this symphony
out."16 Lester argues

12.

Carl

Dahlhaus,

California

Robinson

Harvard University
(Cambridge:
The Oxford History of Music, vol. 3: The Nineteenth
or evaluation
no critical discussion
contains
Press, 2005) which
University
the romantic
tradition.
symphonic

Charles

14.

See

Richard

See

Linda Roesner,

Rosen,

Schirmer

Taruskin,

Interpretation:

for

University

of

Press,

1995), pp. 689fr.


Century
(Oxford: Oxford
of Schumann
in relation to

in The Nineteenth-Century
"Schumann,"
(New York:
Symphony, ed. Kern Holoman
Issues
and
Scenes:
Musgrave,
1997), pp. 43-77; Michael
"Symphony
Symphonic
in Analytical
'Rhenish' Symphony,"
in Schumann's
and Musical
and Context
Strategies
ed. Craig Ayrey
and Mark Everist
Music,
Twentieth-Century
Essays on Nineteenth-and

University
Cambridge
(Cambridge:
Sonata
Forms," Nineteenth-Century
and

(Los Angeles:

Books,

of Structure

the Study of Orchestral


Fourth Movement

the

(1982): pp. 395-418;


Newcomb,
p. 240.

Newcomb,

Press:
Music

Composition
of Schumann's

Musicological
Society, 39 (1986),
"The Sketches
pp. 1-26; Finson,
16.

J. Bradford

1989), pp. 159-160.


The Romantic Generation

13.

15.

trans.

Music,

Nineteenth-Century

Press,

and
"Robert
Schumann
Joel Lester,
1996), pp. 120-148;
Robert Schumann
18 (1994-95),
Jon Finson,
pp. 189-210;
"The Sketches
Clarendon
Press,
1989); Finson,
(Oxford:
61," Journal of the American
Op.
Symphony,
and the Overture,"
"Schumann,
Popularity,
1
C Minor Symphony,"
Journal of Musicology,
and Program Music'," pp. 233-250.
'Between Absolute

Second

Finson,
pp. 143-68;
for Robert
Schumann's
"Once

More

Mahler's Reorchestration

of Schumann's

'Spring' Symphony, Op. 38

79

that "applying Beethoven-based,


sonata-form theories to Schumann's music
His sonata forms present a "definable mix of
invariably denigrates his accomplishments."
traditional and innovative features," and his individual characteristics offer plasticity to the
persuasively

form and the ability to evolve.17 Musgrave discusses the extraordinary


degree of motivic
a
in
the
"Rhenish"
he
from
feels, "provides
integration
background
Symphony, which,
which the composer can effect the contrast of tension or relaxation
in the unfolding of
the structure."18 The views of the remaining scholars, Finson and Roesner, as they pertain
to Op. 38, are examined
in the concluding remarks of the present study.
compared with defences of his thematic processes and formal procedures, de
have been slow to emerge. The only scholar
fences of Schumann's orchestral mechanics
When

light on this subject is Finson. Focusing on sketches, drafts


and revisions of the 'Spring' Symphony, he has shown that Schumann scrupulously fashio
ned and refined this work, always with the exigencies of performance
inmind. Within

who

has shed some valuable

it becomes
clear that Schumann was profoundly
this process
and sonority. Finson has also demonstrated
that the perceived
had more

Schumann's
century

symphonies
orchestra than with

It seems

to do with

Schumann's

purported

balance

incompetence:

ensemble

of around

could

then

to achieve

Jensen,
What

that Weingartner
orchestration:

not

fifty players. The


relatively
be distinguished
amidst the frequent
would
be preserved.19

in his recent book on Schumann,


needs

to be remembered

of the orchestra
about

did

of today. With
his orchestral
bumblings

on period

low tessitura
string doubling,

echoes

is that the orchestra


a comparable
reduction
in their
might diminish

The writings of Finson and others have


in Barenboim's
phonies, such as iswitnessed
performances

instruments,

in

late nineteenth

orchestras

for which

19.
20.

increased

problem
size of the

with

of imbalance

means
of achieving
proper
imagine an alternative
to resemble
the
of
the
those
ensemble
reducing
proportions
so
his... [symphonies].
the composer
Ifwe adopted
fashioned
this practice,
meticulously
or Taubert's
not exceed
Mendelssohn's
maximum
playing Schumann would
optimistic
incredible

in Schumann's

balance

17.
18.

the

concerned

for the more

colourful

and the fullness

wind

Schumann

parts
hoped

Finson's sentiments:
Schumann
greater

wrote

for was

clarity might

about

result,

half the

size

and complaints

ferocity.20

initiated a re-evaluation

of Schumann's

sym

statement

recent
quoted above. Moreover,
Eliot
Gardiner's
including John
exhilarating and

Lester, pp. 209-210.


see John Irving, "The Invention of Tradition,"
in The Cambridge
Musgrave,
p. 135. Also
of
History
Music, ed. Jim Samson
Press, 2002), pp. 203
Nineteenth-Century
Cambridge
(Cambridge:
University
and cyclic principles
of organization
in Schumann's
205. Irving examines
sym
integrative
techniques
phonies
Finson,

as a whole.

and the Study of Orchestral


pp. 140-41.
Composition,"
at times thought of the orchestra
that while Jensen feels that "Schumann
Jensen, Schumann, p. 204. Note
as a piano, and tried to transfer
to it" he also confirms
that Schumann
his
pianistic effects
managed
orchestration
with
"conspicuous
sensitivity".
"Schumann

Veronica Mary

8o

Franke

et
R?volutionnaire
insightful rendition of the Schumann symphonies with the Orchestre
have brought
into question the impugning of Schumann's sound world.21
Romantique,
Itwould appear that much of the criticism in the past and present has been due to the
discrediting
was widely
Schumann's

interpretations of a few scholars


adopted and reaffirmed without

and conductors.
question

Their

and without

dismissive

attitude

analysis of
and Abraham

further

and sketches. Weingartner,


original manuscripts
Tovey, Carner
in
and
twentiethcritics to mis
influential
especially
causing
twenty-first-century
understand
and, in varying degrees, to discount Schumann's ability as an orchestrator.

were

Iwould

venture to suggest that, of all the opponents, Weingartner


did the greatest
a
as
on
his
had
views
decisive
the
arguments of subsequent
damage
disparaging
bearing
commentators
in turn, influenced later scholars so that it became com
and critics, who,
to criticize Schumann's symphonic abilities in terms of both formal articula
monplace
tion and orchestration.
And, as Arnold Schoenberg
foresaw, any student, even today,
such widespread
denunciation of Schumann as an orchestrator may "never
encountering
listen to the orchestra
one

examines

of Schumann

the structure

naively, sensitively, and open-mindedly."22 When


texture of Schumann's
and orchestral
'Spring' Symphony

more

intimately, and in relation to Mahler's rescoring


familiar hackneyed condemnations
is in order.

of it, then a direct

challenge

to the

This brings me to the main focus of this article. As iswell known, conductors
from the
to 'improve' Schumann's
late nineteenth
century to the present day have endeavoured
in his orchestral music, the best known of these revisions being Gustav
instrumentation
Mahler's.23

In the

instruments,

period
Do his corrections

with
light of recent scholarship and of contemporary
performances
the question that arises iswhether Mahler's rescorings are justifiable.
enhance Schumann's musical structures, creating greater orchestral

transparency, balance of tone colour and variety of dynamics, or are these changes new
shades added to an already pleasing canvas? Inorder to address this issue the present
article undertakes a comprehensive
investigation of Mahler's interpretation and transfor
mation of Schumann's Symphony No. 1 in B flat, Op. 38. Itclassifies the types of revisions
by Mahler, and includes analyses of passages exemplifying these 'emendations'. The
the symphony at a time when
examples clearly show that while Mahler re-orchestrated
orchestral scoring had arrived at a brilliance never before known, Mahler does not impose

made

on Schumann's

21.
22.

