Mahler’s Tenth Symphony: An Unexpected Gap…

Among the most important items in the Deryck Cooke Archive (currently being processed and catalogued) are those relating to Cooke’s engagement with the music of Gustav Mahler (1860-1911). In particular, there are the materials connected with his production of a ‘performing version’ of the Tenth Symphony from the composer’s unfinished draft – a project that played a dominating role in Cooke’s life between 1960 and the time of his death in 1976.

First Complete Recording of Mahler 'Symphony No. 10', performing version by Deryck Cooke; recorded by Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, Columbia Masterworks, 1965  M2L 335 (ML 6208--ML 6209).

First Complete Recording of Mahler ‘Symphony No. 10’, performing version by Deryck Cooke; recorded by Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, Columbia Masterworks, 1965 M2L 335 (ML 6208–ML 6209).

One of these items is a large (25 cm x 34 cm) soft-bound, photocopied, conductor’s full score labelled Symphony No. 10 in F sharp major (performing version prepared by Deryck Cooke). The score is undated; but since the second and fourth movements are present in full as continuous structures, it is apparent that this represents not the ‘gapped’ score used in the original 1960 broadcast, but the first ‘full’ version – the one heard in the August 1964 Proms premiere under Berthold Goldschmidt and the famous recording by Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra that was released in 1965. Since this score was never published and was only ever available on hire, there must have been very few copies made (the location of Cooke’s handwritten original is not known).

This source is important for several reasons. First, since the Archive contains no copy of the original 1960 score (and none has so far been located elsewhere – though a search is ongoing), this item is the earliest version that can be inspected.

Secondly, although the work as represented in this score does not differ in significant structural respects from the ‘Revised Performing Version’ that was published by Faber Music and AMP in 1976 (at UL: M310.a.95.167), it is very different indeed as far as its orchestration is concerned. For while the 1976 score (published in an exceptionally fine engraved edition a few months before Cooke’s death) uses a large orchestra of quadruple woodwind, plus an extra clarinet, and quadruple brass (including four trombones), the fact is that when Cooke began work on his first version he had elected (or been instructed!) to limit himself to triple woodwind and the ‘usual’ three trombones. Inevitably, the eventual change to the larger orchestra implied in Mahler’s draft required the recasting of a large proportion of the texture (in which task Cooke and his collaborator Berthold Goldschmidt were joined from 1968 by the young composers David and Colin Matthews).

Just how much revising was done between 1964 and 1976 in the attempt to create a more authentically ‘Mahlerian’ sound can be gauged by looking at one small passage in the work’s finale. In the wake of the climactic presentation of material ‘cyclically’ recalled from the first movement (see bb. 275-298 in the Faber/AMP edition), Mahler’s draft – at this point a four-stave ‘short score’ – presents a stretch of gentle, consoling music in B flat major. Recalling the way Cooke’s early score was re-worked in producing the 1976 version, David Matthews has written:

Colin and I felt strongly that the entry of the violins should be delayed until the return to F sharp major at the end of the passage for horns and tuba, and Deryck agreed with us. At the same time we decided to double the pedal F in the second and fourth horns with cellos, and the tuba with basses, to smoothen the sound. A further refinement was that the clarinet part in mm. 302-307 was transferred to the E flat clarinet (this was Colin’s idea).

(see ‘Deryck Cooke’s Performing Version of Mahler’s Tenth Symphony: My Own Involvement, some Notes on the Evolution of the Score, and some Ethical Problems’; in Op de Coul, Ed., Fragment or Completion? Proceedings of the Mahler X Symposium, Utrecht 1986, p. 63; at UL: M674.c.95.130).

The impact of these decisions will be immediately appreciated by anyone comparing recordings of the two versions: in the first four bars of this passage, for instance, the two ‘leading’ violin lines ultimately became parts for two clarinets. Now that we have access to the 1964 score, however, we can discern that along with these obvious changes went a good many less detectable alterations.

Gustav Mahler, 'Symphony No. 10 in F sharp major (performing version prepared by Deryck Cooke), [1964], Deryck Cooke Archive

Gustav Mahler, ‘Symphony No. 10 in F sharp major (performing version prepared by Deryck Cooke), [1964], Deryck Cooke Archive

Looking at this passage (at fig. X) in the 1964 score, the first thing we may notice is that Cooke originally had Mahler’s double pedal held by Violas and Cellos, reinforced by Bassoons II and III: in the 1976 version (not shown here, for copyright reasons), these strings too have been deleted, and the two wind parts transferred to the gentle and unobtrusive Clarinet III and Bass Clarinet. We also see that what in 1964 was the ‘Clarinet I’ part came to be moved to ‘Oboe 1’ (with modifications to the dynamics, articulation, and expression marks) before the line was passed on to the E flat Clarinet – whose entrance here, of course, shows the value of having five clarinettists to play with! The original Cor Anglais part, by contrast, remained on that instrument, but – being a tone-colour of some prominence in the orchestra – was ultimately divested of the ‘opportunistic’ doubling of the secondary thematic voice into which it originally fell after three bars. And the inner part for ‘Bassoon I’ also remained where the 1964 score had it – though in its 1976 setting it blends more smoothly with what is now the double-reed sonority of both the associated voices.

Mahler's '10th Symphony', performing score of 1964, constructed by Deryck Cooke and C .& M. Matthews, showing gauze where section is missing.

Mahler’s ’10th Symphony’, performing score of 1964, showing gauze where section is missing.

Such differences as these will no doubt be of considerable interest to scholars seeking to clarify the process by which Cooke and his assistants polished the 1964 score into the version that has become a staple of the orchestral repertoire. Careful examination of the present item, however, led to an unhappy discovery: the third movement was missing.

That this tiny movement – the enigmatic ‘Purgatorio’ which provides motivic material for the fourth and fifth movements – had originally been present in the copy was clear from the several millimetres of glued gauze exposed in the binding, as well as from the way that the adjacent pages – p. 72 of the second movement, and p. 1 of the fourth – were also absent. Clearly this sheaf of pages had been torn out for some reason, presumably by Cooke himself. But why? And – after the passing of all these decades – was there any chance of locating them?

For the answers to these questions, see the next exciting instalment…


About Mark Doran

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1 Response to Mahler’s Tenth Symphony: An Unexpected Gap…

  1. Pingback: Mahler’s Tenth Symphony: An Unexpected Gap – Part II | MusiCB3 Blog

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