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Bruckner • Mahler • Rott: Symphony No. 1 etc

Bamberg Symphony Orchestra/Jakub Hrůša (DG)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Bruckner • Mahler • Rott
Bruckner: Symphonic Prelude; Mahler: ‘Blumine’; Rott: Symphony No. 1
Bamberg Symphony Orchestra/Jakub Hrůša
DG 486 2932   69:32 mins


When the 25-year old composer Hans Rott succumbed to persecution mania and tuberculosis in 1884, both his organ teacher Bruckner and his sometime co-student Mahler lamented his death as a tragedy for the future of music. Listening to the serene power and radiance with which its gigantic opening paragraph unfolds, one understands why Mahler hailed Rott’s major achievement as the advent of ‘The New Symphony’ and cited many of its gestures and points of scoring in his own subsequent works. Not all the material is as memorable as the opening; there are echoes of Wagner and Bruckner and, in the scherzo, such lurches of mood that one suspects some undivulged narrative, while the huge finale culminates in a more conventional fugue and chorale triumph. Yet it remains an astonishing achievement for a 22-year old. Since its disinterring in 1989, there have been some fine recordings, but surely none more persuasive than this. Jakub Hrůša plainly loves the score and strives to characterise its every detail, drawing lovely playing from the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra in a warmly spacious acoustic.

Mahler’s early ‘Blumine’ movement was composed for, then excluded from his Symphony No. 1 and, like Rott’s Symphony, starts with a lyrical trumpet solo. Also belatedly rediscovered, the Symphonic Prelude in C minor has been attributed to Mahler, but seems most likely to be a teaching piece by Bruckner himself – managing to concentrate many of his most inventive traits into a mere six minutes!


Bayan Northcott