Some of the unfinished works left behind by renowned composers in particular have always appealed to musicologists and composers born later to complete them. These include works that the composer had set aside before completion, such as Franz Schubert's "Unfinished", and works that the composer could no longer complete due to his death, such as Mozart's Requiem and Bruckner's "Ninth", whose fourth movement was completed several times by a foreign hand. Mahler's 10th Symphony, which is available as a torso and largely only as a sketch from the master's hand, is an extreme among the latter works. The first movement of his Tenth is complete in the original to such an extent that Ernst Krenek did not have too much trouble completing it. Mahler's last work can be heard in this trunk form in the concert hall since decades and forms part of complete Mahler symphony recordings. The first complete version, by the English musicologist Deryck Cooke, was performed on stage in 1964. This version is not really complete, but rather compiled in the sense that Mahler's sketches have been made performable. The tenth in the Cooke version is correspondingly skeletal, sometimes thin, even scrawny. Cooke was followed by numerous attempts, in the form of arrangements, completions, orchestrations and adaptations, to transform Mahler's unfinished symphonic legacy into an audible whole, among others by the Russian conductor Rudolf Barshai with what until recently was probably the most successful arrangement, since it sounded the least skeletal.
Now we have the latest attempt to arrange the forward-looking, partly supernatural beautiful (Adagio!) Mahler symphony into an audible whole with meat on the bone. This time the Maltese conductor and composer Michelle Castelletti was at work on Mahler's sketches, which, like Arnold Schönberg's former revisions of Mahler's works, is produced as a chamber orchestra version based on Cooke and Barshai, sometimes cheekily orchestrating and fully tasting dissonances designed by Mahler, but approaching the original largely idiomatically.
This perhaps most complete, because the closest arrangement to a flesh-to-bone completion by Castelletti's, is something of a steep template for the Finnish performers, the brilliant Lapland Chamber Orchestra under its fantastic artistic director John Storgårds. Both the orchestra and the conductor, specialists in contemporary music, are predestined for a first-class, transparent, detailed and always exciting interpretation of this arrangement of Mahler's last, incompletely inherited symphony with surprisingly set timbres.
Two years ago, the same performers successfully performed this version of the Mahler symphony in the concert hall. May this download, which has been realized with outstanding sound technology, be the occasion for further public performances. Today there exist enough highly qualified, motivated chamber music ensembles for this task all over the world, for example in the form of the excellent Munich Chamber Orchestra, to which John Storgårds is associated as "Artistic Partner".
Lapland Chamber Orchestra
John Storgårds, conductor