Leonard
23.

Other

of the examples

1998 CD

See Gardiner's
2).
Arnold

a sound that

music

realization. Analyses

Schoenberg,
Stein, trans.
conductors

Bruno Walter,

recording

who

of Schumann's

complete

symphonies

(Archiv

production

457

591

Outmoded
Music,
Idea," 1946; in Style and Idea, ed.
Style and
Faber and Faber, 1975), pp. 113-14.
(London:
include Weingartner,
have rescored
Schumann's
Carl Schuricht,
symphonies
Britten.
Harty and Benjamin

"New

Music,

Leo Black

Hamilton

is incompatible with Schumann's


intentions and their
also reveal that Mahler's alterations and adaptations

Mahler's Reorchestration

of Schumann's

'Spring' Symphony, Op. 38

81

nor are they futile as some contemporary


critics postulate.24
Indeed,
Mahler's revisions are subtle and skillful, and involve a process of refining, at all times
to thematic
lines and essential rhythms.25
unveiling his principal aim: to give prominence
rescore
not
Mahler
Schumann's
because
he felt they had been
did
passages
Certainly,
are not extensive,

in
conceived or notated" or because they uncover "apparent deficiencies
"erroneously
orchestral technique," as some writers have casually inferred.26 He revised Schumann's
used in late romantic sympho
orchestral music in the light of the expanded techniques
nies performed
by large orchestras. Thus, as the ensuing discussions will demonstrate,
Mahler's rescorings should never be used as a platform to perform the function of cor
in relation to Schumann's orchestration.
roborating negative lines of argument
reveal the magnitude
At the same time, the analysis and its conclusions
of the im
of
portance Schumann attached to orchestral
sonority as well as his astute knowledge
that
critics
orchestral
texture
and
of
Schumann's
and
instrumentation,
suggest
scoring
have overlooked
the conditions under which Op. 38 was written?the
original orches
tral size, layout and available instrumental techniques. When we pay attention to these
sense of Op. 38 emerges. Moreover,
a fresh understanding
matters
of the orchestral
we
clear
that
it becomes
whether
perform the 'Spring' with the original
absolutely
condensed

orchestral

'modern' ensemble,
not

'deficient' or

2. The Nature

day, or apply Mahler's revisions


is the same: Schumann's orchestration

forces of Schumann's
the conclusion

for a larger
inOp. 38 is

'defective'.

of Mahler's

Revisions

Itwas

He
symphonies.
during the early 1900s that Mahler revised all the Schumann
seems to have had a special affection for the first symphony, for he conducted
it on
numerous occasions, the first time in 1895 at a subscription concert of the Association
of
Friends of Music inHamburg. Mahler must have valued his rescorings, as shortly before
his death he spoke to his wife, Alma, about these and other re-orchestrations,
declaring:
them printed."27 Mahler's arrangements were published
"They are worth a lot?have
by Universal Edition in 1927.28

24-

See, for instance,


veness
of Mahler's

25.

Mahler

"A Guide
Layton,
re-orchestrations.

to the

to Natalie
Bauer-Lechner,
explained
the principal voices."
de
See Henry-Louis

p. 133, which

Symphony"
close

discusses

the

friend

La Grange,

of Mahler, that: "I always


Mahler
(London: Camelot

alleged

ineffecti

to
give precedence
Press, 1974), vol. 1,

P- 499
26.

of Direction
and Conducting,"
"The History
Jeremy Siepmann,
ed. Colin Lawson
Orchestra,
University
Cambridge
(Cambridge:
to the Symphony,"
Guide
p. 133.

2003),

27.

Alma

28.

John Murray,
1968), p. 190.
I am using for analytical
is: Robert Schumann,
The edition
that
purposes
von Gustav Mahler
Instrumental Retouchen
Edition, 1977).
(Vienna: Universal

Mahler,

Gustav Mahler: Memories

in The Cambridge
Press,

and Letters, ed. Donald

Mitchell,

to the
Companion
"A
p. 119 and Layton,

trans. Basil Creighton

(London:

Symphonie Nr 1 B-dur mit


It is interesting that perfor

Mary

Veronica

82

Franke

nature of the changes which Mahler makes


in the course of his work has been
analysed by Mosco Carner. Carner's article, though not recent, isa good starting point,29
up to the present
especially as his findings have been widely repeated by musicologists
time. He draws attention to seven features,
including the thinning of thickly overscored
The

lines and rhythmic procedures,


in the manner
structures, changes

the clarification of thematic

passages,
effects,

modification

mation

of themes

of phrase

for abbreviation. Carner analyses a number


and, finally, suggestions
to illustrate Mahler's methods. Whilst
from all four Schumann symphonies

of examples
Carner does

not claim to make

investigation of Mahler's 'corrections', his ac


and his examples are too brief. He leaves us with no

a detailed

inmy opinion, istoo cursory


solid conclusion
justifying Mahler's
appropriate,
count,

scholars

Other

changes to dynamic
of playing, transfor

have

claimed

adaptations

his intentions.

and probing

the Schumann
lavishly reorchestrated
that Mahler's work
afresh.30 Even Carner mentions

that Mahler

and wrote
them out
symphonies
was a thorough revision, with not a single movement
in the four symphonies
remaining
This
the
of
score.31
untouched and with alterations and corrections
covering many pages
certainly not the case with Op. 38. Mahler neither adds to nor subtracts from the
content of this symphony. He renders discreet alterations, additions and deletions to the
ismost

a limited number of bars at a time and involving a few instruments


score encompassing
only, never the entire ensemble. His most substantial changes concern dynamic effects
and tone colour. There are dozens of pages inwhich Mahler makes no modifications.
categories of "thematic
not
do
apply at all.32
Carner's

Moreover,
passages"
As

iswell

known,
matter

controversial

alterations"

1:

manees
Iknow
by Aldo
29.

of Mahler's
of

re-orchestrations

Ceccato.

