WORKS: Symphony No. 10 (compl. Remo Mazzetti Jr)
PERFORMER: Cincinnati SO/Jesús López-Cobos
CATALOGUE NO: CD-80565
After the unquestionable humility of Deryck Cooke and colleagues in their efforts to give a performing edition of Mahler’s Tenth to the world, I begin to wonder about Remo Mazzetti Jr. Six years on from the ‘world premiere recording’ of his edition from Slatkin on RCA, his second thoughts are in the limelight. In line with the eulogies attached to the earlier recording, the booklet tells us that neither the Cooke, Joe Wheeler or the over-elaborated Clinton Carpenter versions had struck Mazzetti as having ‘captured the essence of Mahler’s music’. But could he hope to get any closer? For a start, many of his elaborations (in the last three of the five movements only) are indebted to Cooke’s example; otherwise there are frequent thickenings of texture and the luxury of deciding how to parcel out themes differently. Towards the end this becomes self-defeating; the sudden intrusion of solo strings into the finale’s dismal introduction and the passing of the last great hymn of thanksgiving from violins to woodwind and back surely break the concentration.
López-Cobos is partly to blame if the result sounds inorganic, gauging the many abrupt changes of mood insensitively and missing the delirious thrust of the good and evil scherzos. Although the Cincinnati strings work hard and enjoy the recording’s helping hand, they never fathom the terrible beauty of the outer movements like Rattle’s Berlin Philharmonic players. Compare notes between Rattle and Slatkin if the question of performing versions exercises your imagination; the chances are that the more austere concentration of Cooke will triumph. David Nice