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Rott: Symphony / Pastoral Overture CD

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (29 July 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Cpo
  • ASIN: B00006836F
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 313,343 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Alla Breve
  2. Sehr Langsam
  3. Frisch und lebhaft
  4. Sehr langsam - belebt
  5. Pastorales Vorspiel

Customer Reviews

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Having already reviewed the 2003 recording of this symphony by Sebastian Weigle on Arte Nova, I was intrigued to read fellow reviewer Stewart Crowe's enthusiastic response to this earlier (1998) recording. He kindly makes approving reference to my Weigle review in his of this version and I return the compliment by confirming that his enthusiasm both for the music and performance is by no means misplaced; this symphony is a revelation for anyone keen to discover new, neglected late Romantic composers. In addition, the manner in which the young Rott both sought to reconcile the Brahms and Wagner/Bruckner camps and also provide support and inspiration to Mahler is especially fascinating.

Brahms's disdain for Rott is perhaps explained by the fact that he suspected that his own music was being parodied; he probably also resented being hustled off in to Valhalla with Wagner as explicitly as the last movement of this symphony engineers it. Rott effectively provides a synthesis of the "pure" versus "programme" music (to over-simplify crassly) and in so doing pays respectful tribute - even if Brahms didn't see it like that - to his predecessors with liberal quotation and allusion to Brahms, Wagner, Bruckner and, in anticipatory fashion from our perspective, Mahler.

