Mahler: Symphony No. 10

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Gustav Mahler left his 10th symphony unfinished, and apart from the complete opening Adagio, the remainder was a collection of semi-scored sketches, cryptic notes and loose pages of score that to the observer seemed like an impenetrable puzzle.

Mahler’s 10th is one of his most moving and personal works. The stabbing dissonant chords in the 1st movement depicted the agony of a heart attack he suffered in New York, and the pain at the death of his eldest daughter. The funeral procession of a dead New York fireman that Mahler saw is also depicted by the drum beat ‘death’ motif. At the end of the work, after one of the most heartfelt farewells in music, Mahler wrote on the score ‘to live for you, to die for you’, and beneath the passage where the violins leap upwards he writes the name ‘Almschi’ – Alma.

Barshai was so struck upon hearing the Adagio (for many years the only part of the work that was performed), that he studied the sketches, and was so impressed by the new musical world Mahler was entering that he made his own edition. Mahler’s vision of Dante’s Divine Comedy, and his Buddhist belief in the eternal return, is revealed clearly in this remarkable performing edition of Mahler’s last will and testament.

Composer: Gustav Mahler
Artists: Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, Rudolph Barshai (conductor)

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Symphony No. 10:
0:00:00 I. Adagio
0:25:59 II. Scherzo
0:37:46 III. Purgatorio. Allegretto moderato
0:42:02 IV. Allegro pesante
0:53:05 V. Finale

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