The performances by the Ensemble Epomeo are beyond praise: lively, warm-toned and well balanced in excellent sound. Cellist Kenneth Woods penned the informative sleeve note. Genuine buried treasure here.
"...here the piece comes up sounding fresh, at least to my ears... I’m as pleased with the performance of the Schumann as I am with the Gál, and given the real quality of Gál’s symphony, I don’t mind that this makes about the tenth Schumann Fourth in my collection!"
Maestro Kenneth Woods and his Orchestra of the Swan play both symphonies exceedingly well...this is probably as close as we get in the music to Gal’s private adversities, but Woods does not over dramatize or over sentimentalize it. By the time the finale draws to a close, we recognize, at least in hands of Woods, a memorable and perhaps unfairly under-appreciated work.
It was gratifying to be given a chance to experience this challenging work in a reading of such heroic panache and fierce dedication: soloist, players and conductor valiantly negotiated the score's fiendish polyrhythms and labyrinthine tempo associations, whilst building a convincing case for it to be regarded as one of Saxton's finest utterances...this event was memorable for the quality of its performances and the boldness of its scheduling in equal measure
"The Orchestra of the Swan, a British chamber orchestra, plays with expressive understatement. The warm recording, at a concert, has all the qualities of a studio production. East-West fusions seem immune to the struggles of the classical music scene. This engaging album shows why." American Record Guide
Kenneth Woods has been appointed Artistic Director of the English Symphony Orchestra’s new subscription concert series, succeeding Vernon Handley, who was appointed Principal Conductor in 2007. Woods joins an orchestra with an illustrious history which includes associations with Sir Yehudi Menuhin, notable soloists such as Stephen Isserlis and Nigel Kennedy, and renowned composers including Sir Michael Tippett and Nicholas Maw. The ESO has made dozens of acclaimed recordings, a notable discography which Woods is expected to augment.
"Woods proves in this recording to be a front rank conductor, capturing the feeling of sorrow and compassion of the symphony... Woods has seized on the essence of this Schumann Symphony. His reading is smooth, grand and exciting and well worth the purchase of this disc. The Gál may take a few hearings to sink in, but the Schumann is right there from the start and one of the best recordings available." FIVE STARS
The disc leaves you feeling profoundly moved as well as drained and I can hardly imagine how it must feel to play such music. This is an extremely important musical document on all counts...
The Ensemble Epomeo play all four compositions with huge commitment and brilliant flair revealing every nuance in four wonderful works for string trio. In every way this is a fantastic disc that listeners will want to hear again and again.