Michael Volle / Hansjörg Albrecht / Münchner Symphoniker

Hans Rott: Balde ruhest du auch!; Symphonie in E-dur

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Hans Rott is best known for one work, his Symphony in E major, which became a sensation over a century after it was written. However, much of the attention paid to this strikingly original symphony has had less to do with its genuine merits than with several comparisons that have been made with Gustav Mahler's symphonies, particularly with the Scherzo of his Symphony No. 1. (There are more than a few surface similarities, though many passages point to the influence of Rott's teacher, Anton Bruckner.) With this Oehms release, Hansjörg Albrecht and the Munich Symphony present Rott's symphony with the song cycle for baritone, Balde ruhest du auch! (Soon you will have rest!), a setting of verses by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Vincenz Zusner, in a new orchestral adaptation by Enjott Schneider. This somewhat modernized orchestration of Rott's original version for voice and piano gives a sense of the obsession with death and longing for release that afflicted the young composer, and which strangely bring to mind Mahler's late works on those themes. The performance by baritone Michael Volle does justice to Rott's poignant melodies, and Albrecht and the orchestra give readings that are sure to enhance Rott's reputation, though Schneider's arrangement gives the music an anachronistic Mahlerian edginess that may confuse some listeners.

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