"Mahler's

Re-Scoring

of the

originally written

at this pitch:

* ^

rare. The only CD recording


that
exceedingly
conducted
in 1987 by the Bergen Philharmonic
orchestra,
of Schumann's
versions
first and second
re-orchestrated

so far been

have

a recording made
includes Mahler's
The CD

is BIS-CD-361,

symphonies.
See Carner,
110.

cuts to repetitive

the opening of the symphony has made history and remains a


Schumann wanted the opening fortissimo 'to sound
for conductors.

as iffrom high like a call to awaken'. The opening was


Example

and "suggested

Schumann

Symphonies,"

The Music

Review,

2 (1941): pp. 97

30.

See, for instance, Bernard Shore, Sixteen Symphonies


1949), p. 103; Henry Raynor,
(London: Longmans,
Romantic Music:
A History of the Orchestra
Scribner,
1978), p. 117; Leon Plantinga,
(New York: Charles
W.W.
Norton
&
York:
in
A History of Musical
1984),
Europe (New
Company,
Nineteenth-Century
Style
The Symphony: A Listener's Guide
Press,
Steinberg,
University
(Oxford: Oxford
p. 244; and Michael
1995). P- 508, n. 4.

31.

Carner,

p. 99.

32.

Carner,

p. 98.

Mahler's Reorchestration

of Schumann's

a disaster

itwas

at the first rehearsal

However,

'Spring' Symphony, Op. 38

83

the sixth and seventh

because

notes

impossible to play on the trumpets and could only be played in a muted, muffled
manner on the horns. Mendelssohn
the passage up a third, and itwas with
transposed
in this last version that the symphony was published. Even ifSchumann en
the opening

were

countered
problems on this one occasion, Barry
had a great love for the horn, was well-acquainted
wrote
the first major work for the valved horn,
and piano.33 Thus, this singularly unlucky incident
never

should
chestral

have become

"an almost

automatic

Tuckwell

has stressed

that Schumann

with writing for the natural horn, and


namely his Adagio and Allegro for horn
over two notes
response

in an entire

to dismiss

symphony
Schumann's or

skill."34

infamous passage at the opening of the 'Spring' to its original


pitch starting on B flat and not on D, evidently because of the greater capabilities of
modern
valve horns and trumpets, and it is surprising that Schumann himself did not
Mahler

restored

the

revert to the rehearsal


the valve

By the time his orchestral


If he had reinstated
developed.

version.

horn had been

score was published


in 1853,
the original passage
it could
has suggested that Schumann

played with the effect he intended. Steinberg


became used to the revision, or did not want to trouble

have been

Breitkopf and H?rtel.35


by Mahler, sounds more vibrant,
Certainly the opening call on B flat, as re-established
has greater clarity and sonority, and has the advantage of relating thematically more
closely to the ensuing first subject and the opening of the development.
either

inOp. 38 may be classified under


and modifications
remaining adjustments
a
account
of
which
is
detailed
five categories,
presently given. Itneeds to be stressed that
ifthe work isto be performed by a modern
these changes become more understandable
It
his
would
orchestra.
appear beyond any doubt that Schumann composed
symphony
Mahler's

inmind -the
orches
Leipzig Gewandhaus
symphony with a specific performing medium
an
it con
because
ensemble
tra,
forty-nine players,36 which,
comprising approximately
tinued to play a repertory of eighteenth-and
works, followed
early nineteenth-century
In the decades
the structural pattern of the high-classical orchestra.
after Schumann
this work,

composed

33-

time.

34.

35.
36.

was

This work
See

orchestras

composed
Barry Tuckwell,

expanded

significantly,

so that by the

late nineteenth

for four horns and orchestra


in 1849. His Konzertst?ck
also dates from this
Yehudi Menuhin Music Guides: Horn (London: Macdonald
and Co.,
1986),

pp. 78-79.
in Heritage
The Romantic
Bernard
Schumann,"
Keeffe, "Robert
of Music:
and Alan Kendall (Oxford: Oxford
Press, 1989), p 203. Keeffe
University
for the orchestra."
affected
Schumann's
writing
subsequent
experience

Era, ed. Michael


claims

that

Raeburn

"this unhappy

"The Symphony: A Listener's Guide,"


pp. 507-508.
"Robert
Schumann
and the Study of Orchestral
p. 139. Also
Composition,"
in the Nineteenth
Practices
Koury, Orchestral Performance
Size,
Century:
Proportion and Seating
Steinberg,
See

Finson,

University

Microfilms

Inc., 1986),

pp.

148-150.

see Daniel
(Michigan:

Veronica

84

Mary

Franke

orchestra
century symphony orchestras featured 100 players. By this stage theWagnerian
andWagnerian
had
made
their
into
the
of
orchestration
way
techniques
symphonic and
concert
overall

repertory,
including the symphonies of Mahler himself More important than the
increase in the size was the inner balance between
sections. When
Schumann's

in 1841 the woodwind-to-brass-to-string


ratio was 1:1:3.
'Spring' was first performed
When
Mahler conducted
the 'Spring' approximately
60 years later in 1899 the ratio was
- a
a
of the burgeoning winds and their
1:1:4
consequence
33% increase in the strings,
an
is
such
advances.37
It
orchestra,
technological
expanded
coupled with concert halls
inmind when

Mahler's
musical

and seating plans unknown to Schumann, that Mahler would


he amended Op. 38 to avoid prospective
imbalances.
to Schumann's first symphony are now explored
separately with

sizes, acoustics

possessing
have had

changes

1. Greater

adjustment

to balance

2. Revision

of timpani

scoring

3. Modification

and expanding

substantiating

examples

of horn

of melodic

and trumpet

4. Changes

to string orchestration

5. Dynamic

adjustments

upon the enumerated

headings

below:

lines

parts

& rethinking

of phrasing

and articulation

1.Greater adjustment to balance of melodic lines. There are a number of instances where
redistributes the parts inOp. 38 in order to clarify the accompanying
figuration
and to articulate the melodic and contrapuntal
lines more clearly within the context of

Mahler

forces. An excellent
large-scale illustration of this procedure may be
larger orchestral
of the Finale (bars 21-28), and again in its recapitulation
found in the exposition
(bars
to
In
order
196-203).
appreciate the full impact of these alterations the passage in Ex. 2b
should be compared with its original (Ex. 2a). Inthe first four bars of the Schumann
original, the main theme is scored for first violins only. The flutes and oboes play a three
note motive as a counterpoint
against this theme whilst the horns, clarinets, bassoons,
below

the accompaniment. With


conventional
can sound overdone.
Inhis revision,
symphonic forces, the scoring of the accompaniment
Mahler reduces the accompanying parts, removing the clarinets and bassoons altogether,
second

violins, violas, cellos and basses

provide

entries of the flutes


thus allowing the principal subject on the violins and the melodic
and oboes to be heard much more clearly. In the next three bars of this passage, the
is scored for flutes and first violins (bars i^ff) whilst the remainder of the
main theme
here reflects, as Finson
accompany. The density of Schumann's orchestration
has pointed out, Schumann's intention to "elicit the most massive sonority available from
this full orchestral
ensemble of 49 players".38 Schumann accomplishes
the Gewandhaus

orchestra

37-

See

the

chapters

on nineteenth-century

orchestras

and relative

strengths

pp.
38.

