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Mahler: Symphony 10 (Wheeler version) [CD]

Gustav Mahler , Robert Olson , Polish National Radio Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 5.04 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Orchestra: Polish National Radio
  • Conductor: Robert Olson
  • Composer: Gustav Mahler
  • Audio CD (13 May 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B00006669V
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 146,260 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Symphony No. 10 in F sharp minor (Wheeler, 1966 version): I. AdagioPolish National Radio Symphony Orchestra26:21Album Only
Listen  2. Symphony No. 10 in F sharp minor (Wheeler, 1966 version): II. First scherzoPolish National Radio Symphony Orchestra12:01Album Only
Listen  3. Symphony No. 10 in F sharp minor (Wheeler, 1966 version): III. Purgatorio oder InfernoPolish National Radio Symphony Orchestra 4:320.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Symphony No. 10 in F sharp minor (Wheeler, 1966 version): IV. Second scherzoPolish National Radio Symphony Orchestra12:09Album Only
Listen  5. Symphony No. 10 in F sharp minor (Wheeler, 1966 version): V. FinalePolish National Radio Symphony Orchestra23:53Album Only

Product Description


The musical reconstructions industry keeps gathering pace, but few works have attracted as much attention as Mahler's Tenth 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) utilises the leaner orchestration of the composer's later years. But does it sound Mahlerian? Certainly moreso than Remo Mazzetti's 1997 version, but neither caps Deryck Cooke's acute sense of authentic detail and colour in his legendary edition.

Still, this is a recommendable release--at its bargain price, that is. The string sound takes the ear--impressively fulsome if sometimes a notch too sweet, perhaps. This raises again the questions of whether Mahler's manic side needs pointing up, and how far performances of the tenth have to drive home his sense of impending death and the tragedy of his wife's unfaithfulness. It's a matter of taste. Personally I found this well-played and well-paced, but marginally underpowered in emotional terms and somewhat lacking in light and shade. And where was the heart-stopping sense of resigned desolation in the famous last-movement flute solo? The best-buy remains Rattle's Berlin Philharmonic performance.--Andrew Green

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another view of Mahler's tenth... 11 Aug 2005
Format:Audio CD
Mahler's tenth symphony was left incomplete at his death. Two movements (the first and the third) were in complete form and the remaining three were in short score, needing only to have the orchestration filled out.
By far the most famous completion of this symphony is Deryck Cooke's version so capably performed by Simon Rattle.
This is an update of Joe Wheeler's version.
It doesn't have the drama of the Cooke/Rattle take, but it has a more lyrical feel though the two scherzos have plenty of bite.
If you are a Mahlerian, then you need to own both versions.
For others the choice between the two is more difficult. This version has the obvious advantage of price and greater accesibility. The other has the advantage of being conducted by one of the finest living conductors (Simon Rattle). It is a close call as Robert Olson is no mean conductor.
The extensive sleeve notes are excellent, even by Naxos' high standards.
The recording quality is excellent, one of Naxos' best.
We have no way of knowing what this would have sounded like had Mahler had time to finish it, but the two versions discussed both make for a fitting summation of Mahler's symphonic tradition, a much more satisfying ending than his troubled ninth.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Version and the Performance - could do better! 14 Jan 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The 10th is paradoxically Mahler's most emotionally complete symphony. Born in a furnace of personal upheaval it represents in the final movement, after a life-long quest, Mahler's arrival in a haven of peace.

This is a clear-headed and well played version of the symphony. But I cannot understand why any conductor of this beautiful score would even consider using a version other than the late Deryck Cooke's 'performing edition'.

The edition used here is spoiled by an number of miscalculations. In particular the opening of the final movement is muddled and fails to register with the dark foreboding it should convey. The decision to bring the glorious flute melody - did Mahler ever create a more sublime tune! (beautifully played here) - back on the flute, rather than in the strings, at the apex of the movement is another serious miscalculation.