Where Mr Crowe and I differ is in how we hear this performance. I have no hesitation in agreeing that the orchestral playing is superb - but so it is by the Munich Radio Orchestra under Weigle. However, I do not hear Dennis Russell Davies' interpretation as "tauter" or "rhythmically livelier"; the reverse in fact - but such is the subjectivity of the listener.
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...in two senses. I was curious to see how much more a professional orchestra might make of this wonderful symphony than the Cincinnati Philharmonia on their pioneering Hyperion disc (answer: in my view not *that* much, but I do appreciate the extra polish here and there), and I must be a curious specimen musically since I greatly enjoy this piece despite having a blind spot for Mahler whose music, while I can recognise the immense craft that went into it, just doesn't float my boat. I've docked one star for the "Pastoral Prelude" which for me, I'm afraid, outstays its welcome a little, but overall this is a fine recording of music which is very well worth your time and attention.
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Ralph Moore has already given us a superb review of the very fine Weigle/Munich version of this symphony, and if you have that one you certainly need not feel that you must replace it with this, in my view, finer one. I became fascinated by the work when the Cincinatti amateur version was released some 20 odd years ago, and have acquired every version since. They are all very fine, and it perhaps mean to have to point that the other 3 recordings are far superior to the pioneering first recording, but that is certainly the case.
For those unaware, this symphony was never performed and Rott died tragically young in an Asylum, but whole swathes of it appear right throughout Mahler's canon-and Rott's work was written before Mahler's First in its "Der Titan" structure.
I confess that it was "spot what Mahler lifted" that attracted me initially, but I rapidly grew to love the piece for itself. It is not in truth a masterpiece, but it shows so much promise and originality outside of the obvious influences of Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner and Wagner that it carries the listener before it.
I believe that Mahler's extensive use of material from this work was benign. Mahler used material from Brahms and Liszt (no, I don't mean he was drunk) to name but 2, and he saw nothing wrong with it, as he said his works embraced the universe-and that included the universe of music already written. He wrote that he would expect others to use his thematic material in future, and to update his scores as he did with Bach and Beethoven.I believe Mahler thought that Rott "lived on" in the way that his music was adapted and incorporated into his own symphonies.
Russell Davies gives a tauter reading than Weigle, rhythmically livelier and even better executed by this magnificent Vienna band.
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What a discovery! It's a shame that this composer and his music is not known to a wider audience while Mahler has enjoyed such a popularity today. I love this symphony so much that I have collected all the recordings currently I can find: Russell Davies; Paavo Jarvi; Gerhard Samuel; Leif Segerstam; Sebastian Weigle. The best in my view remains Weigle, also the earliest one I've collected. I'll go on to collect Hansjorg Albrecht.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x95d9b420) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2003384) out of 5 stars Hans Rott: Past Regained 10 Mar. 2004
By Christopher Lovett - Published on Amazon.com
After a long familiarity with the music of Mahler, discovering the Hans Rott Symphony in E is less like a conscious reach into memory than an unforeseen flashback. For all its evocations and anticipations, and inspite of some formative shortcomings, this is music with its own personality, in a way comparable to Mahler's formative cantata, "Das Klagende Lied." As a work of daring and originality in its own right (if not necessarily a masterpiece), the symphony is definitely enjoyable, especially in passages where Rott is least connected to predecessors or Mahler-to-come.
If there was a reason for Mahler to consider Rott the "father of the modern symphony," it may have been how he pushed at the edge of the distinction between the composer's music and the "musique concrete" of the world--especially noticeable in the scherzo. Rather than seemlessly synthesize these different worlds as Brahms did, Rott and Mahler leave the inconsistencies exposed, even highlighted. I suspect this is the main principle of inclusiveness Mahler had in mind when he said a symphony must be "like the world."
Many commentators have found passages in Rott that anticipate Mahler, but the notes by Eckhardt van den Hoogen also fill in a missing biographical link. It is well known that Mahler saw a score of the Rott symphony around 1900. The notes for the recording point out that Mahler had also performed a version of the work on piano in the early 1880's. That's early enough to influence Mahler's 1st Symphony, and maybe even early enough for this favorite people to influence--in a more subtle way--the E Major Symphony of his teacher, Anton Bruckner.
More interesting than pinpointing where Rott sounds like Mahler is defining the affinity between the two, which has a good deal to do with pushing at boundaries. It's easy enough to hear the resemblance between part of Rott's long finale and the long finale in Mahler's 2nd Symphony--music seemingly perched on the edge of another world. Even more interesting is how the void practically emptied of music (just before the "Aufersteh'n" chorus) re-emerges in late Mahler, especially in the twilight recitativ before a glowing arioso section of "Der Abschied." This isn't a matter of quotation, but about what's under a composer's skin, something that extends from first works to the last.
Listening to Rott also sheds a light on what makes Mahler different. Mahler supposedly complained about how much his composing suffered (at least quantitatively) because of all the time he spent conducting, especially conducting opera. But that time might also have enriched his sense of the dramatic, lyrical and comic elements that are common to opera and instrumental music (as with another of Mahler's idols, Mozart). Even listening to Mahler's 1st Symphony after Rott shows how the more famous composer was more comfortable with the dynamics of drama, as if he had been through the drill many times before as a conductor.
With only fragmentary exposure to other recordings, I would have to say the strongest competition for the Davies performance would be the BIS recording with Leif Segerstam. Davies's orchestra has an edge over the players on the commonly available (in US) Hyperion reissue, though the inclusion of Rott's earlier "Pastorales Vorspiel" might be a bit of a come-down from the symphony.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x967498dc) out of 5 stars The New Symphony 3 Feb. 2007
By Kushal Dasgupta - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Till a couple of months back if anyone would have asked me who Hans Rott is I would'nt have had the slightest idea. It was through a Radio broadcast that I first came across the legendary work (a 1st work of a composer at age 20)& I must say it only took listening to the first few bars to realize that you are in presence of a master. The musik kept haunting me for days & I had to dig the internet to get info about Rott & his early tragic & premature death. This is the the only recording of the Symphony I have & I must say that the RSO Vienna has done a good job. One would easily trace influnces of Mahler (whoes compositions were composed much later than Rott) Bruckner, Wagner, Schumann & Brahms himself (Who was partially responsible for Rott's tragic end). A must for all who love Romantic musik & music in general. A symphony that needs to be heard & made known to the wide public.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9583b828) out of 5 stars A grander, more majestic approach to a fascinating symphony 26 Oct. 2011
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Having already reviewed the 2003 recording of this symphony by Sebastian Weigle on Arte Nova, I was intrigued to read fellow reviewer Stewart Crowe's enthusiastic response to this earlier (1998) recording. He kindly makes approving reference to my Weigle review in his of this version and I return the compliment by confirming that his enthusiasm both for the music and performance is by no means misplaced; this symphony is a revelation for anyone keen to discover new, neglected late Romantic composers. In addition, the manner in which the young Rott both sought to reconcile the Brahms and Wagner/Bruckner camps and also provide support and inspiration to Mahler is especially fascinating.

Brahms's disdain for Rott is perhaps explained by the fact that he suspected that his own music was being parodied; he probably also resented being hustled off in to Valhalla with Wagner as explicitly as the last movement of this symphony engineers it. Rott effectively provides a synthesis of the "pure" versus "programme" music (to over-simplify crassly) and in so doing pays respectful tribute - even if Brahms didn't see it like that - to his predecessors with liberal quotation and allusion to Brahms, Wagner, Bruckner and, in anticipatory fashion from our perspective, Mahler.