143-171.
"Schumann
Finson,

and the Study

of Orchestral

Composition,"

p. 78.

and proportions

in Koury,

Mahler's Reorchestration

of Schumann's

'Spring' Symphony, Op. 38

85

lines playing chords to support the melodically


darker instrumental colours and closely-spaced
increase the full texture. Mahler, however, eliminates the alto,

sonority by doubling his accompanying


and rhythmically active themes. The
also help to
tenor and bass trombones
harmonies

and enabling
A

lightening the texture


completely,
a complementary
accentuation
of the melodic

of the accompanying
lines.39

shows Mahler securing melodic


example which
balance within a bigger ensemble occurs in the first movement
further

parts

clarity and satisfactory


from bar 166. Here the

ison the crisp rhythm of the motto portion of the primary theme. This motive
is
with occasional
played simultaneously
by the strings and woodwinds
interjections from
the horns. Schumann doubles the flutes with the oboes at the lower octave for sixteen
focus

to rest during the first eight bars and only subsequently


the original scoring. This minor adjustment to the structural balance brings
of the primary theme into greater relief so that it penetrates
the flute's presentation
the
a
sound
the
richness of
instruments of
generated
by
accompanying
larger ensemble.40

bars. Mahler

allows the oboes

continues with

inTrio Iof the Scherzo (bars 142-148 and bars 218-224).


Similar procedures are adopted
On these occasions,
however, Mahler apparently finds the primary melodic
line, pre
sented by the flutes alone, scored too thinly against the static chordal accompaniment
in the remainder

of the orchestra.

He alters the oboe

so that

it duplicates the
in the surrounding and accompanying music
is omitted. These adjustments
result in the reinforcement
of the main motive through
a reduction
in the number of background
instruments within an expanded
nineteenth
melody

flute. At the same time the bass trombone

century

orchestra.

way inwhich Mahler attempts


an octave higher into what
material
posing
effective register. He does this with oboes,
Another

to enhance

is by trans
thematic contours
he evidently considers a more discernible,
clarinets and, to a lesser extent, with the

strings. A good example may be found in the coda of the first movement.
marked animato, commences with a strong reference to the primary theme

This section,
inthe violins.

note the changes to dynamics


in this passage. A further example
and articulation
of such lightening
in bars 40-42.
removes
of the original
in the finale occurs
In these bars Mahler
the oboes,
scoring
on flute and first violin stand out clearly.
bassoons
and horns so that the motives
clarinets,

39.

Also

40.

166 Mahler also inverts the clarinet parts so that they present
the theme
in a higher register a
instead of a third apart. He alters the dynamics, marking
the beginning
of the passage
ppp and
to start later so that there
is a more
effective
the crescendo
in
sf at the end of the phrase
allowing
of this phrase
is further reinforced
bar 181. The culmination
added to the strings (on
by the accents
In bar

sixth

the
with

second

accentuate
the
where

beat

the bassoons
melodic

oboe

passage
the clarinet

and bassoon

parts

of bars

174-176), and by the alterations


instead of the inner voices.
and basses

to the

timpani

Other

examples
in the first movement

and adjusting the balance


writing
is removed
in order to sharpen
the
part
in order

cadenza-like

to reproduce
the dotted-rhythmic
to highlight the melody.

ismade

parts, which
of Mahler's

flute melody;
and
scalar theme

rising

now

coincide

to
attempting
include bars 19-20, where
bars

117-119,
of the oboe

Veronica Mary

86

Example

2a: Schumann

Fagotti

Trombone
Alto et Tenor

Trombone
basso

Timpani

(original).

Symphony

No

1, movement

4, bars

21-27.

Franke

Mahler's Reorchestration

of Schumann's

nai

87

'Spring' Symphony, Op. 38

?^n

rm

rm

?n^

Timp.

?;

fe

g te

88

Veronica Mary

Example

2b: Schumann

Clarinetti inB

Fagotti

Trombe inB

Trombone
Alto et Tenor

Trombone
basso

Timpani

(Mahler

version).

Symphony

No

1,movement

4, bars

21-27.

Franke

Mahler's Reorchestration

of Schumann's

irnn

Timp.

'Spring Symphony, Op. 38

i^nnn

?J77*rr^i

89

Veronica Mary

90

Franke

a peak of excitement
in bars 396-405 where all the winds join the strings. At
in the
this point Mahler transposes the entire clarinet theme (which Schumann presents
lower middle register of the instrument) an octave higher so that it duplicates the flute
It reaches

the melodic
line. Similar examples of the transposi
parts, thus strengthening
are
to
tion of clarinet melodies
be found throughout
the first movement,
but these are
in a large
these changes are evidently effective
mostly minor and very subtle.41Whilst
instrumental
Schumann apparently preferred, and required, "more sombre
ensemble,
and oboe

colours

inthe middle

register," which could be clearly distinguished


instrumental group at his disposal.42

of the smaller

amidst the remainder

2. Revision of timpani scoring. Mahler's alterations


to the timpani parts are interesting.
at the beginning of each movement.
tends to maintain the tuning determined
His timpani parts frequently do not coincide with the bass line, rather doubling a middle
Schumann

note of the harmony. Mahler probably felt that this caused


timpanist to retune his instrument. In the first movement,

some blurring. He requires the


for instance, Schumann uses

rolls on A, C, D
timpani, tuned to B flat, G flat and F Mahler in addition writes
and D flat. Examples of Mahler's alterations to Schumann's timpani parts are to be found
three

Ineach case Mahler's version of the timpani


throughout the first and fourth movements.43
part has the true bass giving more emphasis to this register. His doubling of the bass line
ifa smaller ensemble
is employed.
bass, especially
by timpani can lead to an over-heavy
of
the fact that a straightforward
One must also take into consideration
performance
timpani. Towards
today demands the use of modern pedal-tuned
the end of the nineteenth century, when Mahler revised Schumann's timpani parts, these

Mahler's modifications

instruments

had undergone

advances

in technology,

enabling reliable, rapid


mechanisms
that
had not been available
and
devices,
pedal
tuning
using foot-operated
inwriting for
to Schumann, and offering late Romantic composers
additional freedom
the instrument. As it stands, the use of three timpani instead of two in Schumann's first
symphony was

considered

significant

innovative at the time.44

3.Modification of horn and trumpet parts. The group of instruments to which Mahler makes
can be found in all
is the brass. Examples of his adjustments
considerable
adaptations

41.

for

See,
melody
octave

42.

See

43.

Mahler

bars

In bars 330-333 of the first movement


the flute
and 195-201.
where
the violin part is transposed
up an
only one occasion
are no further transpositions
in the symphony.
of melodies
Finale. There
and the Study of Orchestral
pp. 76-82.
Composition,"

179-181,185-189,
ottava.
I have noted

bar 29 of the
"Schumann

Finson,

In the

44.

instance,
ismarked

in the first movement


the timpani parts
changes
occur within
bars 65-73, 159-160,
Finale alterations

in bars

63-72, 116-117, 177-181, and 310-316.


