5 days to go- A letter from Ken

Hi everyone

Sorry to bother you again!

By now, I’ve been in touch with most, if not all of you about the Orchestra of the Swan’s campaign on Indiegogo to fund the fourth and final volume in our series of the symphonies of Hans Gal and Robert Schumann.

Hans Gal (1890-1887) was one of music’s good guys- one of the best and brightest of the generation of Viennese composers who succeed Richard Strauss and Mahler. Had he not been pushed into exile and obscurity by Hitler and the Nazi’s in the 1903’s, I’m sure he’d be a standard repertoire composer. As it is, this project will not only be the first complete cycle of recordings of his symphonies, it is also the first time any orchestra has played all the symphonies in concert. Ever. When we performed his Second Symphony last December, it was the first time that amazing work had been heard live since the early 1950’s. When we finish the cycle in December, with your help, it will be the first live performance of the First Symphony in over forty years.

We’ve made great progress in the campaign so far, and attracted a lot of media attention, but we need to seal the deal.


Orchestral recordings are incredibly expensive- before even launching this campaign, we’d raised more than 3/4 of what we need. If we don’t succeed in raising the approximately £6k we still need, we risk losing the +£30k we’ve already got from other sources, and missing our window to record in December. It would be heartbreaking and a huge setback for the cause of this wonderful music.

Crowdfunding is a very mixed blessing- yes, it can make great projects like this possible, but it also means we all  have more worthwhile projects and ideas vying for our attention. I wouldn’t be coming to you if we didn’t need your help.

The hours are slipping past. Just five days remain. Please help.

I’ll end with a collection of recent press so you have some idea about how important this project is.

If everyone who gets this email gives something, whatever you can, and forwards it to a friend, we can finish this campaign in hours rather than days.

Thank you so much, and I promise, after this, I am done with crowdfunding 🙂


If you don’t know Gal’s music, you can listen to samples of all the CDs so far here.

Read more-

An extensive review released yesterday from MusicWeb which talks extensively about the importance of this series of recordings “Hans Gál is gradually becoming better known. It is quite shameful that a composer as good as he was should have lived amongst us, and taught so many students, for forty years, yet should still have to be brought out from the shadows into the light of recognition.”

A blog post from Jessica Duchen, music critic for The Independent “Hans Gál is one of music’s most scandalously undersung, underplayed, under-recognised good guys. I first saw his name as a child, as my dad had his admirable books on Schubert and Brahms – yet scarcely heard a note of his music”

Blogger and critic Robert Hugill “Since then Gál’s name has cropped up periodically, but his music still does not receive the recognition it deserves. Like a number of other Jewish musicians Gál and his family fled to England in the 1930’s but his music never recovered, though he went on to have a career as a distinguished academic at Edinburgh University, his works were not played very much. Now the Stratford-upon-Avon based Orchestra of the Swan are recording all of Gál’s four symphonies conducted by Kenneth Woods. ”

A news item from ClassicalSource “The first three recordings of Gál’s symphonies have been broadcast in their entirety countless times, reviewed and discussed in outlets as significant as National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, American Public Media’s Performance Today, BBC Radio 3’s CD Review, the Sunday New York Times, the Sunday Washington Post, the Guardian, the Saturday Telegraph and all the major musical journals, review magazines and websites. For the first time in generations, Gál’s symphonies have been reaching a broad international audience.

Recent review from Gramophone Magazine

Recent review from International Record Review

Composer and Guitarist Gerald Garcia lends his voice

Former Gramophone editor James Inverne already has vol 4 pegged as a highlight of 2014 “…the first recorded cycle of symphonies by the much neglected (though slowly, perhaps, now returning to fashion) composer Hans Gál. Woods, the Orchestra of the Swan and the label, itself, have really done their reputation no end of good with this series, with Gal played alongside Schumann symphonies.”

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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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