Hans Rott: Symphony No. 1
Johann Nepomuk Karl Maria Rott (August 1, 1858 - June 25, 1884) was an Austrian composer and organist. His music is little known today, although he was highly praised in his day by Gustav Mahler and Anton Bruckner. His legacy included a symphony and songs. Although he had few resources, Rott was able to study composition at the Vienna Conservatory. He also studied organ with Bruckner beginning in 1874 and graduated with honors from his organ class in 1877. During this time, Rott was organist at the Piarist Church in Vienna. Rott was also influenced by the works of Wagner and attended the first Bayreuth Festival in 1876. in 1878, in his final year of study, Rott submitted the first movement of his E major symphony to a composition competition. With the exception of Bruckner, the judges were very disparaging of the work. After completing the symphony in 1880, Rott showed the work to both Brahms and Hans Richter to have it played. His efforts failed. Brahms told Rott that he had no talent whatsoever and should give up music. Unfortunately, Rott lacked Mahler's inner determination, and while Mahler was able to overcome many obstacles in his life, Rott was brought down by mental illness Rott began to exhibit delusions of persecution. In October 1880, during a train ride, he allegedly threatened another passenger with a revolver, claiming that Brahms had filled the train with dynamite. Rott was committed to a mental hospital in 1881, where he sank into depression despite a brief recovery. At the end of 1883, the diagnosis was "hallucinatory insanity, persecution mania - recovery is no longer to be expected." He died of tuberculosis in 1884 at the age of 25. Many guests, including Bruckner and Mahler, attended Rott's funeral at Vienna's Central Cemetery. It is claimed that Hugo Wolf referred to Brahms as Hans Rott's murderer.