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Hans Rott: Symphony In E Major, Etc / Weigle, Munich Radio Orchestra

Release Date: 05/10/2005 
Label:  Arte Nova   Catalog #: 577480   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Hans Rott
Conductor:  Sebastian Weigle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

That the tragically short-lived Hans Rott (1858-1884) deserves more than a mention in Gustav Mahler's saga is amply demonstrated by this attractive new recording of his Symphony along with two shorter works. Mahler paid tribute to Rott, a fellow student, calling him the founder of the new symphony, but adds that Rott did not achieve all he intended. Mahler claimed to understand these intentions, perhaps justifying his near quoting of material from this long lost Symphony in E , discovered in the mid 1990s. Coming out of the sound world of Bruckner Rott was his favorite student the Symphony (1878-1880) uncannily, even Read more disturbingly prefigures Mahler. Rott's Scherzo movement, Frisch und lebhaft , and the second movement of Mahler's First, completed in 1888, have striking thematic and rhythmic similarities; other material from Rott is used later by Mahler in his Second and Third Symphonies. Rott himself liberally quotes from others: themes from Wagner's Ring are sprinkled throughout the dramatic Prelude to Julius Caesar while the chorale from the Symphony's finale is highly reminiscent of that from the finale of the Brahms First Symphony. (This near quotation occurs despite the rebuff Rott received from Brahms when offering his Symphony to the elder composer. Shortly before Rott was committed to a lunatic asylum, he was convinced that Brahms was planning to dynamite Rott's railway carriage.)

Ironically, it is the reference to the later Mahler works that makes Rott's Symphony interesting and memorable. Taken on its own and despite its genuine feeling, Rott's music by comparison can seem labored and derivative, though never self-conscious. The composer's conviction carries its own appeal. Mahler, even in his early works, constructs his material in a more complex emotional universe than his contemporary. Mahler's thematic development has an inevitability that Rott's early opus never achieves. Rott provides insights into Mahler but leaves only a fascinating impression of what might have been. And yet, repeated listening to this occasionally frustrating work reveals its power to move as well as its immaturity. The brief Prelude in E Major perhaps Rott's first completed orchestral score is well served by its brevity, a mere 71 measures, with lovely melodic material weaving its way around constantly moving quarter notes.

Sebastian Weigle happily takes this music at face value with performances that make excellent cases for all three works. This is music that requires a sure guiding hand to make its points. Weigle never bogs down in the contrapuntal sections, keeps the genuinely beautiful slow movement, Sehr Langsam , moving and finds both nobility and excitement in the Symphony's stirring finale without whipping his forces into an unnecessary frenzy. His orchestra plays persuasively and appears to share their conductor's conviction about the music. I find Weigle preferable to Dennis Russell Davies's rather stiff account; and Weigle's Munich orchestra makes a finer, more idiomatic sound than Gerhard Samuel's admirable student forces. At a budget price, I can't think of a better way to discover Rott and to ponder what might have been.

FANFARE: Michael Fine
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Works on This Recording

Symphony in E major by Hans Rott
Conductor:  Sebastian Weigle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Vienna, Austria 
Prelude to Julius Caesar by Hans Rott
Conductor:  Sebastian Weigle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; Vienna, Austria 
Prelude for Orchestra in E major by Hans Rott
Conductor:  Sebastian Weigle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876; Vienna, Austria 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Nascent Mahler March 12, 2015 By owen  ryan (lakewood, CA) See All My Reviews "Mahler said of Rott ''We cannot comprehend what music has lost in him...he and I seem like two fruit from the same tree. Perhaps the two of us could have adequately exhausted the content of this new era that dawned for music.'' The conductor Kenneth Woods points out that ''Rott became a powerful symbol for Mahler--the fallen brother in arms, the hopeless idealist. When Mahler refers to Rott, he is not merely borrowing musical material, he is referencing a rather complex mythology he constructed around the memory of his friend.'' This is not just music of interest to Mahlerians, it is eminently listenable and should be enjoyable for most music lovers. Sebastian Weigle and his Munich Radio Orchestra perform magnificently on this recording and the audio is absolutely first rate. I might be a little stingy in only assigning 4 stars to this disc but when making such a close connection with Mahler I felt it was all I could do. Never-the-less I highly recommend it." Report Abuse
 Stunning Performance August 29, 2013 By P. Nauman (Reno, NV) See All My Reviews "I had only seen Hans Rott's name in passing and had never heard his music; but I took a chance on this. The music is incredible. As a lover of Mahler I was amazed of the similiarities, but also of the differences. Rich orchestration, powerful brass and complex themes won me over in an instant. Matching all this is a stunning performance by the Munich Radio Orchestra. It is such a shame a talent like Rott's was lost to mental illness. Alas, what could have been. An incredible album." Report Abuse
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