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David Dalle
Thursday December 20th, 2012 with David Dalle
From Darkness, Light; Mahler's posthumous 10th symphony

My annual tradition around Dec 21st, the darkest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, we hear a dramatic emotional progression from darkness to light expressed in music. This year's dramatic arc mainly comes from Gustav Mahler's 10th symphony, his final composition. From the notes he wrote on the score it is understood as a passionate, and a times despairing, love note for his wife, which took half a century to deliver. A work he started in the summer of 1910 with the intention of completing it during the winter of 1911, a common routine for Mahler. However, the winter of 1911 he spent revising his 9th symphony instead, and he died from an infection in the spring before he could complete his 10th. The 10th was left as a complete continuous draft, but with many details left out and only the first movement fully orchestrated. At first, echoing Constanze Mozart with Mozart's unfinished Requiem, Alma Mahler attempted to have it completed by other composers, this was not fruitful and upon the advice of Bruno Walter she then decided it should remain incomplete. In the late 50's, English musicologist and Mahler specialist Deryck Cooke with collaboration from German composer and conductor Berthold Goldschmidt spent several years preparing a completed version of the symphony. One draft of it was premiered in 1960 in the UK with the Philharmonia orchestra conducted by Goldschmidt. Alma Mahler declared a veto on any further performances of Cooke's version. Until May 1963 when a German-American conductor friend of hers came with Cooke's score and recording of the premiere. She listened to the recording twice in a row. 52 years after Mahler's death, she was hearing his final symphony for the first time, which had the inscription: "Almschi!" "für dich leben! für dich sterben!" (To live for you! To die for you!) written on the final page of the final movement by Mahler. She wrote this letter to Deryck Cooke: "Dear Mr. Cooke, Mr. Harold Byrns visited me here in New York. Today he read me your excellent articles on Mahler's Tenth Symphony and [showed me] your equally authoritative score. Afterwards I expressed my desire to finally listen to the London BBC tape. I was so moved by this performance that I immediately asked Mr. Byrns to play the work a second time. I then realised that the time had come when I must reconsider my previous decision not to permit the performance of this work. I have now decided once and for all to give you full permission to go ahead with performances in any part of the world. Sincerely yours, Alma Maria Mahler" And a few months later Alma Mahler, Gustav Mahler's only love, the source of so much inspiration, happiness and heartache for him during his most productive final decade, was dead. Today we hear Deryck Cooke's final edition of Mahler's 10th from 1976 in a live recording by the great Berlin Philharmonic. This epic five movement symphony echoes the heartache, happiness, and overwhelmingly passion Gustav felt for his wife with extremes of emotions from the darkness and despair of the opening adagio through the complicated, uncertain, unresolved purgatory of the scherzos to the soaring and glorious peace of the final adagio with an ending that easily rivals the great closing adagio of his 9th symphony. One of the most haunting and romantic love stories expressed through music. Enjoy!
Symphony No. 10
Gustav Mahler, prepared by Deryck Cooke/Berliner Philharmoniker, Simon Rattle - Mahler 10 - EMI
La Llorona
Kocani Orkestar - The Ravished Bride - Crammed
Sahara Dreams
Kocani Orkestar - The Ravished Bride - Crammed
A La Luna Yo Me Voy
Afrocubism - Afrocubism - World Circuit/Nonesuch
Franco and TPOK Jazz - Francophonic vol. 2 - Stern's
Interactive CKCU
David Dalle (host)
Merry Christmas, happy and safe holidays to all!

3:58 PM, December 20th, 2012
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