Where Mr Crowe and I differ is in how we hear this performance. I have no hesitation in agreeing that the orchestral playing is superb - but so it is by the Munich Radio Orchestra under Weigle. However, I do not hear Dennis Russell Davies' interpretation as "tauter" or "rhythmically livelier"; the reverse in fact - but such is the subjectivity of the listener. To me, ORF recording offers a grander, weightier more majestic account - more of "public statement" if you like - than the crisper, more nuanced Weigle performance which to my ears makes better use of varied dynamics and more agogic phrasing. Specific examples? I hear more exaltation in Weigle's build-up to the tremendous climax of the first movement; Davies is more deliberate but satisfyingly inexorable. Conversely, Davies is less tender and measured than Weigle in the opening subject of the "Sehr langsam" second movement. The crucial and central third movement conveys a greater sense of pageantry under Davies, whereas I prefer the more bucolic and rustic mood generated by Weigle, who is fresher and more ironic in the Mahlerian manner; after all, the marking is "Frisch und lebhaft", not "Feierlich". Both make a superb job of the finale with its overtly Brahmsian chorale but I hear more tension in Weigle's direction despite his taking a minute longer. Overall, speeds are not that different but I think the extra time that Davies takes for the Scherzo accounts for its slight ponderousness.

The sound in this recording seems more generalised and less detailed than the Arte Nova one; sometimes the Vienna strings are overpowered by the brass whereas the balance between sections is clearer for Weigle - though of course, this might partly be the consequence of what audio equipment you listen on.

In the end, both are superb accounts and do justice to Rott's extraordinarily precocious, courageous and naive endeavour. In a different mood, I can well imagine responding to the grandeur of this recording more readily than I do to the Weigle version, both are a revelation.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95120234) out of 5 stars What a masterpiece. 24 Aug. 2003
By Paul Grainger - Published on Amazon.com
I must thank the first reviewer for tempting me to buy this. What a truelly superb work. The sheer majesty of this work and Rott's truelly unbelievable command of the forces of the Symphony orchestra make this one of the great symphonic experiences.
THe Orchestra and conductor play both works with the great skill and feeling.
Again many thanks for putting me onto this truelly great symphony. THe only sadness was for a career truelly cut far too short. If he had lived Hans Rott would be amongst the immortals of classical music.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9592d564) out of 5 stars An interesting historical document, well played 12 Mar. 2015
By John J. Puccio - Published on Amazon.com
The classical music world, like any other, can be pretty freakish sometimes. Take, for instance, the case of Austrian composer and organist Hans Rott (1858-1884). He was a contemporary of and fellow student with Gustav Mahler at the Vienna Conservatory (they even roomed together for a short time), but how many people know that? As a composer, Rott wrote only a couple of pieces of music, then went mad and died young. After writing his Symphony in E in 1880 Rott tried pressing it on Brahms and Bruckner, but to no avail. Brahms even became annoyed with Rott's pushiness (and possibly with some of the symphony's content, which mimicked his own work), telling him he had no talent whatsoever. As a result of these and other obstacles in his life, Rott became depressed, delusional, hostile, and dangerous. The state locked him up in a mental institution while he was in his early twenties, and he died there several years later, both the man and his music largely forgotten.

Now, none of this would be of any concern to us today if nobody had rediscovered his Symphony in E just a few years back and re-evaluated it. It seems scholars took notice of the fact that it bears striking resemblances to the work of Brahms, Schumann, and Wagner, but, more important, to Mahler. The trouble is, however, Rott's piece predates most of Mahler's work (Rott wrote his Symphony in E more than half a dozen years before Mahler wrote his Symphony No. 1). The immediate conclusion reached by some musicologists, therefore, was that Mahler, who knew and openly appreciated Rott's work, may have stolen from him. Wouldn't that be something?

Modern listeners are welcome to draw their own conclusions after listening to Rott's symphony. It does remind one a bit of Schumann in the opening, Wagner in some of bigger, grander passages, and Brahms in the Finale. Then, when you listen to the third-movement Scherzo, you would, indeed, swear it was Mahler; the similarities being much too obvious to have been mere coincidence. Clearly, one of the two men influenced the other. But it may take a Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot to figure out who most influenced whom.

Whatever the case, the Symphony in E is filled with intriguing, atmospheric, and pleasurable (if not all that memorable) passages, interesting in spite their similarities to the work of the aforementioned composers. In the end, for me the symphony sounds too much like a pastiche, and not the very best at that. Yet I did like that bizarre Scherzo and the overall Romanticism of the piece. And in particular I liked the conducting of Dennis Russell Davies and the musicianship of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. I figure if they couldn't do any more with the work, nobody could.

The disc's coupling, the Pastorale Vorspiel, interested me even less and, in fact, almost put me to sleep. Rott didn't call the piece a "pastorale" for nothing. Then again, maybe it was the sonics on this 2002 release that bored me, sonics I found wispy and vague and never particularly vibrant or alive despite an enormous dynamic range. The imaging is fine, and there's even a modicum of depth to the orchestra, but it's such bland sound I kept wanting to turn the volume up just to help bring it to life; then, when I did, the loudest passages were, of course, too loud.

Anyway, the album makes an interesting historical document, although, again for me, not an especially rewarding musical experience.

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor
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