Unlike the world première of Marteau sans maître (1952-55), that of Tombeau for orchestra (1959), which took place in Donaueschingen on 17 October 1959, passed almost unnoticed - outshone by Pierre Boulez's unexpected triumph as a conductor when he stepped in to replace Hans Rosbaud at the head of the Südwestfunk-Sinfonieorchester. Originally conceived as an individual tribute to Prince Max Egon zu Fürstenberg, who died suddenly in spring 1959, the work was ultimately included in the Pli selon pli cycle (1957-62, 1983, 1990).
To celebrate the composer's 85th birthday and the 50th anniversary of the world première, the Paul Sacher Foundation and Universal Edition have published the two original manuscripts of the score for the first time: the pencil draft and a fair copy in different coloured inks. These fine examples of high-quality reproductions are also the earliest evidence of Boulez's friendship with Paul Sacher. The composer presented the scores to Sacher in the early 1960s. The facsimiles are prefaced by an introduction, which places the work in a historical and aesthetic context and takes a look at the compositional techniques used. It is illustrated by a selection of manuscripts from different stages of the creative process, as well as other related documents.