Buckle up, motherfuckers. Today’s going to be a bit of a ranty bitch.
Mahler’s 10th symphony was never finished. Either that or it’s a short score, we’ll never really know because Gustav peaced out to join the great orchestra in the sky in the summer of 1910. The first movement of the symphony is legit, according to most modern motherfuckers. It’s also his most dissonant work. But you’d be writing sketchy pages too if you just found out you were going to die and your wife was fucking some dude. Mahler knew both these things. Also, something tells me, the most severe, nasty, drooling, gymnastic, ball-deep, goat-bleating, farmhouse, gag-filled sex of all time was the shit Mahler imagined his wife having with that other guy. I base this on my understanding of jealous lovers and the symphony itself. Go ahead, listen to a few seconds of the 10th and tell me that sex wasn’t raunchy and fantastic.
Everyone wants to know how the rest of the 10th goes because the 9th is some of the greatest, most sophisticated, heart-wrenching music ever fucking made. If you’re at all new to Mahler, don’t go for the 9th. Go for the 1st, 2nd, or 4th, then slowly pick out those higher numbers. This isn’t meant to be insulting. You could go right ahead and listen to the 9th right away, but only if you want to fucking hate it. The 9th is a bit of a spicy bitch and it’s easier to digest once you’ve popped down some 4’s, 2’s, and 1’s first. But if you prefer mental heartburn, go right the fuck ahead.
There are different thoughts on finishing other people’s work. In many classical minds, a complete Schubert shouldn’t exist, Elgar should never have a Third Symphony, Sibelius should not have an eighth, and bla-dee-to-the-fucking-bla. The dialogue sounds eerily similar to Star Wars nerds not accepting anything after Return of the Jedi. But, let’s get real, every Star War nerd has seen every piece of shit flying under the banner, just like ever Mahler fan will listen to the newest version of the 10th. It’s just fucking happening. Drag your feet all you want, it’s happening. I’d still be a Mahler slut even if Disney buys it. What’s further and thoroughly fucked is the Star Wars comparison doesn’t stop there.
Deryck Cook’s version of the 10th, made in the mid ’60s, has been controversial since its inception. Shit goes as thus: Mahler laid out some bad ass bars for the complete symphony. They were right fucking there and “complete”. You see, Mahler was a guy that did his actual writing in the editing process. Just his style. So to say what was jotted down was complete, is untrue. Cooke went up and changed the shit until it was “playable” and then performed it. Gasp! You can compare this to the next set of fucked up Star Wars movies released in ’99. The stories for those motherfuckers were already there. Some people even see these remakes as homages, or as a “what could have been”, while others see it as a way of adding unbelievable racist aliens to what you used to be loved and honourable.
Shit’s not done yet: Enter J. J. Abrams and Michelle Castelletti.
Castelletti was given access to Mahler’s sketches around 2012 in order to reconstruct that shit into a chamber orchestra. A what? Ya, she took this beloved, grand, mysterious, and large-as-fuck Mahler orchestra and squeezed that shit down to the size of a chamber orchestra. A strange allusion to a once-beloved piece that’s kind-of-the-same but not-really-at-all like the original? Nowadays, people just call that an Abrams.
So, now that you know the weight behind the question let’s go ahead and ask it: Is the latest version any good? Well, it all depends on what you’re looking for. Is it entertaining? Oh fuck ya. It is a Mahler symphony? Absolutely not. Can Abrams make a classic Star Wars flick? Oh sweet fuck no. But, with either, if you just sit down and enjoy it for what it is, they’re not all bad.