- Symphony No. 10 in F sharp major (realization by Deryck Cooke)
Despite the interest in Gustav Mahler's unfinished "Symphony No. 10 in F sharp major" generated by the much-publicized and imaginative editions of Clinton Carpenter, Joseph Wheeler, and Remo Mazzetti, Jr., the performing version that has become the most firmly established in the repertoire is Deryck Cooke's fairly conservative completion, which many regard as the closest to the composer's final intentions. It is also the safest pick of the many competing versions, and perhaps Gianandrea Noseda has reason to follow the path of least resistance by playing Cooke's version, since this is his first recording of any Mahler symphony and he's already in a controversial position by making this quirky choice. He is to be applauded for not taking the easy route by starting off with the more predictable "Symphony No. 1" or the "Symphony No. 5," which appear far too frequently to be noticed much anymore. However, the "Symphony No. 10" is unfamiliar to most listeners, and unlikely to draw much attention except from aficionados of the work. As it turns out, Noseda's interpretation with the BBC Philharmonic is not the best argument for the symphony because he conducts it too meticulously and cautiously to make it feel like real Mahler. This is, after all, a work Mahler inscribed with passionate utterances to his wife and paranoid exclamations about dancing with the devil, so it ought to sound more passionate and paranoid than Noseda takes it. If anything, he makes it seem too stiff in the overly precise articulation, emotionally detached in the phrasing, and almost mechanical in its regular tempos and steady pacing, with a dryness of expression that does not sort well with the piece's ardent sentiments (though it works well enough in the ironic passages). Taken as a whole, this rather clinical "Tenth" is not the performance to get; Eugene Ormandy's 1965 premiere recording of Cooke's version on Sony is still unsurpassed, and quite affordable in the Great Performances series.