Author Topic: Hans Gal(1890-1987)  (Read 2794 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Dundonnell

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3599
  • Edmund Rubbra(1901-86)
Hans Gal(1890-1987)
« on: August 05, 2011, 02:06:43 PM »
Hans Gal was an Austrian composer who achieved some considerable success in the 1920s and who was appointed Director of the Mainz Conservatory in 1929. His appointment in Mainz was strongloy supported by, amongst others, Wilhelm Furtwangler and Richard Strauss.

Dismissed by the Nazis in 1933 on account of his Jewish parentage Gal fled to Britain in 1938 after the Anschluss and took up a teaching post at the University of Edinburgh. There he remained for the rest of a very long life.

There are obvious parallels with a number of other Austrian composers who made the same journey, most notably Egon Wellesz, who ended up at Oxford University. Gal''s music however is not influenced, as was that of Wellesz, by Schoenberg. His music is firmly rooted in the Austro-German tradition of Schubert, Schumann and Bruckner. Indeed Gal won the Austrian section of the 1928 Columbia Schubert Competition with his Sinfonietta/Symphony No.1.

Gal was a highly respected figure in the musical life of Edinburgh and many of his compositions were first performed by the excellent amateur Reid Orchestra in the city(once conducted by Sir Donald Tovey). Outside Edinburgh however he was largely forgotten.......until now!

Over the past year or so there has been an extraordinary renaissance courtesy of the Avie record label. Avie released a cd of Gal's Violin Concerto, Concertino for Violin and string orchestra and Triptych for orchestra. Now they are engaged in releasing all four of Gal's symphonies. No. 1 was released(coupled with Schubert's 6th) and No. 2 will shortly be released(coupled with Schubert's 9th) with the Northern Sinfonia(of Newcastle) conducted by Thomas Zehetmair-who clearly believes passionately in Gal's work-while No.3 came out recently(coupled with Schumann's 3rd) with the Orchestra of the Swan conducted by the American Kenneth Woods.

There is an excellent website devoted to Gal-

http://www.hansgal.com/

The cds have generally received positive comment from the critics in the musical journals. The symphonies do not reveal their secrets easily. They are, I suppose, 'old-fashioned' works, understated but definitely the works of a composer who knew his business. The 2nd and 3rd symphonies are sincere tributes to a musical world which had disappeared and for which Gal obviously felt profound nostalgia. They are not, however, lushly romantic or overblown-quite the opposite. I would encourage those who might be interested to give them a try.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2011, 02:09:26 PM by Dundonnell »

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 9277
  • Location: Rotherfield, East Sussex,
Re: Hans Gal(1890-1987)
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2011, 08:35:49 AM »
Sounds very interesting Colin.

Do you know the Tyberg Symphony (Naxos)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Guido

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3322
  • 396 CCs
Re: Hans Gal(1890-1987)
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2011, 02:58:39 AM »
The cello concerto is a tad rambling and prolix, but has some gorgeous moments. He's an interesting figure, but I find other british emigrees more interesting (those other G's: Goldschmidt and Gerhardt)
Geologist.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8695
  • William Havergal Brian, symphonist (1876-1972)
    • JZH Text Services
  • Location: Delft, Netherlands
  • Currently Listening to:
    Bruckner, Wagner, Brian, Bax, Dyson, Delius...
Re: Hans Gal(1890-1987)
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2011, 05:24:15 AM »
Just listened to a few snippets from the Third Symphony and the Violin Concerto... I like it. There is a bittersweet quality to the beauty that is certainly there.
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline Dundonnell

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3599
  • Edmund Rubbra(1901-86)
Re: Hans Gal(1890-1987)
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2011, 02:58:42 PM »
Listening to Gal's big(43 minutes) Symphony No.2(1942/43) for the first time: Northern Sinfonia/Thomas Zehetmair, coupled with Schubert's Great C major on the Avie label. The work was performed twice in Germany, in 1948 and 1949, twice in England, in 1950 and 1951 and has never been heard since.

It is extraordinarily difficult to categorise or pigeonhole. Beautifully written, immensely pleasant on the ear, it almost hardly seems a 20th century work at all. In many ways one could imagine Brahms or Bruckner having no great difficulty appreciating the music. It is light years away from Gal's fellow emigree to Britain Egon wellesz. There is a Schubertian elegance, absolutely none of the angst or bitterness you might expect from an exile from his native country.

