Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Young Mahler


While on a long cross country drive on Saturday I heard Matthew Herbert's recomposition of Mahler's Tenth Symphony on BBC Radio 3 - there is a valuable video interview with the recomposer here. Kudos to Deutsche Grammophon, who take a lot of stick on this blog, for challenging silly conventions with this new release* which may well appeal to a younger as well as older audience. For me, no more justification is needed for the recomposition than Carl Nielsen's words:
'The right of life is stronger than the most sublime art, and even if we reached agreement on the fact that now the best and most beautiful has been achieved, mankind thirsting more for life and adventure than perception, would rise and shout in one voice: give us something else, give us something new, indeed for Heaven's sake give us rather the bad, and let us feel that we are still alive, instead of constantly going around in deedless admiration for the conventional.'
All of which leads me to the 2 LP set seen above. It is Simon Rattle's first recording of Deryck Cooke's revised performing version of Mahler's incomplete Tenth Symphony, made with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for EMI in 1980 when the conductor was 25. (Deleted CD transfer here). I was involved in bringing this early digital recording to market; when I took the records down from the shelf to play as I write this post, I saw that the following copy, edited by me, is on the packaging:
In his biography of Mahler, Kurt Blaukopf wrote: "Mahler's prophecy 'My time will come' has been fulfilled in the 1960's. Many diverse factors have contributed to this, but perhaps the most decisive of all was the advent of the technically perfected stereo record'".
More young Mahler here while Beethoven is re-envisaged here.

* In an interesting twist I notice that the 37 minute Mahler recomposition is available at a difficult to justify full price on CD or for slightly cheaper on 180gm vinyl. "The advent of the technically perfected stereo record..."

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1 comment:

Scott said...

Well, there is such a thing as coincidence - a few days ago, I transferred my LPs of the 1985 Philadelphia/Ormandy 10th to CD, and listened to it again yesterday. Still sounds very impressive to me. Brisk tempi, but it all works well to my ears.

I believe the Ormandy was Cooke's first performing version, as well as being the first recording of any "completion" of the 10th.

I have Rattle's Berlin verision as well as Chailly, but the Ormandy is most enjoyable.