Pianist, organist, composer, arranger
Gustav Mahler - Symphony No. 10 for Piano Solo
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) started composition on his Tenth Symphony in July 1910 at his composing hut in the woods outside Toblach, on the Austrian-Italian border. While working on the new symphony Mahler was devastated to discover that his wife Alma was having an affair with the architect Walter Gropius. Much of the piece seems to be an emotional response to the turmoil in Mahler’s life, and the manuscript contains numerous written notations to Mahler’s wife. He sketched a five movement work in a short score format, completing a full orchestration of the first movement, with sketches for the other movements. By January of the next year, Mahler had contracted a serious infection and died in May 1911. The manuscript of the work remained in Alma Mahler’s hands until she allowed publication of it in 1923, and asked Ernest Krenek to prepare a performing edition of the first and third movements. For many years this was the only part of the piece to have been heard, although various private attempts to complete and orchestrate the full work were made. Mahler’s sketches provide the complete basic musical material for the entire work, with much of the melodic and harmonic writing intact. The English musicologist Deryck Cooke prepared a complete version of the Symphony for a BBC lecture broadcast in 1960. Alma Mahler initially demanded a veto on any further performances of the version before changing her mind in 1963 after listening to a recording of Cooke’s work. The first concert performance was given at the BBC Proms in London in 1964, and despite many subsequent revisions, Cooke’s version has become the basis for most performances. This arrangement for piano solo is based on Cooke’s completion, and is in a full, Romantic style, whilst maintaining the beauty and delicacy of the score in a clear, playable arrangement.
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