Tag Archives: Gustav

Deryck Cooke Lives

The voice of legendary critic and musicologist Deryck Cooke has officially been recovered from the depths of the BBC’s tape archives.

On December 10, 1960, the Third Programme (now Radio 3) aired Cooke’s lecture-demonstration on his first realization (with the assistance of composer Berthold Goldschmidt) of Mahler’s Symphony No. 10 followed by a performance of the near-complete realization by the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Goldschmidt. This program has long circulated privately among Mahler enthusiasts. Testament Records has just released a newly remastered edition of the broadcast under license from the Beeb — along with a live Proms performance of the completed first realization (with further assistance from David and Colin Matthews) on August 13, 1964 by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Goldschmidt.

I’ve just put disc one on the CD player, and can attest to a huge improvement in sound quality over any privately circulated version I’ve run across. I will have much more to say about this release in the next few days. And here’s something else Mahlerites and admirers of Cooke might find interesting.

 

Maddening Mahler

I’ve said it before, and it bears repeating: conductor Valery Gergiev is uneven, arguably the most inconsistent major conductor on the international scene. When he’s at his best, he’s sensational.

And yes, I can understand that Gergiev + Mahler + the London Symphony Orchestra = sold-out venue, in this case Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center this afternoon. The problem is that the formula is not necessarily good for the music itself. And though the LSO played brilliantly for teh most part, Gergiev’s sometimes micromanaged, sometimes messy, and completely erratic way with Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 undermined the work’s fury, made too elegant outbursts of rage in the third movement, and completely missed the Kubler-Ross-like home stretch from grief to acceptance. I’ve seen memorable performances of this work under Maazel (with the Cleveland Orchestra during my college years) and Haitink (with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra), but if anything, the present performance made me miss the great Klaus Tennstedt more than ever.

‘Cast from the Past: Deryck Cooke on an “Authentic” Mahler Tradition

Shortly after the 1962 release of Otto Klemperer’s EMI/Columbia (UK) recording of Mahler’s Symphony No.4, musicologist Deryck Cooke recorded a program for the BBC Third Programme comparing Klemperer’s recordings to others, particularly Bruno Walter and Willem Mengelberg, in search of an “authentic” interpretive approach to Mahler.

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