Bobby and Hans take Naptown- Indy Star on Gal/Schumann 3rd Symphonies

A very nice new review of Bobby and Hans vol. 1 from Jay Harvey of the Indianapolis Star.  Read the whole thing at the Indy Star website here.


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Revelatory Schumann from Orchestra of the Swan

Written by Jay Harvey

Aug. 16, 2011

Two third symphonies make up an arresting release from Avie Records: Robert Schumann’s in E-flat, op. 97, sometimes called “the Rhenish,” and Op. 62 in A by Hans Gal, a long-lived Austrian-British composer who died in 1987.  The latter is a premiere recording that will introduce many listeners to Gal, who combines in this work skill at orchestration with a tendency to bring a complex view of structure to bear. The three-movement work concludes with a purposeful, but often blithe, virtuoso finale for the excellent British orchestra, in residence at Stratford-upon-Avon, conducted by Kenneth Woods.

Woods shows his luminous interpretive vision in the Schumann, which blasts away the cobwebs of  the composer’s reputation as a dull, borderline inept, orchestrator. As Schumann’s final of four works in the symphonic idiom, Op. 97 is  full of energy and inspiration. Never has the outline of Schumann’s composition been clearer. Woods shapes exemplary phrasing from Orchestra of the Swan; the clarity does not amount to some kind of antiseptic dissection, but something more at the opposite extreme: a new lease on life for a familiar masterwork.

The Bobby and Hans project depends on the generous sponsorship of music lovers and friends of the Orchestra of the Swan and fans of the music of Hans Gal and Robert Schumann. Without your help, the orchestral music of Gal will remain unheard. We hope you will give what you can to keep the music playing.

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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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2 comments on “Bobby and Hans take Naptown- Indy Star on Gal/Schumann 3rd Symphonies”

  1. Erik K


    I stand by my original statement that the Schumann is the finest I’ve heard, with the caveat that I haven’t heard the Sawallisch that I believe you and Joel Lazar both recommend highly. But it’s a superlative performance in every way. And it’s not getting old on repeat listenings. Congrats.

  2. Kenneth Woods

    @Erik K

    Thanks so much, Erik– I get extra excited when people notice the Schumann. It’s not a filler or a coupling for Gal to me, but a very important project for me personally, and I think the orchestra did some fine work on it.

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