Mahler 10

“… no boldness was missing in the superb intervention Gamzou allowed himself with Mahler’s unfinished Tenth symphony… many tried to orchestrate this piece before. From Ernst Krenek to Deryck Cooke in 1972, whose musicologically-based version was hailed as the valid one until recently. All of those pale in comparison with the vital realisation by Gamzou, which was created from a deep and true artistry. Gamzou obviously understands Mahler very intimately, especially his Ninth, the farewell-music of which becomes a direct bridge to the dusty, viola sound in the introduction of this piece. Eighty minutes of music follow, utterly coherent and conclusive, extraordinary and absolutely shattering. The Tenth becomes Mahler’s Purgatory-like “letter in a bottle” for the 20th century… The performance was met with endless applause and left a drained conductor, walking through the sections for his final bow, who seemed to have gone through hell and all the pain of the music himself. A monumental experience.” [trans. from German] Georg Linsenmann, Stuttgarter Zeitung

“… Already after one page of music, I am overwhelmed by emotion. Who managed to create such a radical alternative to the substantially more minimalistic attempts by Ernst Krenek and Deryck Cooke? Yoel Gamzou, 28 years old, is an Israeli-american conductor living in Germany. Mahler’s Tenth symphony accompanied him so closely since his childhood that this music has become a part of him. This is strongly audible in the naturalness of his orchestration, as well as through the expressive diversity of his interpretative vocabulary which entirely redefines the expressive potential of this piece. One is no longer confronted by an abstract score, but rather by Mahler’s third parable on the human condition. Finally, the third part of his trilogy makes sense and everything radiates in the same dark dimension on which the Ninth Symphony and the Lied von der Erde are based…. Everything here is different than the previously available versions, because the concept of Gamzou’s work is a different one: not merely to edit the sketches, but rather to reveal the spiritual core of this piece.

It is overwhelming, breathtaking and heartbreaking…. At this point one should also celebrate the art of the conductor, who draws magic out of the orchestra with the most subtle of colours and nuances, who champions a perfect balance and leads an orchestra which exudes youth: much like Teodor Currentzis, Yoel Gamzou put together a group of young musicians, technically brilliant and playing with incredible fire in their souls. This fire, this fury, doesn’t lie. This recording was made during a concert at the Berlin Philharmonie. I ask myself whether this isn’t the best recording to have ever been made in that hall…. This [recording] is unchallengeable and absolutely crucial.” [translate from French] Jean-Charles Hoffelé, ClicMusique/ClicMag n°43

“…There are transfiguring moments in his performance… the long flute solo that floats over hushed strings near the beginning of the Finale is as beautiful as it’s ever been on disc….” Andrew Clements, The Guardian

“… His version is richer in sound in comparison with Rattle’s recording, the declamatory contrasts can be truly terrifying. Gamzou forms the musical journey more dynamically, more restlessly than his renowned colleague. The music sounds all-in-all more sensual, the articulation earthier, full of movement and variation … already in the Adagio, Gamzou and his musicians remove the curtain of symphonic solidity. The piece is overwhelming through its wild dissonances, violent outbursts and the cluster-like, infernal chord of the climax. It seems like the demise of any illusion of beauty … Yoel Gamzou conducts the piece as a symphonic drama, impulsive, with burning intensity, yet also controlled. He proves, that only the absolute belief in art and in one’s own convictions and power, can move mountains. His enthusiasm for his art seems infinite … Yoel Gamzou risks a lot, in fact, everything. That is exactly what comprises his charm.” [trans. from German] Wolfgang Schreiber, Süddeutsche Zeitung

“…Gamzou’s ‘realisation …. is less ethereal and more given to opulent textures than the commonly performed text by Deryck Cooke, it sounds like the impressively bold work of someone gifted yet young…. It’s extremely well played … by the [International Mahler] Orchestra…” Stephen Pritchard, Sunday Times

“… This latest version of Mahler’s last work, published by Schott Verlag, is considerably richer in contrast, more drastic and more varied in colours than any of those published to date. This is no skeleton, but a firm, symphonic, force of nature. Several counterpoints, written by Mahler but unknown to Cooke at the time (they were first discovered in 2001, previously belonging to the Moldenhauer Archives and currently accessible at the Bavarian State Library), have been woven by Gamzou into his score. In other places, primarily in the second and fourth movements, the instrumentation creates the illusion of a denser polyphony than the compositional sketches reveal. This is Gamzou’s quintessential vision of Mahler which he has brought to life: a wild, naked, radical, spiritual landscape, the intensity of which can be terrifying. It is incredibly fascinating. Just like everything Gamzou does.” [trans. from German] Julia Spinola, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“…As the young Israeli-American conductor explains in a detailed accompanying essay, he has long felt a special identification with Mahler’s not-so-skeletal draft and he makes his case as passionately in print as he does on the podium….The playing of Gamzou’s own international band is heartfelt, enthusiastic…” – David Gutman, Gramophone

“…This was a wild, unusually dramatic Mahler vision … Music that doesn’t only flow-along sentimentally, but also searches and screams – as if Gamzou’s possessedness truly found its echo here.” [trans. from German] Jörg Königsdorf, Süddeutsche Zeitung

“… the Israeli-American conductor Yoel Gamzou is doubtlessly an unusual talent… his Berlin debut was a vision of a phenomenon which came true, somebody possessed by an idea, or, one could say, a genius… All those things that are usually smoothed out in other versions, elements assumed to be mistakes made by the composer, come together here, colliding bluntly; numerous harmonies are substantially more dissonant than is usually the case. This Adagio, which has often been heard as false idyll, the music of a sentimental, terminally-ill composer in despair because of his marital crisis, seems to incorporate an entirely different message here. From the beginning it sets out a clear vision into the future, consciously composed by someone with much ahead of him, wanting, yet again, to break boundaries. This is also how Yoel Gamzou conducts this music: unsentimental, looking forward and with an awareness of the large picture and its context. The scream at the end of the movement is not merely a shock-effect, but is rather a logical consequence of the whole. … All in all one had the feeling that somebody really understood Mahler here… Gamzou goes in his very own way: the music is sustained on high-tension already from the beginning; there are many developments and gestures; then it explodes, with unannounced tempo-changes, and one witnesses a rope dance, a battle of life and death, dark and demonic… one cannot but admire Gamzou’s dedication and strong will… he displayed a huge talent, which has all the makings of a truly great career.” [trans. from German] Andreas Göbel, Kulturradio