Ever since it surfaced in the 1980s, Hans Rott’s symphony in E has been a headache for Mahler scholars.
Rott was a classmate and, briefly, a roommate of Gustav Mahler’s in Vienna in the late 1870s. In 1880, aged 22, he wrote a symphony. Months later he was confined to a mental asylum with various symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia. He died in 1884, aged 25.
Rott’s symphony, first recorded by Gerhard Samuel in Cincinnati in 1989, contains two explicit themes and several musical gestures that are familiar from Mahler’s second symphony. The question is, did Mahler steal from his mad, dead friend?
A new recording of Rott’s symphony has just been released, the best yet. It is my Album of the Week on sinfinimusic.com.
So did Mahler steal from Rott? And if he did….? Click here for more.