A powerful and moving document of unforgettable live performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 10 (Deryck Cooke final version), with the Seattle Symphony under its Principal Guest Conductor Thomas Dausgaard.
Of the live performance The Seattle Times wrote, “It was impossible to be in the house and not realize that something rare and significant had taken place.”
This is an exceptional release and could well persuade the dwindling band of doubters who questioned whether Deryck Cooke should have attempted a completion of Mahler’s Tenth to finally accept it as one of the composers most amazing, original and awe inspiring creations. There have been many fine versions to date – including one recorded here at the concert hall for the BBC Music Magazine – but none anywhere near as fervent and authoritative as this one from Thomas Dausgaard and the Seattle Symphony who are outstanding in every way and get deep inside the music.
The version used here is Deryck Cooke’s final revision from 1976. He had been working on the score since the late fifties and it is without doubt the finest of the many attempts to decipher the original. Mahler completed much of the symphony, the rest in short score, principally the last two movements, with clear indications as to instrumentation.
Alma Mahler heard a BBC performance of Cooke’s first draft in the early sixties and approved it, adding that it was undoubtedly true to Mahler, and so calling into question why so many conductors in the early 60s seem to have had a superstitious dread of Cooke’s realisation. Fortunately conductors of the stature of Eugene Ormandy went ahead back then with performances both in concert and on record, further helped by the BBC. Today’s conductors invariably think that the Mahler canon without the Tenth is to ignore one of his most innovative and daring scores, and further showed that it was the impending loss of Alma that haunted him as much as facing death.
Cooke’s genius in revealing the astonishing originality of the score is heard to greatest effect in the last movement - one of Mahler’s most inspired and original creations with its muffled bass drum strokes recalling a fireman’s funeral that Mahler heard in New York in 1910. This is followed by one of the composers most poignant and sublime melodies for flute that clearly expresses his love for Alma, perhaps too late as their relationship was already on the rocks. The muffled bass drum strokes return in the central section followed by a truly awesome and cataclysmic climax that makes one wonder how he would have developed musically had he lived. The symphony closes with the return of the flute theme with the full orchestra in music of heart rending sadness.
'You may be suprised by Thomas Dausgaard's force and conviction as a Mahlerian. This exceptional issue from the Pacific Northwest oughtto be a game-changer for all concerned' Gramophone Magazine CD of the month Awards Issue 2016