CD Review- The Strad on Gal Violin Concerti and Triptych for Orchestra

From the August 2010 issue of The Strad

Gál Violin Concerto op 39, Vioin Concertino op 52, Triptych op 100

Annette Barbara Vogel, violin

Northern Sinfonia/Kenneth Woods

Here’s a real treat: a pair of long-list violin concertos from that most fecund decade for the medium, the 1930’s.

Hans Gál (1890-1987) was a Viennese-Jewish composer who managed to flee his homeland for the UK at the time of the Anschluss and spent the rest of his life as a musicologist in Edinburgh. The songful Violin Concerto was written in 1932 when he was at the height of his fame as a composer in Austro-Germany and musically falls very much within the central European tradition with hints of Bartok, Mahler and neo-Classical Strauss. The Concertino (with string orchestra) was written in London in 1939, but its lyrical ease belies the times and his precarious circumstances. German violinist, Annette-Barbara Vogel, who has already recorded Gál’s chamber music for Avie gives committed performances of both pieces and revels in the honesty of this music. She brings a winning presence to her tone and delivery, and maintains a perceptively fluid relationship with the accompanying forces of the Northern Sinfonia.

The symphonic-scale Triptych for orchestra dates from 1970, but is written in a style that seems unchanged from the time of Mahler and Korngold, whose music the pieces resemble at times. The Sage Gateshead recording is warm and supportive.

MATTHEW RYE

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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 www.kennethwoods.net

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