Album: Matthew Herbert, Mahler Symphony X Recomposed by Matthew Herbert (Deutsche Grammophon)

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The Independent Culture

Mahler was an obsessive reviser of his own work, an attitude Matthew Herbert extends here by taking a previous recording of the Adagio from the unfinished 10th Symphony and "recomposing" it by recording playbacks in mordant situations: from inside a coffin, over crematorium speakers, from a passing hearse, and in Mahler's cabin in Toblach.

With the addition of a viola line played at the composer's graveside, the results were mixed together using effects and montaging strategies. The effect is darkly contemplative with the famous climactic dissonant nine-note chord subjected to pulsing repetitions. It's a surprisingly engrossing piece of work, and more respectful than Herbert's methods might suggest.

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