In the second movement
the
167-168.
deletes
timpani punctuations,
particularly

and

timpani are not used, and in the scherzo, Mahler occasionally


in the two trios (bars 146-52, 216-228, and 336-344).
In this regard Schumann was
influenced by Pfundt, an excellent
Orchestra
and a cousin by marriage.

timpanist

in the

Leipzig Gewandhaus

of Schumann's

Mahler's Reorchestration

91

'Spring' Symphony, Op. 38

that at the time Schumann wrote this


Again, itmust be remembered
use
were
not
in
in
instruments
yet
Leipzig. At times, chromatic notes not
symphony
in the early 1840s are included inMahler's revision of the brass
available to Schumann
four movements.

valve

we

of
is that the reinforcement
especially need to take into consideration
in the symphony was a major
passages given to brass instruments at crucial moments
source of concern to Schumann. Finson has shown that Schumann raised this issue in
parts.45What

with various conductors,


his correspondences
namely Ferdinand David, Ludwig Spohr
letters to conductors
of
Finson
Taubert.46 As
and Wilhelm
points out, "Schumann's
itmight be performed
but also
Op. 38 provide not only indications of how he thought
that
Schumann
altered
It
would
his
sentiments about
his developing
appear
scoring."47
his score because of the restrictions of intonation of the brass. The natural horns, for
instance, played limited pitches and required
thin, inferior quality of tone which Schumann

a
special attention. They also produced
complained about in his communiqu?s.48

ismost
interesting is that a number of the brass passages which Schumann
had doubt about are revised by Mahler, often along lines similar to Schumann's envisaged
of the orchestration
aural perception
projected originally in his sketches. All of the en

And what

redressing balance in the light of the evolution of intricate


technological
designs that enhanced brass instruments' capacity for greater tonal power,
and
century.
range,
agility in the last quarter of the nineteenth
suing examples

show Mahler

of the first movement


of Op. 38.
is taken from the development
first example
nature of the passage from bar 253
Here Mahler seems to feel that the polyphonic
a
more
is based
to
bar
281
demands
transparent
scoring. This section
lighter,
through
on the closing theme of the exposition, which consists of a rising scale. Its rhythmic
Our

is identical with that of theme 1.The imitative, rhythmically


pattern (first eight notes)
is at first tossed between
active scalar theme
(bars 253-269), and
pairs of woodwind
later passed between violins and combined basses, cellos and bassoons
(bars 270-281).
and
Itunfolds over a series of suspensions presented by the remaining strings, woodwind
brass. The density of Schumann's scoring here results from his liberal use of instruments
to accompany the melodic
lines. In rewriting the passage, Mahler removes the horns
are deleted
in their entirety
in bars
in bars 254-258 whilst the timpani and trombones
270-281. He arrives at a lighter texture
sound overloaded
which can otherwise
lume of tone

produced

contrapuntally-active

for example,

by the horn and trombone


lines.

the trumpet

45-

See,

46.
47.

late nineteenth-century
definitely
"Schumann
and the Study
Finson,
Finson, p. 122.

48.

See

Finson,

pp.

by lessening the activity in the accompaniment


with an enlarged orchestra and the larger vo

122-127.

parts

sections.

The

notes
of bars 5-6 where
the chromatic
in style.
of Orchestral
p. 129.
Composition,"

result supports

of Mahler's

version

the

sound

Veronica Mary

92

Inthe second movement,

the middle

section

consists of a restatement

inthe dominant

Franke

of the primary
(bars 41-55) and

key. This theme ispresented by the cellos


lend a sense of fluidity
horns, and highly active strings, which
supported by woodwind,
and increased sonority to the texture. Mahler probably concluded that the melodic
line
eli
did not articulate distinctly within the density of Schumann's scoring. He completely
lyricalmelody

from the accompanying parts, the horn passage (which inSchumann's day would
far less bright), so that the beautiful cello theme
is brought
into greater
expressive focus. Similar reductions of brass instrumentation occur inthe Scherzo, where

minates,

have sounded

uses the trombones

Schumann

out these added

transparency. His deletions


than to one with condensed

Another

cuts
filling. Mahler occasionally
rests
the
texture
and
chordal
with
relieving
creating greater
are more appropriate to the conventional modern orchestra
and horns for harmonic

instruments,

orchestral

forces

using natural horns.49

inwhich Mahler

alters the horn and trumpet parts is by using them for


purposes. Take, for instance, bars 54-60 of the first movement,

way

more melodic,

expressive
is a dotted motive. This rhythmically-conceived
the essential component
central
and Mahler fre
throughout the movement,
figure unfolds in a variety of metamorphoses
concern
over
its
Schumann
the
settings.
quently adjusts
scoring of this motive
expressed
in letters to several conductors.50 On one occasion, Schumann complained
in a note to

where

the conductor

Ferdinand David that the short dotted motive

54-5 and 58-9 "has come out too muted


Inanother
would rather use trombones."51

everywhere

played by the horns inbars


I
I have heard the symphony...

toWilhelm
Taubert, Schumann
commentary
again confirms that this horn passage should be "blown as strongly as possible; here in
important is
Leipzig Ialways hear itwell, but inother orchestras quite faintly. Even more
the same place after the fff following the middle of the movement where
itappears [bars
317-18 and 321-22]. Should it come out too faintly, then double itwith the alto and tenor
trombones."52 Finson has shown that evolution of the latter passage (bars 317-322) had
a long history. Schumann revised it repeatedly, scoring it for trombones
in an autograph

assigning it to horns in his 1841 print and, finally, restoring both


subsequently
in the 1853 version, as is confirmed
in the above note to Taubert.53
instruments
instrumental colours was therefore
His decision to use a combination of two contrasting
version,
brass

thought out, leaving no doubt about the bold, triumphal gesture he


about the scoring of this motive and
had inmind. From the various correspondences
we
its cumulative revision
may deduce that "Schumann's thinking about some passages
unfolded over a long period of time as a result of repeated experimentation."54
and well

deliberate

49-

Schumann
in bars

in bars 140-152, 216-228, and 336-344


of the scherzo
the trombones
29-31, 253-256, and 261-263.
"Schumann
and the Study of Orchestral
pp. 123-126.
Composition,"

deletes

21-24,

50.

See

51.

Finson,

p. 123.

52.

Finson,

p. 125.

53.

See

Finson,

Finson,

pp.

