CHAPTER IX
JUVENILIA

VERY little of Mahler's early music has survived the holocaust he made of it in later years; and as long as the present lack of a truly critical edition of his preserved works persists it will be difficult to form an adequate opinion of the extent of his creative activities, especially during the years of his adolescence and musical apprenticeship ( 1876-88). That he must have been a prolific composer at times, and one with a gift of naturally flowing melody, may be deduced from the fact that he was nicknamed 'Schubert' by his fellow students and that his crony Hugo Wolf praised his songs and attached greater importance to them than to his own.1 Although there are good reasons for believing that some at least of Mahler's juvenilia are still in existence and in the possession of members of his family, none seems to be known except by name. Natalie Bauer-Lechner mentions more tides than any other biographer, including a Quartet for piano and strings (the autograph of which was lost on a journey to Russia), a Quintet for piano and strings, two early symphonies (one of them in A minor, of which three movements are said to have existed as late as 1896) and the prelude to the planned opera Die Argonauten. Of the piano Quartet two movements, the first and a scherzo, were performed in 1876 and 1878 respectively on the occasion of a prize competition at the Vienna Conservatory and awarded a first prize each.2 A Sonata for violin and piano is also mentioned. Of

____________________
1
See E. Decsey, 'Stunden mit Mahler' ( Die Musik, June-August 1911).
2
See R. Specht, Thematische Analyse der VIII Symphonie ( Universal Edition, No, 3399), pp, 46 ff.

-171-

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