One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,928 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for

3 for 2 Offer

All Forgotten Records Reviews


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets
All Foghorn Reviews

Puertas de Madrid
All EMEC reviews
All EMEC reviews

All Reference Recordings

Eugène Ysaÿe: Violin Discoveries
All Divine Art Reviews

Debussy Complete Preludes



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom
Ph. 020 8418 0616



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

All Chandos reviews

All Hyperion reviews

All Foghorn reviews

All Troubadisc reviews

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

All Lyrita Reviews


Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month


Donizetti - Le Convenienze ed Inconvenienze Teatrali

Chamber Symphonies 2 & 4

French Cello Concertos






CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
Symphony No. 10 in F sharp minor/major (performing edition by Deryck Cooke)
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra/Mark Wigglesworth
rec. live, November 2008, The Arts Centre, Hamer Hall, Melbourne, Australia
ABC CLASSICS/MSO LIVE ABC 476 4336 [77:54]

Experience Classicsonline

An ‘almost is’ or a ‘never was’, Mahler’s Tenth has always divided conductors and critics. The musicologist and broadcaster Deryck Cooke – the first of whose two ‘performing editions’ of the Tenth appeared in 1964 – has always maintained that the symphony belongs in the first category; that said, noted Mahlerians – Georg Solti, Bernard Haitink, Leonard Bernstein and Claudio Abbado among them – remain unconvinced; they have only ever performed the completed Adagio and nothing else. Fortunately others – Wyn Morris, Eugene Ormandy, Michael Gielen and Sir Simon Rattle especially – take the opposite view, and have given us powerful and persuasive readings of these Cooke editions; indeed, Rattle has recording the work twice, first with the Bournemouth Symphony in 1980 and then with the Berliner Philharmoniker in 1999 (both EMI).
Mark Wigglesworth is another advocate of Cooke’s work who’s also recorded the symphony twice. His first account – with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales – was not released commercially but issued as a cover-mounted CD with the BBC Music Magazine (Vol. 2 No. 12). Since then it’s become something of a cult classic, being traded on eBay and much-coveted ‘rips’ made available online. And a fine version it is too, although anyone who has heard Ormandy, Gielen or Rattle may beg to differ. I’ve chosen to compare this new Melbourne recording with Wigglesworth’s earlier one and Rattle’s two; it’s a rough contest, for the passion and commitment of the latter make them very special discs indeed.
Before we begin I urge listeners to read the late Tony Duggan’s masterly analysis of this symphony and his comments on the three Cooke editions; the third, incorporating changes made by Colin and David Matthews, was published in 1989 and forms the basis of both Wiggleworth’s recordings and Rattle’s second. Indeed, this is now the authoritative Cooke version and the one that seems most satisfying, perhaps because it’s less interventionist than its rivals.
For what it’s worth Wigglesworth’s Adagio is marginally slower second time around – 24:35 as opposed to 23:24 – the southern audience far quieter than the asthmatic northern one. Far more striking is the beautifully moulded string playing at the start of the Melbourne performance. This is a pretty good guide of what to expect here, a more carefully cultivated reading that lacks the dramatic edge – raw emotion, even – of his earlier reading. That said, he builds and shapes this movement most effectively, and I was impressed by the passionate intensity he finds here. The new recording is more atmospheric too, woodwind trills and plucked strings superbly caught, but for all its Wunderhorn lightness this Adagio is a little short on shade, that major irruption at 17:25 much less unsettling than it is in Rattle’s hands.
The timings of the first Scherzo – at eleven-and-a-half minutes – are almost identical, but once again it’s the character of the two performances that’s so very different. And even though the BBC recording is closer and less refineD than the ABC one there’s a palpable tension to the earlier performance that makes it feel much more like a live event. One senses also that there’s more of that ambiguous Mahlerian conviviality and suppleness of rhythm/phrasing here than there is in the later account. Curiously, the same could be said of the two Rattle recordings; for all the sophistication and polish of the Berlin performance the well-recorded Bournemouth one has a rough, elemental energy that never ceases to thrill and unnerve me.
At the start of the Purgatorio Wigglesworth and his Welsh band phrase more naturally, although in mitigation the wall-eyed quality of what follows is more keenly conveyed in the later reading. Similarly, I was most taken with the sheer musicality and liquid inner detail that Wigglesworth coaxes from the Australians in the second Scherzo. Indeed, the later performance strikes me as a much more complete – and coherent –realisation of the somewhat ragged and ‘bitty’ Welsh one; crucially, Wigglesworth delivers more of the echt-Mahlerian schmaltz and bipolarity in his second account.
In fact, while I prefer the BBC recording in the first two movements the pendulum swings decisively in favour of the ABC one in the last three. The hair-raising drum thwacks – muffled thuds in the manner of a funeral cortège first time around – are far more immediate, if less apt, now. The Australian orchestra play with an aching beauty of line and an implacable weight that’s deeply affecting, even if they can’t match the Berlin and Bournemouth bands for sheer amplitude and unanimity of attack. Still, the sustained orchestral shrieks can’t fail to impress, the lucidity and breadth of the ABC recording adding immensely to the impact of this most curdled music. Even those quiet, stoic passages are more convincingly caught second time around, and here one really does sense the raptness and concentration of a live performance.
Anyone seeking a simple either/or verdict here will be disappointed, as both accounts have their strengths and weaknesses. Broadly, the earlier performance seems much earthier and more spontaneous, the later one tonally more refined and much wider in terms of emotional and dynamic range. Sadly, neither has the compelling narrative or proselytizing zeal of Rattle’s two accounts which, for me at least, remain the benchmarks for this work.
Good - very good – in parts, but not the penetrating performance I’d hoped for.
Dan Morgan


































































Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.