129-130.

and the horns

Mahler's Reorchestration

of Schumann's

93

'Spring' Symphony, Op. 38

to settings of the dotted motive seem to conform to Schumann's


In
valve horns in place, Mahler was able to reinforce the motive.
original
the first instance (bars 54-60), the dotted rhythmic motive, tossed between
horns and
and given greater definition inthe
woodwind
and accompanied by strings, is strengthened
Mahler's

alterations

intentions. With

brass with Mahler's addition of the horns

in F, doubling

the horns

inB-flat

Inaddition, the

inbars 58-59 is cut out by Mahler so that itdoes not


brief rhythmic figure inthe bassoons
interfere with imitative entries of the motive. The horns thus play a significant role inthe
of this passage in stretto. A similar passage in stretto using the
derived from the primary theme occurs inbars 281-289 (Ex. 3a). This section
voices
displays one of the most extensive reworkings by Mahler. Schumann's non-melodic
a
at
full
with
chords
for
bar.
held
least
Mahler
retains
the
sustained
accompany
generally
structural

intensification

same motive

horns, trumpets and woodwind


strings and timpani, but makes the accompanying
play
an important role in the imitative dialogue, as can be observed
in Ex. 3b. He doubles
the flute melody with oboes and clarinets playing in a higher register, and their motive
is
pitted against horns, trumpets and bassoons. The various entries become more distinct
inMahler's rescoring, building greater tension and enhancing the structural shape of the
in the context of the increased complexity
of the larger romantic
passage, especially
is used once again at the start of
orchestra.55 As noted above, the same dotted motive
the recapitulation (bars 317-322), where the solo horns are reinforced by Schumann with
as
alto, tenor and bass trombones. On this occasion, Mahler removes the trombones,
in his 1841 print. With
valve horns in place, Mahler probably
of the solo horns by trombones was not necessary.
that the reinforcement
Schumann

had done

Mahler's

re-touching of the brass parts inthe final movement


Our first example, taken from this movement,

found

of the

'Spring' Symphony
may be found towards
the end of the exposition
is presenting
(bars 81-86, Ex. 4a, b). At this point, Schumann
are
All
thematic
material.
the
orchestral
forces
Schumann's
orchestral
secondary
engaged.
writing here reveals his aim to extract a large, rich and distinctive sound from a small
is noteworthy.

orchestra

which

successfully by allowing the strings to double the winds with


ineighth notes, and by reinforcing the bass linewith bassoons, basses
Mahler obviously felt that the scoring was too dense and the bass line

isachieved

pitches reproduced
and bass trombones.

so he omits the alto, tenor and bass


too prominent within a larger, complex orchestra,
as well as the timpani. He also makes substantial changes to the trumpets,
trombones
instruments
only possible because of the greater flexibility of the valve trumpet. These
and no longer double the horns as in the Schumann ori
melodically
Mahler restores
ginal, but present the second theme as found in the clarinets. When
and timpani in bar 87, the conclusion of the exposition
Schumann's trombones
continues
are treated more

5455.

Finson,

p. 130.
so that they double
Eventually, Mahler changes the bassoons
heard brilliantly above this in bars 290-294.

the

cellos

and basses

and the

strings

are

Veronica Mary

94

Example

3a: Schumann

281

Fagotti

Trombe inB

Trombone
Alto et Tenor

Trombone
basso

Timpani

(original).

Symphony

No

1,movement

1, bars 281-286.

Franke

Mahler's Reorchestration

Example

3b: Schumann

28I

Fagotti

Trombone
Alto et Tenor

Trombone
basso

Timpani

Triangolo

L .

of Schumann's

(Mahler

version).

95

'Spring' Symphony, Op. 38

Symphony

No

1,movement

1, bars

281-286.

Veronica Mary

96

Franke

a greater sense of culmination.


It is clear that Mahler is tailoring this passage to ac
commodate
instruments of the late nineteenth
the timbre and disposition of orchestral
he would undoubtedly
have
century. Had Schumann had access to a bigger orchestra
revised the passage along similar lines to the ones that guided Mahler.

with

of the Finale (bars 146-152) Schumann presents a varied version


in the strings reinforced by alto and tenor trombones whilst the

Inthe development
of the principal theme

chords. Mahler places this theme,


in addition, in the
play extended
trumpets
(which in the original are either resting or sustaining a single pitch), allowing
a
more
is undeniably given more rhythmic bite
them
soloistic role. Whilst
the theme
winds

accompanying

inmind that the chromatic notes used by Mahler in


and emphasis,
it should be borne
this passage were not available on the natural trumpet at the time Schumann wrote the
symphony. Later, towards the conclusion of the recapitulation
(bars 258-265), Schumann
uses the subordinate theme
in the full orchestra. Here the strings double the wood
in eighth notes. The brasses, for the most part, fill in the
wind with pitches reiterated
reinforcing horns. Mahler changes the trumpet
harmony, with trumpets
now
the
clarinet
line, underlining the secondary thematic
duplicate
they
creating a new balance of sound. Again, Mahler makes these adjustments
mechanical

and acoustical

not at Schumann's

improvements

to the trumpet,

parts so that
material and

light of
and
involving range
pitches
in the

disposal.

purposes oc
Perhaps the most apt example of Mahler using the brass for melodic
curs in the coda of the Finale (Ex. 5a and 5b). From bar 311 Schumann employs the full
orchestra. The cellos and basses present the main thematic material, supported
by the
of the orchestra.

remainder

Yet again, Schumann attempts to derive


through the use of many instruments

sound from a smaller ensemble


for support.
presented

The

on woodwinds

reiterated

triplet figurations
by the remaining strings also contribute
to the texture, while the extended
brass

a sense

a large symphonic

sounding together
and the tremolo chords

of

increased

activity

and

to
considerably
harmonic background. Mahler cuts out all filling-in notes of the alto, tenor
and allows these instruments instead to present entries of the main
and bass trombones
sonority
the sustained

thematic material with

rests

instruments. This alteration

chords

interspersed: consequently,
reinforces the main theme,

contribute

they no longer act as background


originally presented by the cellos

of an
the accompaniment
alone, enabling the melodic entries to penetrate
is
melodic
The
result
of
these
greater
changes
precision, highlighting
enlarged orchestra.56
the wider techniques
and possibilities of a
the end of the coda whilst accommodating
instruments.
bigger ensemble with expanded
strings and improved brass
and basses

56.

Inaddition,
them with
parts.

these

entries

the horns

later receive

in F (bars 321-322,

support Mahler gives


greater prominence
through the additional
the trombone
In these bars the horns duplicate
and 325-326).

Mahler's Reorchestration

of Schumann's

97

'Spring' Symphony, Op. 38

to string orchestration. The strings have the fewest alterations. One significant
is found at the opening of the Larghetto. Here the initial theme
is given by
example
in the basses, and softly
Schumann to the first violins only, with a harmonic counterline

4. Changes

moving syncopated chords in the inner voices. Mahler probably felt that the long canta
bile melody was scored too thinly to be effective against the increased resonance of the
modern orchestra's enlarged string section. He reinforces the primary theme by giving
it to both first and second violins, transferring the original accompaniment
of the second
violins to the violas divisi. This small change adds to the existing richness of texture and
of the symphony.
In the remaining
instrumental colour of this outstanding movement
instances where Mahler combines first and
movements
there are a number of other
the unison or at the octave?in

to sharpen the outline of a


principal theme, and to loosen the string texture by reducing the number of accompa
a single bar only.57
nying parts; but these are very brief, most often encompassing
second

violins?at

order

5. Dynamic adjustments & rethinking of phrasing and articulation. It is frequently stressed


that Schumann's own expression marks are quite inadequate. Almost as ifto compensate,
the score.
Mahler pays punctilious attention to dynamic details, and perhaps over-edits
every page of the score has changes such as < > or < for > p marks. Example
6a and 6b illustrate this clearly. These extreme
fluctuations of dynamics, however, follow

Almost

the

later tradition

orchestral

ofWagner
musicians to play.

and Liszt, who

specified

in detail what

they required

the

In tutti passages marked ff Mahler frequently marks the brass instruments down a
to create a suitable balance, as in the passage at the opening of the Allegro
in
the first movement
which
ismarked ffor full orchestra. Mahler marks the brass down
notch

to mfand

retains the ffor the remainder of the orchestra.


