Hans Rott Symphony get fresh interpretation

Capriccio continues their series of Hans Rott recordings with his masterwork — Symphony No. 1. This massive work, running about 54 minutes, is this young genius at his best. Rott was just 22 when he completed his first symphony — and had just two years to live. The work shows the influence of his organ instructor, Anton Bruckner. Parts of it reminded me strongly of Bruckner’s 4th Symphony.

But there’s more to it than imitation. Rott’s fellow student Gustav Mahler wrote, “he is so related to my very self that he and I are like two fruits from the same tree.”

And that’s the resemblance I hear in this music. In some ways, Rott’s symphony anticipates Mahler’s first symphony — that wouldn’t be started until three years after Rott’s death.

This isn’t the first time Rott’s symphony has been recorded — but it’s one of the best. The Gürzenich Orchester Köln has a full, robust sound that heightens the impact of Rott’s music.

Also included is the Symphony for String Orchestra in A-flat major. This is a student work, and it seems to lean towards Haydn and Mozart. Here Christopher Ward and the Gürzenich Orchester Köln perform with a lighter touch, which gives the symphony a buoyancy that’s quite entertaining.

If you’re not familiar with Hans Rott — or why Bruckner and Mahler thought so highly of him, start here. The symphony sums it all up.

Hans Rott: Orchestral Works, Vol. 2
Gürzenich Orchester Köln; Christopher Ward, conductor
Capriccio C5414

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