A new review for the Orchestra of the Swan’s new recording of Hans Gal’s Fourth Symphony and Schumann’s Second from critic Colin Anderson, editor at Classical Source. Read the whole thing here. A short sample follows
Gal: “It’s a bewitching work. Anyone responding to Richard Strauss’s last music (such as Horn Concerto No.2, Metamorphosen, and Capriccio), often referred to as ‘autumnal’, will find much to like in Gál’s expressive and pastoral first movement. The pirouetting scherzo owes something to Columbine and Harlequin (of commedia dell’arte fame); the slow movement is deeply-felt; and the finale is entitled ‘Buffoneria’ and is a delight. This first recording of Gál 4 is admirable, players whether soloists or ensemble at the top of their game, the music’s deep-seated expertise unravelled for the listener’s pleasure.
Robert Schumann’s Second is one of the greatest of symphonies. Period! It’s a wonderful outpouring, at once deeply personal and vividly outgoing. Energy and eloquence combine for a score that simply stays fresh, thrilling and entrancing with each and every outing (even surviving the dodgy ones!). Kenneth Woods and his willing band of Swans give a superb performance, lithe, neat, nimble, poetic (the glorious slow movement really touches the heart) and passionate. A chamber performance it may be, but there’s no lack of power and passion when required and it’s also a reading studded with detail: woodwinds, brass and timpani revealingly balanced with the strings (violins helpfully antiphonal).
If I am ever sent off to that desert island and can grab a Schumann 2 before embarking, I would take Sawallisch’s Staatskapelle Dresden version while bemoaning the leaving-behind of Celibidache and Boult (very different readers of this symphony), but Woods and Swan are right up there, charting this marvellous work with a very special dedication and insight.”