CD Review- Classical Source on “Gal Violin Concerti and Triptych for Orchestra”

Colin Anderson writing in today’s Classical Source-

….There is something deceptive about Hans Gál’s music, the work of the long-lived (1890-1987), from Vienna to Edinburgh composer, whose output has been so well served by Avie. Gál’s other violin concerto, from 1939, with string orchestra accompaniment, this time in two movements instead of three, the first elegiac and of endless melody suggestive of circumstance but not indulging it, and ultimately a pure musical statement, and a finale (linked to by a cadenza) that looks back to an earlier epoch and to the terpsichorean point of the Rigaudon that is here interspersed by poignant musings.

Moving ahead to 1970, Hans Gál reached his ‘opus 100’ with Triptych, a set of three movements for orchestra, the opening ‘Impromptu’ energetically if severely introduced, every note significant, the contrasting mellower invention sometimes suggesting Richard Strauss’s late-in-life autumnal music (specifically “Capriccio”), but with an independence of thought and a timelessness of invention that is at once Mozartean yet also crisply contemporary. The central ‘Lament’ is sparse if tellingly personal; and the final ‘Comedy’ is joyous and inviting, and not without a flourish or two.

Gál’s art has the enviable ability to say so much without being tempted to decorate, augment and make denser. Such transparent and highly-crafted scores are given superbly prepared performances here. I had a few reservations over Annette-Barbara Vogel’s playing on the Gál violin-and-piano release, but her playing here is first-class, so too the quick-witted response of Northern Sinfonia under Kenneth Woods. Both the recording and the booklet’s annotation are excellent.

Read the whole thing here.

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About the author

American conductor, composer and cellist Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo. He records for the Avie, Somm, Nimbus, Signum, MSR and Toccata labels.

Learn about Kenneth at

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