By toning down the brass
a
he maintains
balance against the 'modern'
instruments, which fill in the harmonies,

into greater relief. Also,


in bars 69-75 ?f
throwing the thematic material
movement
the first
Mahler alters the original f of the woodwind
and brass to fp while
the strings continue with ff so that the accompanying material of the first two groups is
instruments,

prevented from drowning the strings. Inthe second movement


(bars 41-55), Schumann
as 'piano'. Mahler leaves the melody
marks both the cello part and its accompaniment
instruments down to pp.
'piano' but marks all the accompanying

57-

in the Finale in
and 336-337 of the first movement.
See, for instance, bars 69-70,128-29,332-333,
Also,
bars 29-30 and again in bars 204-205
the violas (which play sustained
notes
in the Schumann
original)
are made
to duplicate
the violins
in the Mahler version.
in bars 11-14, ar|d 188-89 of the
Interestingly,
in the Schumann
the violin IIpart, which
violin I,allowing them
Finale, Mahler deletes
original doubles
to rest for the most
Iparts alone.
is carried by the violin
part. Thus the main theme

Veronica Mary

98

Example

4a; Schumann

8l

(Original).

Symphony

n rrn ?

No

1,movement

JJ

4, bars 81-89.

i - t^ ?

Franke

Mahler's Reorchestration

of Schumann's

'Spring Symphony, Op. 38

? ??ij

Timp.

Veronica Mary

100

Example

4b: Schumann

(Mahler

version).

Symphony

No

1,movement

Fagotti

Trombone
Alto et Tenor

Trombone
basso

Timpani

4, bars 81-89.

Franke

Mahler's Reorchestration

Timp.

of Schumann's

'Spring' Symphony, Op. 38

101

Veronica Mary

102

Mahler

Franke

also takes enormous

care to regulate
in
lengthy Crescendi and diminuendi
as Schumann approa
detail than Schumann. Thus in the first movement,

much

greater
ches the Allegro, there isa build-up of tension through bars 21-39. These bars are marked
...
... With Mahler this becomes
... crescendo
...
ff
ppp
pp
by Schumann p crescendo
an evenly distributed
ff This makes the build-up more effective and generates
mf...
increase in the volume of sound. Also, in the last nine bars of the exposition of the Finale,

Schumann has p eres. dim. p dim., but Mahler inserts p cresc. dim. pp morendo pppp. In
this passage the wholesale
elimination of the bass trombone, which doubles the basses
in the original, as well as the removal of the horns in the final three bars, also contribute
to the pianissimo

effect.

inthe Schumann original these extre


fffand ppp abound whereas
mes are rare. Mahler's markings can lead to sudden and exaggerated
dynamic contrasts,
are
as
not consistent with Schumann's general orchestral
in the coda of the
which
style,
InMahler's version

from the come sopra ma un poco pi? lento section to the


quasi presto conclusion, Mahler changes the original pp-mf into ppp-ff creating a much
more striking and dramatic effect.
Scherzo.

Here,

at the transition

Interms of articulation, Mahler adds very explicit phrasing marks, many rests (particu
larly inthe strings), fresh staccato markings, accents and slurs, as well as extensive bowing
In the Scherzo especially he intensifies
marks, and breathing marks for the woodwind.
the original staccato effect by introducing many short rests and turning
quavers, both lightening the effect and driving the music forward.

crotchets

into

All of the above adjustments to dynamics and articulation reveal Mahler's attention to
detail, clarity and precision, and are products of his intense interpretative
imagination as
a conductor. One may argue, however, that whilst Mahler's dynamic effects are indeed
instinctively readjust these in a similar fashion.
pertinent, a good conductor would
Finally, what Mahler does not do is also of interest. Firstly, he does not increase the
range of instruments for which Schumann scores. Secondly, there are no alterations to
the tempo orto the metre of the symphony. Moreover, Mahler refrains from making any
its thematic development.
Thus,
change to the form and structure of the symphony orto
at no point are we forced to hear Schumann speak in the voice of Mahler. Mahler's aim
intention down to itsminutest manifestations.
is to pursue Schumann's
he prefers to make
of cases, referred to in the above five categories,
order to achieve a subtle restoration of the tonal balance.

In the majority
in
small changes

Mahlers

Example

Reorchestration

5a: Schumann

311

Fagotti

Trombone
Alto et Tenor

Trombone
basso

Timpani

of Schumann's

(Original).

Symphony

'Spring' Symphony, Op. 38

No

1,movement

4, bars 311-318.

103

io4

Example

Veronica Mary

5b: Schumann

311

317

Fagotti

Trombe inB

Trombone
Alto et Tenor
Jpcresc.

Trombone
basso

Timp.

Timpani

(Mahler

Franke

version),

Mahler's Reorchestration

Symphony

313

Timp.

No

1,movement

of Schumann's

4, bars

311-318.

'Spring Symphony, Op. 38

105

io6

Veronica Mary

Example

6a: Schumann

(Original).

Symphony

No

i, movement

Franke

1, bars 97-106.

3. Conclusion
As

it stands,

obstacles
cohesive

Schumann's

thematic

to their comprehension.
and imaginative

structure

inOp. 38 hardly present


design and orchestration
In respect of formal content, the symphony has a
ideas. Finson has shown

convincingly that the work


displays a remarkable degree of thematic
integration which was systematically and de
Schumann's
of architectonic
"notion
form."58 Roesner also
liberately planned, revealing
of the 'Spring' guarantees
emphasizes that the organic unity between movements
logical
coherence
and clarity of the symphony's content. Furthermore,
she states that: "in the
three symphonies that follow Op. 38, Schumann
intensifies his quest for total integration
of the musical material."59 "The degree of structural creativity attained and sustained

58.

Finson,

59.

Roesner,

"Robert

Schumann

"Schumann,"

p. 49.

and the Study

of Orchestral

Composition,"

chapter

2.

Mahlers

6b: Schumann

Example

in these
when

of Schumann's

Reorchestration

(Mahler

four works",

version).

Roesner

Symphony

No

1, movement

1, bars 97-106.

is "impressive by any standards, but particularly


a
of
symphonic tradition after Beethoven."60

affirms,

in the context

considered

'Spring' Symphony, Op. 38

of Op. 38 show Schumann


regard to orchestral
language, all four movements
in
of
and
resourceful
his
the
orchestral
palette. This may be observed
inspired
handling
in his effective conversational
interchanges between
strings and winds, such as in the
first trio from the scherzo, or in his expressive and imaginative writing for bassoons and
With

trombones,
the coda

as

in the transition

to the fourth movement

articulate a slow-moving
chords in the woodwinds.

