Thursday, 18 July 2013

Hans Gal and Schumann recordings

Hans Gal / Robert Schumann - Symphonies - Kenneth Woods - Orchestra of the Swan
Many years ago (in 1978 to be exact) I played viola in the Edinburgh Chamber Orchestra. The orchestra had links with the emigre Austrian composer Hans Gál (1890 - 1987) and in 1978 we played his Serenade for String Orchestra and I believe he was present. 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. Gal's symphonies are paired with the symphonies of Robert Schumann, a composer that Gal admired and wrote about. The orchestra has already recorded three and are now appealing for help funding the final disc.

In December 2013, the orchestra plans to complete this historic project with Schumann and Gál’s First Symphonies. Gál’s first was composed in 1927, and in spite of huge early success, it has only been performed twice since the end of World War II, in Germany in 1952 and most recently by the BBC Scottish Symphony in 1970, forty-three years ago.

The orchestra is offering a variety of inducements and rewards in return for support, ranging from signed discs and downloads to a private quartet recital, further information from the Orchestra of the Swan website.

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