It seemed to me initially that Avie's decision to couple the three Gal symphonies they have released so far with symphonies by Schubert and Schumann was simply to make the cds easier to sell(which it will, of course!) but the couplings now seem much more natural. Gal is a linear descendant. It is not hard to understand why there was little chance of this music making much headway in the postwar years.

If you like 19th century purity and beauty in music you should appreciate Hans Gal :)
« Last Edit: September 19, 2011, 03:16:30 PM by Dundonnell »

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8695
  • William Havergal Brian, symphonist (1876-1972)
    • JZH Text Services
  • Location: Delft, Netherlands
  • Currently Listening to:
    Bruckner, Wagner, Brian, Bax, Dyson, Delius...
Re: Hans Gal(1890-1987)
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2011, 03:10:50 PM »
You are certainly a pioneer, Colin! As I wrote here earlier, I listened to snippets of Gál's music, and liked what I heard. You confirm my favourable impression.
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Online calyptorhynchus

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 627
  • Location: Canberra, Australia
Re: Hans Gal(1890-1987)
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2012, 10:13:38 PM »
I heard the radio broadcast of the Cello Concerto and was impressed. I ordered the CDs (2) of the String Quartets, which I'm listening to at the moment, I'm finding then very good, very reserved and enigmatic, but very poised. I'll probably listen to one of the symphonies next.

Gal is hard to categorise, if you listened to him in one of those blind listening programs you'd be hard put to say when the music was written. It reminds me a little of early Robert Simposn, though not quite so advanced. It makes you want to keep on listening to see what happens next.

Offline snyprrr

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 10755
  • SQs, PQs, PQTs, PTs, VSs, Berlioz-Xenakis/Aperghis
  • Currently Listening to:
    Things that are crisp and spritely vs. things that are thick and creamy
Re: Hans Gal(1890-1987)
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2012, 07:16:12 AM »
The word 'Jewish' not mentioned once in today's Washington Post article on Gal, which is interesting considering the Post...

aaaanyways,... Sym. 3 is out...
Rat Poison is 99% Good Food, so Follow the Money

Haydn-Sikh

Online calyptorhynchus

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 627
  • Location: Canberra, Australia
Re: Hans Gal(1890-1987)
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2012, 03:47:41 PM »
One curious thing about Gal's music is that it is more consistently minor than almost any other composer I can think of. If you look at the designations of his works they are almost all minor (eg String Quartet No.3 in B minor), and the music generally is also generally in the minor mode more often than not.

I believe that the minor (or similar sounding modes) are characteristic of Hungarian folk-music. I know Gal was born near Vienna to a Jewish family and his first language was German, but Gal with the a acute is a Hungarian name, I wonder how much Hungarian folk-music the young or older Gal picked up. Certainly at times his music sounds like a less spiky Bartok, especially in the scherzos.

jlaurson

  • Guest
Re: Hans Gal(1890-1987)
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2013, 09:06:26 AM »



Dip Your Ears, No. 132 (Gál’s Marionettes)


http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2013/04/dip-your-ears-no-132-gals-marionettes.html
Don’t let the amateurish graphic design of this release (strictly speaking re-release from an earlier Olympia recording), or the performer’s shiny turquoise waistcoat fool you: These are quality piano duos...

jlaurson

  • Guest
Re: Hans Gál's Garrison(1890-1987)
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2013, 06:39:41 AM »


A Helping Hand for Hans Gál!

Quote
Conductor Kenneth Woods and his Orchestra of the Swan are busily raising money (via indigogo) for the last installment of their splendid, admirable, gorgeous-sounding Hans Gál Symphony project. Hans Gál is a composer dear to ionarts, he's been mentioned in the past and bound to get more attention still, in the future. His is music “you didn't know you love”—and you won’t, unless more recordings...
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2013/08/a-helping-hand-for-hans-gal.html[/url]

Offline Scion7

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1999
  • "A vér az élet."
  • Location: Borgó Pass
Re: Hans Gal [1890-1987] garnish
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2017, 01:04:47 AM »
An Austrian Jew via Scotland - that's not something you hear about every day!
He also wrote books on Schubert and Brahms, and others on Wagner and Verdi.

