CD Review- Entartete Musik on Bobby and Hans vol. 1

Critic and blogger Gavin Plumley has a new review of the new Orchestra of the Swan/KW recording of the 3rd Symphonies of Hans Gal and Robert Schumann on his blog, Entartete Musik. Plumley previously reviewed our Mahler disc for SOMM Records here.

Here is a sample (read the whole thing at Entartete Musik)


Cut off from his native Vienna, Hans Gál (1890-1987) pined for home. This world premiere recording of his Symphony No. 3, composed while in exile in Edinburgh, offers a valuable insight into 20th century Austrian music. Somewhat nostalgic, his music also professes what tonal music could still offer post-Schoenberg. Coupled with Schumann’s third symphony, the Orchestra of the Swan and Kenneth Woods give us a compelling encounter with this shifting symphonic landscape.

Born just outside the Austrian capital, Gál trained there before taking up a professional post in Mainz. When Hitler came to power in 1933 Gál had to return to Austria, only to find himself a stranger there too when the Anschluss was confirmed. He fled to Edinburgh. Rather than following his peers Schoenberg, Berg and Webern down a serial route, his music is steadfastly diatonic, imbued with the traditions of 19th century Vienna. Like his compatriot Egon Wellesz, who spent the remainder of his life in Britain, Gál’s symphonic mood is one of regret coupled with pugnacious determination.

Kenneth Woods charts the contradictory tendencies of Gál’s style with panache. Despite self-professed chamber orchestra size, the band has grown for this larger symphonic repertoire  [ed. note; 45 musicians in the Gal, a complete listing here] while retaining its intimacy and vivid communication (as heard on its recent Mahler release). In the opening movement – switching between sweet lyricism and more searching passages – Woods paints with an unashamedly romantic palate. Mahlerian swoops and Brahms-like bloom place Gál in his context…

The balmy Romanticism of the Andante is captured lovingly by the players. Oboe and violin solos are languorous and longing…

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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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