Left unfinished at the death of the composer, Gustav Mahler's Tenth Symphony has exerted an enormous fascination on musicologists as well as musicians. Whether fully orchestrated in specific passages, or a sole melody in others, there is one continuous line throughout the surviving manuscript pages and over the years a number of different completions or performing versions have seen the light of day. One of the latest is this 'recreation' of the work for chamber orchestra by composer and conductor Michelle Castelletti.
Amsterdam's Concertgebouw Orchestra has a famous Mahler tradition, dating back to the composer's contemporary Willem Mengelberg. Chailly's 12-CD set of all 10 symphonies (including the last, completed by Deryck Cooke) will add to the lustre. Chailly recorded them over a decade, to a mixed reception. They are comparatively reticent and serious - "de-neuroticised", one reviewer put it - with an emphasis on the integrity of the overall structure rather than the immediate phrase.
For Gustav Mahler, composing his early symphonies meant „building a world”. His Ninth, however, seems more concerned with the deconstruction of this world – a look back, a long farewell. In the draft of his score, he noted words like „O youth! Vanished! O love! Blown away!“. In 1909, his idyllic world was destroyed, having been diagnosed with a heart valve defect two years earlier – a disease that would ultimately lead to his death.
Recorded live in 2016—almost exactly 100 years to the day since Leopold Stokowski conducted The Philadelphia Orchestra in the US premiere of the work—Mahler’s Eighth once again awes and overwhelms. Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s superb musicianship and skill in choral repertoire make this very special indeed. The orchestra plays magnificently, the choirs sing as if their lives depended on it, and the numerous soloists are well chosen, with Erin Wall and Angela Meade the standouts. The recording captures the symphony’s scale as well as its complex spatial demands. A terrific account of a work whose performance still ranks as a major musical event.
Bernstein leads the Wiener Philharmoniker and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra through Mahler's Symphonies Nos. 8-10 and Das Lied von der Erde . Special highlight: the breathtaking vocals on Symphony of a Thousand !
There is no shortage of recordings of Manuel de Falla's El sombrero de tres picos (The Three-Cornered Hat) and El amor brujo (Love, the Wizard), with more on the way, thanks to the centenary of the former in 2019. Even casual listeners may reflect that this delightful work has never, despite plenty of changes in taste in music of the interwar period, fallen out of style. It was on the cutting edge when it was premiered, and yet its fusion of flamenco influences with growing French neoclassicism is irresistible for general symphonic audiences.
Bernstein conducts Mahler's Symphonies Nos. 5-7; Ruckert Lieder, and Kindertotenlieder with the New York Philharmonic and the Wiener Philharmoniker. Nobody interprets Mahler like the brilliant Bernstein!