     Orchestral
===============================

 Overture to a Puppet Play, Op.20, 1923
 Symphony no.1 (Sinfonietta), Op.30, 1927
 Ballet Suite (Scaramuccio), Op.36, 1929
 Violin Conc., Op.39, 1932
 Concertino, Op.43, piano, strings, 1934
 Concertino, Op.52, violin, strings, 1939
 Serenade, Op.46, strings, 1937
 A Pickwickian Overture, Op.45, 1939–44
 Lilliburlero: Improvisations on a Martial Melody, Op.48, c1943
 Symphony no.2, Op.53, 1942–3
 Concertino, Op.55, organ, strings, 1948
 piano Conc., Op.57, 1948
 Symphony no.3, Op.62, 1951–2
 Cello Concerto, Op.67, 1944
 Meanders, suite, Op.69, 1954–5
 Idyllikon, Op.79, suite, 1958–9
 Concertino, Op.87, cello, strings, 1966
 Triptych, Op.100, 1970
 Suite, Op.102a/b, viola/alto sax, orch, 1949
 Symphony no.4 (Sinfonia concertante), Op.103, 1973

     Chamber music
==============================

 Variations on a Viennese ‘Heurigen’ Melody, Op.9, piano trio, 1914
 5 Intermezzi, Op.10, str qt, 1914, also appeared as 4 Miniatures, Op.10a
 Piano Quartet, Op.13, c1914
 String Quartet no.1, Op.16, 1916
 Piano Trio, Op.18, 1923
 Divertimento, Op.22, 8 wind, 1924
 Promenade Music for Wind Instruments (1926)
 Quartet for violin, viola, cello and piano left hand  (1926)
 String Quartet no.2, Op.35, 1929
 Serenade, Op.41, string trio, 1931
 Lyrical Suite, for Soprano, Flute, String Quartet  (1934) [Flute, Mandolin, String Trio arrangement]
 Little Suite, Op.49a, 2 violin, cello, piano ad lib, 1947–8
 Piano Trio, Op.49b, (1949)
 Suite, Op.59b, 3 mandolins (1956)
 Divertimento, Op.68c, 2 recorders, guitar (1958)
 Quartettino, Op.78, 4 recorders (1960)
 Concertino, Op.82, rec, string quartet/string orch/piano, 1961
 Trio Serenade, Op.88, recorder/flute, violin, cello (1967)
 Huyton Suite, Op.92, flute, 2 violins, 1940
 Serenade, Op.93, clarinet, violin, cello, 1935
 Trio, Op.94, oboe, violin, viola, 1941
 String Quartet no.3, Op.95, 1969
 Sonata, Op.96, 2 violins, piano, 1941
 Trio, Op.97, clarinet, violin, piano, 1950
 String Quartet no.4, Op.98, 1971
 Suite, Op.6, cello, piano, 1919
 Sonata, Op.17, violin, piano, 1920
 Suite, Op.56, violin, piano, 1942
 Sonatina, Op.59a, 2 mandolins (1952)
 Improvisation, Theme and Finale on Mozart, Op.60b, String Qt (1934)
 Suite, Op.68a, rec, violin, 1954–5
 6 2-part Inventions, Op.68b, 2 recorders (1958)
 3 Sonatinas, Op.71, violin, piano, 1956–7
 Divertimento, Op.80, mandolin, harpsichord/piano (1961)
 Sonata, Op.84, clarinet, piano (1965)
 Sonata, Op.85, oboe, piano (1965)
 Sonata, Op.89, cello, piano, 1953
 Divertimento, Op.90/1, bassoon, cello, c1958
 Two Scottish Rhapsodies, cello, piano (1960)
 Divertimento, Op.90/2, violin, cello (1968)
 Divertimento, Op.90/3, violin, viola, c1969
 Sonata, Op.101, va, piano, 1941
 Trio in f#, Op.104 for string trio
 String Quintet, Op.106 (1976)
 Sonata, Op.109, cello, piano  (1982)
 Clarinet Quintet, Op.107  (1977)

Piano: Serbische Weiser, op.3, 4 hands, 1916
 3 Sketches, op.7, 1910–11
 Suite for Clavier, Op.24  (1922)
 Sonata, Op.28, 1927
 Tunes from Old Vienna, 1934
 3 Impromptus, for 2 pianos  1942
 Sonatine Nr.1, Op.58 No.1  (1951)
 Sonatine Nr.2, Op.58 No.2  (1951)
 3 Preludes, Op.65  (1944)
 24 Preludes, op.83, 1960
 24 Fugues, Op.108  (1979)

Organ: Toccata, op.29, 1928
 Prelude & Fugue in Ab (1956)
 Phantasia, Arioso and Capriccioso   


Several operas, songs, and large choral works - none of which I have heard.

