Mahler: Symphony No. 10 (realised Cooke)

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LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Symphony No. 10 (realised Cooke)
PERFORMER: BBC Philharmonic/Gianandrea Noseda


Many conductors who ought to know better still exclude Deryck Cooke’s performing version of the Tenth from their Mahler canon, but Gianandrea Noseda uses it to inaugurate his Mahlerian credentials on disc (as did Simon Rattle with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra back in 1980). He coaxes playing from his BBC Philharmonic of unforced beauty, keeping the lines alive in the more monumental portions of the outer movements and lining the string sound with handsome horn and trombone chords, assisted by the luminous Manchester recording. Feral forces are kept mostly in check through the first three movements – with the exception, of course, of the great dissonance, resonantly capped by the BBC Philharmonic’s first trumpeter – but are finally unleashed in the fourth, Mahler’s last self-styled dance with death before the ultimate resolution. In the interplay between soft dynamics and ‘big tone’ as Mahler’s love of life reasserts itself, Noseda and his orchestra ultimately touch greatness. The strings may not quite have the muscle of Rattle’s Berlin Philharmonic, and for the last swell of violin sound as Mahler declares his undying love for Alma, Chailly and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra (Decca) still take the breath away like no other version. But the special incandescence of this performance remains companionable throughout. It’s handsomely presented, with a long essay by David Matthews, who worked with Cooke on the original version and its several revisions. David Nice