Gál’s Symphony No. 2, written in 1942-43 during the darkest war years, is perhaps the most personal of the composer’s four symphonies. With an emotional depth and haunting beauty, the symphony distils the process of overcoming pain and loss into the language of pure music. Composed a century earlier, Schumann’s Symphony No. 4 is arguably his most popular symphony. “These are both seeking, questing symphonies,” says Woods. “The Schumann seeks light and life as an escape from the D minor anguish and ferocity from which it emerges, and the Gál seeks consolation and comfort in the midst of personal and historical tragedy.”
The two works share some notable structural similarities. “Gál himself called Schumann’s Fourth his “most radical experiment in form,” Woods explains, “in which not only are all the movements thematically connected, they also are structurally interdependent. One can see in his Second Symphony that Gál had studied Schumann’s example carefully.”
Woods has earned international distinction for his Gál – Schumann series, with Gramophone magazine recognising him as a “symphonic conductor of some stature”, andAudiophileAudition.com a “front rank conductor”. The set has been featured on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and Performance Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and awarded an Editor’s Choice by Gramophone.
This season has found Kenneth Woods’ multifaceted career going from strength to strength. This spring he was appointed Artistic Director of the English Symphony Orchestra, for which he is curating a newly created subscription concert series in Christ Church, Malvern. As a cellist of some distinction, last autumn’s release with his string trio Ensemble Epomeo ofworks by Gál and Krasa, was a Gramophone magazine Critic’s Choice. His concerto appearances this season include the Brahms Double in Guildford, Walton in Wrexham, and Haydn’s C Major with Orchestra Nova in Manchester. A widely-read and respected journalist and blogger, he has contributed liner notes to a number of releases including EMI’s ICON reissue, a 20-CD box set devoted to German conductor Eugen Jochum, and has guest-blogged for Gramophone magazine. His own blog, A View from the Podium, is one of today’s 20 top classical music blogs. As a broadcaster, Woods will be heard this summer commentating for the BBC Proms. As an arranger, Woods’ orchestral version of Ullman’s String Quartet No. 3 has been recorded by David Parry and the English Chamber Orchestra for the Gramola label.
Gál’s Symphony No. 2 and Schumann’s Symphony No. 4 will be available in stores, online, as a digital download and to stream from 9 April in the US, and 22 April in the UK.
To learn more about Kenneth Woods visit http://kennethwoods.net.
All media enquiries, interview and image requests: Melanne Mueller,
+1 917 907 2785 or +44 (0) 20 8542 4866
artist: Kenneth Woods, Orchestra of the Swan
title: Hans Gál Symphony No. 2, Schumann Symphony No. 4
price: Full price
release date: 9 April 2013 (US), 22 April 2013 (UK)
selection number: AV 2232
Hans Gál (1890 – 1987)
Symphony No. 2 in F, Op. 53
I. 1 Introduction: Andante – Adagio (7:44)
II. 2 Allegro energico – molto moderato (8:21)
III. 3 Adagio (15:21)
IV. 4 Allegro moderato ma agitato (13:26)
Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856)
Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 12
I. 1 Ziemlich langsam – Lebhaft (10:06)
II. 2 Romanze: Ziemlich langsam (3:26)
III. 3 Scherzo: Lebhaft (6:46)
IV. 4 Langsam; Lebhaft (7:25)
Total time: 73:11
Recorded December 2012, Civic Hall, Stratford-upon-Avon, England
Producer: Simon Fox-Gál
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Schumann Symphony No. 3