The recording is good, the playing is good but the emotional level is too cool and remote for this deeply felt farewell.
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Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good starting point if you're not sure about Mahler X 26 Jun 2002
By MartinP - Published on Amazon.com
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. The rest of the wind section doesn't yield much to that high standard. Which is more than can be said of the strings, who enliven proceedings with not quite occasional lapses of ensemble and intonation. Nevertheless, they play with conviction and great warmth and fullness of tone. The recording is rather good, much richer than the strangely opaque and lacklustre sound EMI produced for Rattle's latest (and otherwise brilliant) recording in Berlin. However, the biggest moments lack sufficient power, especially in the bass regions. Also, this is yet another of those myriad recordings where the bass drum is generally inaudible, and if audible, sounds like a tenor drum hit with a wooden stick. Which is pretty disastrous at the start of the Finale, where the bass drum is at the core of the drama!
Without a score at hand, it is hard to judge what aspects of the music making itself are true to the Wheeler-edition or rather part of this particular interpretation of it. In general this version seems to share with Mazzetti II a certain chamber-like quality and light-footedness, though here the music emerges more of a piece, less fragmented than on Lopez-Cobos's recording of the Mazzetti edition. Even the opening adagio sounds peaceful and beneficent instead of dark and brooding. As with Mazzetti II, this approach entails the loss of more tormented and demonic aspects of the music. The famous, climactic cluster-chord fails to devastate (and the trumpet soaring above it seems in a bit of a struggle to keep its piercing note going). The `Purgatorio' movement acquires a rustic, almost jolly earthiness that I'm not sure is what Mahler meant. The harrowing spookiness pervading the final pages of Scherzo II and the start of the Finale are also lost on Wheeler (or Olson) - actually, the funereal events opening the Finale are hurried by at an astonishing (and in my view unlikely) allegretto tempo! (Maybe the undertaker had another job waiting?). But then that incredible flute solo emerges and we are on home ground again. The final pages are as moving here as they ever were anywhere, and are themselves reason enough to hear this disc. But then again, this is not the `library choice', so even if you harbour only a slightly more than passing interest in this work, it is worthwhile to invest in a more probing interpretation. You don't need to worry much about editions, because interestingly Cooke, Mazzetti, Wheeler and their permutations, for all their differences in surface detail,in the end all sound very much like the same work. There is, as Alma Mahler tearfully concluded after hearing Cooke's version, `so much Mahler in the score', that the immutable essence of the music is there, pure vintage Mahler. As for recordings, the strangely underrated Chailly on Decca remains my favourite; but if sound quality is not a major concern to you, Rattle's Berlin recording is probably the one to go for.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Growing respect for Wheeler/Olson/Mahler 10th 21 July 2002
By DrakeCKC - Published on Amazon.com
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.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sounds like real Mahler to me. 19 Mar 2007
By Rodney W. Helt - Published on Amazon.com
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm with Santa Fe: sub-par all the way around 25 Dec 2006
By B. Guerrero - Published on Amazon.com
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. Too bad, because his version - and/or Olson's conducting - really comes to life in the faster paced development section, located just before the reprise of the first movement's harrowing, "expressionistic" anti-climax. But just as with the Cooke version (most performances, that is), the last half of the fifth movement falls right back to sleep: limp, prostrate, almost passionless. It almost makes one wonder what all those psychological freakouts earlier on were all about. Naxos' sound quality leaves plenty to be desired as well. The short "Purgatorio" movement, by the way, is done rather well here - slower than usual, and not at all "skipped over" as it almost is on the highly touted Michael Gielen M-X (sorry, not a fan).

Recommendations? I know that many folks feel that the Clinton Carpenter version goes too far in becoming Mahler/Carpenter. But at least Carpenter's orchestration and pastiche composing is more idiomatic of late Mahler, if also conjuring up early Alban Berg at times as well. Regardless, the Andrew Litton recording (Delos) is far better played and recorded than this one. In addition, either recording of either of Mazzetti's two versions is a safe bet (he revised it before the Lopez-Cobos/Cincinnati one). As far as the reliable but also under-cooked Cooke version goes, I think it's darn near impossible to beat the original Eugene Ormandy one - FINALLY reissued on a decent sounding CD. I'm not a big fan of the Barshai version, but it DOES come with a very fine performance of Mahler's fifth symphony - all at a bargain price.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars mixed emotions 15 Jun 2009
By Six Stringer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I really like the first movement of this recording. As pointed out, it is the only "finished" movement. Yes, there are probably some moments in the orchestra's playing that are not quite first rank to ears better trained than mine. However, at the low cost for this recording, the curious first time listener could likely do worse.

I listened to the remaining reconstructed movements. At first I reported that I was unmoved, but having rethought this over the last 24 hours, I must admit that, no, I was moved but experienced guilt for the following reason. Are the final four movements really Mahler in the end?

On the other hand, had he not died so young, how do we know that Mahler would not have revised any of his "complete" works further?
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