6o.

Roesner,

between

p. 67.

the second

or during
to
he uses the trombones

and third movements,

(bars 306-311), where


over
tremolo figures in the strings and accompanying
melody
The variety of Schumann's orchestral
imagination is displayed

107

io8

Veronica Mary

Franke

inthe second movement where the three appearances of the principal theme
extensively
are orchestrated
in strikingly different and remarkable ways: the first time played by the
violins, the second by the cellos, and the third inventively assigned to unison solo oboe
statements

and solo horn; all three

supported by increasingly rich and elaborate


string
new
The
solo
oboe
and
in
for
the
deve
clarinet
passages.
poignant
unexpected
melody
followed a little later by a passage for solo woodwinds
lopment of the first movement

and triangle also reveal colourful scoring, as does the poetic flute cadenza, heralded by
a melancholy
theme on oboe and pianissimo horn calls, that appears shortly before the
in the finale. Schumann's wonderful
is illustrated
recapitulation
feeling for the orchestra
most

inthe final accelerando coda to the symphony where the horns, trum
emphatically
and
trombones
make strident references to the rhythm of the symphony's opening
pets
'motto' bringing the work to a triumphant conclusion.

It is also apparent from recent studies of Schumann's sketches61 that he knew the
orchestra
of a
intimately and that he placed a great deal of weight on "the conception
a
as
art
a
in
work
of
which
ele
fundamental
symphony
sonority forms
compositional
ment."62 Finson has documented
emphasized
conducted

that the

Schumann's

innumerable

empirical method of scoring Op. 38 and has


of the 'Spring' arranged and sometimes
performances

to polish the score.63


by Schumann himself provided valuable opportunities
over
a
Schumann's cumulative revision
ten-year span visibly displays his clearly defined
to
and
the idiosyncratic features of his scoring. Most
orchestration,
objectives
pertaining
a
is Schumann's desire to obtain from a small orchestra
significant, Finson emphasizes,
sense of intense activity and a rich, powerful orchestral
use
the
of
sonority through
techniques,
including repetitive
string figurations, doublings of supporting voices, and
closely spaced parts inmiddle registers.64 At the same time, it is clear that Schumann
was

concerned

with

preserving textural clarity by reinforcing his melodic writing


and adjusting the balance. This is seen in his copious reworkings of the score of Op. 38
involving clarification and reduction of activity of accompanying
figurations, deletion of
sustained chordal accompaniments,
of me
reviewing of doublings, and reassignments
deeply

lodies.65 Recognition
of these goals, and of Schumann's procedures
aimed at achieving
them, enables us to dispel the notion that he was insensitive to orchestral colour. Similarly,
in the structure of orchestras
since Schumann's time
recognition of the transformation
exonerates

Schumann

from the charge that his scoring was


thematic content.

so 'thick' 'muddy' and 'clumsy'

as to obscure

in texture

6i.

See

62.

Finson,

63.

Finson,

chapters

64.

Finson,

pp. 76-82.

65.

Finson,

pp. 82-91,

Finson,

"Robert

Schumann

and the Study

p. 67.
3-5.
and pp.

108-115.

of Orchestral

Composition,"

chapters

3-5.

Mahler's Reorchestration

of Schumann's

'Spring' Symphony, Op. 38

109

Gardiner's

in the field of performance


pioneering work
practices also proves conclu
not
that
Schumann
did
his
orchestration
of
sively
misjudge
Op. 38 and that his instru
is not "so thick and dull that if itwere played as he marked
mentation
it, nothing of any
meaning would
of the original

be given out by the orchestra."66 Gardiner demonstrates


that replication
instruments, of bowing styles, and of phrasing and articulation, as well as

the spatial deployment


of the orchestral players of the Leipzig Gewandhaus
orchestra of
the 1840s, all play a significant part inthe creation of an idiomatic approach to Schumann's
orchestral world. Such period performances
evince awareness of Schumann's
intuitive
and imaginative capabilities as an orchestral composer, and show that Schumann's
finely calculated to suit the qualities of the orchestra of his day.67

scoring

was

In conclusion:

have persistently made reference to Mahler's rescoring


musicologists
as
a
means
of justifying not only Weingartner's
observations
symphonies
own
but their
critical views. On the contrary, Mahler's 'emendations' endorse Schumann's
of Schumann's

aspirations, placing them in a positive rather than a pejorative


light. It is clear
that Mahler greatly admired Schumann's symphonies, and did not revise them with a view

orchestral

to exposing Schumann as a 'bad' or'deficient'


orchestrator.68 His retouchings strengthen
and highlight qualities that already exist within Schumann's musical structure and orches
tral style, always allowing Schumann's original purpose to stand out unmistakably.
They
are undoubtedly
we
on
insist
if
with
modern
orchestral
appropriate
performing Op. 38
inthe light
symphonies, as he did Beethoven's,
of an enlarged ensemble. Mahler took advantage of the developments
inthe instruments
and of the vastly expanded
themselves
section
in
such
orchestras.
If,on the other
string
forces, since Mahler

revised the Schumann

hand, we take into account


half the size of the orchestra

the fact that the orchestra

Schumann wrote

for was

about

of today, and adopt the latest suggestions


a
of
in the size of the orchestra,
reduction
comparable

(of Finson, Jenson


and Gardiner)
using period ins
truments and techniques,
then it is indeed true that criticism of Schumann's orchestral
sense and technique would
"diminish in their ferocity," if not completely
undeniably
The
remains
the highly individual and effective work of a
evaporate.
'Spring' Symphony
composer

66.
67.

whose

symphonic

the Weingartner
It is clear that the

See

specific
Fourth

orchestra

claims are still lamentably undervalued.

in "The Symphony Writers,"


earlier, and found
passage
quoted
pp. 36-37.
nature of Schumann's
was dependant
orchestration
of the
upon the capabilities
at his disposal.
For example,
the heavier scoring encountered
in the revision of his
be attributed
to the small, inferior orchestra
at D?sseldorf.
may almost
certainly

Symphony
to Plantiga (in "Romantic Music," p. 244) the thicker
According
orchestra
the
inD?sseldorf."
conducted
by
[Schumann]
68.

Mahler

scoring masked

the

"unreliable

playing

was

about
Schumann's
He frequently
included these works
very enthusiastic
symphonies.
concerts.
orchestral
La Grange
"Mahler spoke
(in "Mahler," vol. 1, p. 499) emphasizes:
Schumann's
'marvellous'
He was astonished
that Wagner
had not understood
symphonies.

in his own
about

and admired

them. Perhaps
he [Wagner]
had heard a bad
him the wrong
In any case, he had caused
impression.
thus felt free to despise
Schumann."
disciples who

given

'incomprehensible'
a lot of harm by

that had
performance
his sheeplike

influencing