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  • Mahler: Symphony No. 10 (Reconstructed by Joe Wheeler)
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Mahler: Symphony No. 10 (Reconstructed by Joe Wheeler)

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Audio CD, June 18, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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The musical reconstructions industry keeps gathering pace, but few works have attracted as much attention as Mahler's 10th Symphony. Joe Wheeler (who died in 1977) was a brass-playing British civil servant with a passion for Mahler. This completion (itself in an edition by the conductor here, Robert Olson) uses the leaner orchestration of the composer's later years. But does it sound Mahlerian? Certainly more so than Remo Mazzetti's 1997 version, but neither caps Deryck Cooke's acute sense of authentic detail and color in his legendary edition.

Still, this is a recommendable release--at its bargain price. The string sound takes the ear--impressively full, if sometimes a notch too sweet. This raises again the questions of whether Mahler's manic side needs pointing up, and how far performances of the 10th have to drive home his sense of impending death and the tragedy of his wife's unfaithfulness. It's a matter of taste. The best buy remains Simon Rattle's Berlin Philharmonic performance. --Andrew Green



Product Details

  • Performer: Gustav Mahler, Robert Olson, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • Audio CD (June 18, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • Run Time: 79 minutes
  • ASIN: B00006669V
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #344,733 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By MartinP on June 26, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The Mahler X industry just keeps booming! This disc, with the Wheeler version, comes right on the heels of the latest Cooke version by Rattle and of the Mazzetti version by Lopez-Cobos. Its booklet notes are exemplary, while at the same time constituting an entertaining illustration of this peculiar branch of musicological expertise. No less than three experts are rallied together to vindicate this work's progress out of limbo. Just how far specialism has evolved is finely demonstrated by Olson, the conductor, who did some final editing on the Wheeler score and now worries that the listener may wonder how much of what he hears is Wheeler, and how much is Olson. Apparently we have finally moved completely beyond the question how much of it is Mahler (the composer, remember).
After Cooke, Cooke II, Mazzetti, Mazzetti II and Carpenter, do we really need a Wheeler version of this work? Well, whatever the artistic verdict on his efforts, Wheeler can hardly be accused of piling Ossa on Pelion, because he was actually the very first to produce a finished edition. That in itself seems to entitle him to a hearing. And like the Cooke, Wheeler's edition is one that you can hardly argue with, because it stays very close to the sketches, adding as little as possible. So all doubting Thomases out there, who weren't sure of Mahler X, now have a great opportunity to enrich their musical life and re-evaluate their appreciation of Mahler (be warned: it may be a shock to some to find that the convenient closure provided by the Ninth's `farewell to life' in truth is nothing of the kind!). Naxos's pricing is low risk as ever, and one could do worse orchestra-wise than with the Polish N.O. Their horn section deserves special mention: it is superb and would do the greatest of orchestras proud.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By DrakeCKC on July 21, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I own most of the Mahler 10th recordings available. I have loved this work since I was introduced to it as a teenager, quite a few years ago now. Until this release I had not heard the Wheeler version. It had been dismissed for so long as "incomplete", "underdeveloped", "sparce" or "simple" giving an impression of a boring, academic reconstruction of this incredible Symphony. Far from the truth! I think it is closer to Mahler's thoughts, and continues Mahler's trend to more economical scoring and texture. Most of the reconstructions have their merits (maybe not Mazzetti's hideous first attempt) and Wheeler/Olson has many. Great performance with a few minor flaws but a must for Mahler 10th fans and a great intro at a bargain price for those wanting to explore this masterpiece.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 24, 2006
Format: Audio CD
It's a pity that editors such as Carpenter and Wheeler aren't around, so that we can find just how much of what happens in these kinds of recordings are due to what they - "they" being the editors - wanted, and what is simply a matter of the conductor's own perogative. Either way, we have to live with the results. I really feel that Joseph Wheeler's is the weakest of all the completions recorded so far. I like his quicker tempi (or Olson's) for the two scherzo movements. But Wheeler's first scherzo has a fair amount of unidiomatic percussion writing for late Mahler, especially with the snare drum and bass drum; not to mention Wheeler's strange underemployment of the low pitch instrumets: double basses, tuba, bass clarinet, contrabassoon, etc. In other words, it's very light in the bass. The second scherzo is also relatively quick, but also wants in good-old modern German "expressionism"; especially in regards to the sudden outbursts towards the end of the movement. Worse of all, is Wheeler's very awkward transition from the fourth movement, into the (formerly) slow introduction that begins the fifth movement. He links them with two bass drum strokes, as Mahler indicates, but they're placed right next to each other (I think Rattle has proven that a single stroke is better). That is to say, Wheeler (Olson? Naxos?) hardly waits at all before making the second stroke on the drum. Stranger yet, is the real fast tempo for the ascending lines that Mahler had clearly indicated to be played by a solo tuba; now replaced by the double basses. It's hard to guess what Wheeler was trying to get at here.Read more ›
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rodney W. Helt on March 19, 2007
Format: Audio CD
After reading all the earlier reviews by listeners, I felt compelled to add my thoughts to the list. My favorite Mahler X remains BBC's Wigglesworth Cooke II version live recording. Olson's present studio version becomes my favored non-live take. Olson's credentials are above reproach. He is the conductor for Colorado's annual Mahlerfest in Boulder. This recording struck me as a committed, very personal, and honest rendition. I would like to hear more of this conductors Mahler. I understand that his Mahlerfest live recordings are available via the festival's web page. I think that his work here deserves respect.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By S. J. Snyder on January 24, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Although the Cooke has things to like about it (I'll pass on the Carpenter and have not heard the Mazzetti), after getting the chance to listen to the Wheeler for the first time, I became convinced this is the best overall realization. It does have a starkness that points it toward the post-tonal 20th century.

That said, I wouldn't be surprised if somebody comes out with a "Wheeler 2," trying to nuance it with some of the best features of Cooke.

Now, as for the sound quality. I believe most the problems here, such as the weak bass drum in the "death knell," is due to recording/engineering quality of this CD. Part of it may also be due to this particular orchestra and conductor.

That said, I would LOVE to hear Boulez record this. I'm sure the result would be his best Mahler ever.
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