Music: Unfinished Symphony?

A small circle of devotees gathered in a Manhattan living room one night last week and watched while their host turned the lights low and slipped a tape into his hi-fi equipment. Music flooded the room —passionate, dissonant, moving in great intervals toward massive climaxes, resolving at last into a finale of serene beauty.

It was, one visitor said, "typically Mahler-esque"—which seemed a self-evident remark after listening to Gustav Mahler's Tenth Symphony.

But the fact is, Mahler never completed his Tenth—and last week's tape was, in part at least, no more than an earnest piece of musical fiction. The tape was made from...

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