Thursday, 26 November 2009

Mahler 10

I'm a big Mahler fan - ever since I went to the first night of the Proms in 1975 and, standing up in the gods, I heard Mahler's Eighth. Mahler's Tenth and final symphony was unfinished, although substantially complete in draft form, so any performance is a realisation by someone else. There are several of these, but those by Deryck Cooke are the ones that form the basis of performances today. And you're in no doubt that you're listening to Mahler.

I already have one recording of just the first movement, but last week I read this moving account by Gareth Davies, the principal flautist in the London Symphony Orchestra, of his experience, following the discovery and treatment of cancer. For some time after his return to work he found himself playing great music, yet simply going through the motions and feeling nothing. It was during a performance of Mahler 10 that a switch flicked in his brain. Read the post here.

As a consequence, I've just bought Sir Simon Rattle's Mahler 10 with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, and I'm loving it, especially the flute solo in the last movement.


davidbean said...

Yes, Geoff, that was a wonderful blog last week by Gareth Davies, on his experience in playing Mahler's Tenth some years ago. I was so excited by his account that I bought a ticket on the phone and went to London that very day to hear Davies play that same solo, under the same conductor, Daniel Harding. Time stood still while Davies played that wonderful flute solo. When all was over, Harding left the podium immediately and rushed back to Davies and gave him a tremendous hug. I'll never forget that night. As a bassoonist you might enjoy the following clip from You Tube: It shows the Freiburg Symphony Orchestra playing the Tenth. At minute 3:05 of this clip you will see a red-haired bassoonist with spectacles, who was in the same situation I was in for much of that last movement. My father-in-law sat in those very chairs and played bassoon for 13 years in that orchestra. All the best on your work, and in your enthusiasm for Mahler. Davd Bean,

Geoff Colmer said...

Thanks for your comment David. What a wonderful follow on from Gareth's blog, and definitely a night not to forget! I enjoyed the clip from You Tube and especially the personal association. With all good wishes to you.