CD Review- Fanfare Magazine on Gal Triptych, Violin Concerto and Conertino

From the November/December 2010 issue of Fanfare Magazine- entire article available for Fanfare subcribers. Excerpt below:

CD Review by Barry Brenesal

GÁL Violin Concerto. Triptych. Concertino for Violin and String Orchestra Kenneth Woods, cond; Annette-Barbara Vogel (vn); Northern Sinf AVIE 2146 (70:14)

…. You’ll find no answers on this CD, but you will find some excellent music.

The aforementioned Triptych consists of three movements: Impromptu, Lament, and Comedy. There’s a sinfonia concertante feel to its regular placement of full orchestra next to a series of solos, mostly by winds, such as the moody clarinet solo that launches the Lament. But even that Lament really cannot break through the composer’s smiling poise, and the movement is really a tranquil reflection, with an occasionally disturbed surface. As ever with this composer, we are treated to impeccable craft, and discreet counterpoint…

The Violin Concerto dates back to 1932. The composer’s writing for violin is ecstatically lyrical as well as idiomatic, and there are memorable episodes throughout…

Far better is the gem of the album, the Concertino of 1939, compounded of equal parts rhapsody and sunny serenity. Its two movements—an Andante tranquillo that functions as an expansive opening, and a Rigaudon, marked allegro giusto, that provides a scintillating finale—are a perfectly balanced pair of chamber mates. The composer states his material and begins its development at once, with a clarity that had become characteristic of his work by this time. There is …. a shimmering surface that reveals upon rehearing a myriad of attractive, subtle details.

The performances are reasonably paced… Kenneth Woods phrases with distinction, and aims for clarity in Gál’s contrapuntal textures. As for Annette-Barbara Vogel, she possesses an excellent technique, plus the kind of open-hearted warmth this soaring music requires to make its case. With good sound and attractive liner notes, fans of the composer will be pleased with this album’s purchase; I really don’t think we’ve heard the last of the Concertino on records, either. Barry Brenesal

Now available from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk, MDT or ArchivMusik

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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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