Gál- Symphony no. 4, Schumann- Symphony no. 2

Hans Gal (1890-1987)
Symphony no. 4, opus 105 (“Sinfonia Concertante”)

Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
Symphony no. 2 in C major, opus 61

Orchestra of the Swan
David Le Page- violin, Christopher Allan-cello, Diane Clark-flute, Sally Harrop- clarinet

Recording- December 6-7, 2011, Civic Hall, Stratford-upon-Avon
Produced, engineered and edited by Simon Fox-Gal
Released March, 2011
Avie Records (AV2231)

For more details, please go to the Bobby  and Hans home page.

Critical Reaction:

“…consummate craft in a mostly consonant, mellifluous style seemingly little touched by the great tragedies of the 20th century or his personal troubles…Mr. Woods and the orchestra do a fine job of revealing the qualities of this peculiar master.”
James R. Oestreich, The New York Times

“a wonderful outpouring, at once deeply personal and vividly outgoing. Energy and eloquence combine for a score that simply stays fresh, thrilling and entrancing… 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 …. Woods and Swan are right up there, charting this marvelous work with a very special dedication and insight.”
Colin Anderson, Classical Source

“What an exquisitely crafted piece Hans Gál’s Fourth Symphony is… a work that succeeds splendidly on its own terms…Another triumph then for Kenneth Woods and the Orchestra of the Swan.”
Gavin Dixon, Classical CD Reviews

 “Throughout his career, Gál felt himself to be in the Brahmsian tradition, though his music seldom sounds particularly Brahmsian. Yet Brahms himself– usually so niggardly of praise for the efforts of the younger generation—would surely have found warm words of admiration for Gál’s Symphony no. 4…Schumann’s C major Symphony.. receives a first-rate performance.. with a wonderful sense of expansiveness and profound and delicate feeling in the slow movement”
International Record Review, Calum MacDonald

“Woods proves in this recording to be a front rank conductor, capturing the
feeling of sorrow and compassion of the symphony [Gál}. Woods has
seized on the essence of this Schumann Symphony. His reading is
smooth, grand and exciting… one of the best recordings available. Highly
Recommended- five stars”
Zan Furtwangler, Audiophile Audition

“Didn’t you think it was very well-played? Because I don’t think anyone
could do better than that”
Chris De Souza: BBC Radio 3 CD Review

“All those many things going on form a coherent discourse in this performance [Schumann] Another ingredient is how they build fearlessly not only to one climax but to an overall climax for the whole work… truly poetic.. But let me harp again on the divine madness – the insane glee, the visceral delight… like any number of recordings of Bernstein or Furtwangler… In this performance the speed is not hectic but ecstatic. YES! Divine madness, like this, must be experienced. On top of this, you get  the Hans Gal Fourth, written in 1975, when it would have seemed “backward” in idiom -ha! Give it a chance: it will come to move you deeply. And it’s hard to imagine a better performance. If my blog had a star system, this disc would certainly get 5 of them.”
Musicologist Bernard D Sherman

” Woods continues his distinguished Gál cycle recorded at Stratford-on-Avon…a worthy endeavour, which should keep the name and music of holocaust survivor Hans Gál (1890-1987) before the public as long as CDs continue to be bought…”
Peter Grahame Woolf, Musical Pointers

“Gál is worth getting to know and the Swan does  it proud, giving also a spruce and eloquent performance of Schumann’s Second. Four stars”
Geoffrey Norris, The Saturday Telegraph

“Schumann’s C major symphony shares the Gal’s combative spirit, as it was written in the 1840s when the composer was battling depression. In his own words it represents the ‘power of resistance of spirit’. Woods conducts it with profound romanticfeeling, the repeated statements never repetitive, the conscious striving neverself-conscious. It may yet prove to be a landmark…”
Rick Jones, Words and Music