Mahler 10 – Noseda

0 of 5 stars

Mahler
Symphony No.10 [Performing Version of Mahler’s draft, prepared by Deryck Cooke in collaboration with Berthold Goldschmidt, Colin Matthews and David Matthews]

BBC Philharmonic
Gianandrea Noseda

Recorded 8-10 August 2007 in Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester


Reviewed by: Christian Hoskins

Reviewed: March 2008
CD No: CHANDOS
CHAN 10456
Duration: 78 minutes

This recording was made just a few days after a performance at the 2007 Proms, an interpretation dogged by some slow tempos and an occasional lack of focus. By contrast, this version is several minutes quicker and finds Gianandrea Noseda bringing a greater level of intensity to the music, not to mention a far more polished contribution from the orchestra.

Noseda opts for Deryck Cooke’s performing edition of Mahler’s Tenth, generally the most successful, although other versions by Wheeler, Carpenter, Barshai and Mazzetti have become increasingly familiar. After Cooke’s death in 1976, his collaborators Colin Matthews, David Matthews and Berthold Goldschmidt made further adjustments to the symphony in light of performing practice, issuing a third and final edition in 1989, which is the version used on this recording, the most conspicuous feature being the absence of the xylophone which had been heard earlier.

Mahler left the fourth movement at an earlier state of composition that the other movements, and this is reflected both in Cooke’s score and to some extent in Noseda’s interpretation. For example, the climactic outburst heard at 2’07” is capped by a cymbal crash, which is missing when the outburst recurs at 4’09” and 10’28”. Rattle amends Cooke’s score in both of his recordings to include the cymbal crash in the subsequent outbursts. Noseda plays the music as written and is less successful at building tension as the movement progresses, despite the quality of the orchestral response he secures. I was also unconvinced by his drawn-out approach to the movement’s waltz episodes.

I’m not sure that Mahler intended the drum strokes which end this movement and commence the finale to be as loud as they are here, but the solo flute’s exquisite melody is convincingly played and Noseda captures the drama of the Allegro moderato at the centre of the movement. As in the first movement, the dissonant climax is strikingly powerful. Noseda is gentle rather than fervent in the serene music that follows.

In terms of the available recordings of Cooke’s performing edition, I would rank Noseda ahead of Ormandy, Chailly and Rattle with the Berlin Philharmonic and complementary to Rattle with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. I’m inclined to think that we are still awaiting a truly-great recorded performance of Mahler 10, but in the meantime Noseda’s recording is very welcome.

Chandos has provided a recording that is superb in its richness and clarity. David Matthews contributes an informative booklet note, explaining his role in the realisation of the symphony.

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