I will have to sample the voice side of things on YT some day.

The New Grove:  "   Though an inheritor of the legacy of Brahms, he had by the time of his twenties found his own distinctive musical language to which, regardless of changing musical fashions, he remained true. It unites many elements: the clarity, playful humour and formal mastery of early Classicism; the chromatic harmony and extended tonality of early 20th-century, pre-serial music; a Schubertian love of melody; the lyricism and emotional restraint of Brahms and the contrapuntal textures that remained fundamental to his style.   "
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 12:19:44 AM by Scion7 »
Your barricades lie broken ... your enemies lord.

Offline kyjo

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 463
  • Kurt Atterberg (1887-1974)
  • Location: United States
Re: Hans Gal(1890-1987)
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2017, 09:47:13 AM »
I was listening to Gál's Third Symphony recently - a beautifully lyrical work with an occasional dark undercurrent. Gál's style, rather like that of Frank Martin, is very individual and understated yet accessible.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 09:50:06 AM by kyjo »

Offline Scion7

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1999
  • "A vér az élet."
  • Location: Borgó Pass
Re: Hans Gal [1890-1987] - unrecorded pieces
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2017, 07:38:17 PM »
The majority of the chamber music is out there.

A few perhaps more "important" pieces have yet to be recorded or to show up as live-performances on YouTube:

 The Piano Quartet, Op.13
 Trio for Oboe, Violin and Viola, Op.94
 String Quintet, Op.106 (1976)

 :blank:
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 12:26:10 AM by Scion7 »
Your barricades lie broken ... your enemies lord.

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 41000
  • Bohuslav Martinů (1890 - 1959)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    The Opening of the Wells during Magic Nights
Re: Hans Gal(1890-1987)
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2017, 07:55:45 PM »
I listened to Gál’s symphonies when the symphony set was released with Kenneth Woods conducting the Orchestra of the Swan. I can’t say I’m terribly impressed with the music. There’s a lyricism in the music, but what it lacks is the sort of edge and individuality you get in the symphonies of other German/Austrian composers around his time like K.A. Hartmann for example. Gál is a bit old-fashioned, but so were many composers in the 20th Century, but it’s what they brought to the music that distinguishes one from the next and, unfortunately, for me, Gál just doesn’t strike me as someone with a compelling musical voice of his own. All IMHO of course.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2017, 07:57:30 PM by Mirror Image »
"Music must be beautiful, or it wouldn’t be worth the effort” - Bohuslav Martinů

Offline kyjo

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 463
  • Kurt Atterberg (1887-1974)
  • Location: United States
Re: Hans Gal(1890-1987)
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2017, 09:17:10 PM »
I listened to Gál’s symphonies when the symphony set was released with Kenneth Woods conducting the Orchestra of the Swan. I can’t say I’m terribly impressed with the music. There’s a lyricism in the music, but what it lacks is the sort of edge and individuality you get in the symphonies of other German/Austrian composers around his time like K.A. Hartmann for example. Gál is a bit old-fashioned, but so were many composers in the 20th Century, but it’s what they brought to the music that distinguishes one from the next and, unfortunately, for me, Gál just doesn’t strike me as someone with a compelling musical voice of his own. All IMHO of course.

Yeah, I definitely get where you're coming from, John. What I've heard of Gal's music is quite subtle and understated and often beautiful but lacks that extra "oomph" that really causes me to sit up and take notice. Nevertheless, I plan to explore more of his output in the future.

Offline Scion7

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1999
  • "A vér az élet."
  • Location: Borgó Pass
Re: Hans Gal [1890-1987]
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2017, 01:26:32 AM »
score - Piano Quartet in B, Op.13  -  unrecorded.  :-[

Your barricades lie broken ... your enemies lord.

Offline springrite

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 6043
  • Location: Flying all over the place
  • Currently Listening to:
    Lots of Bach, Brian, Mahler, Rubbra, Beethoven and Buddhist chants
Re: Hans Gal(1890-1987)
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2017, 03:18:08 AM »
I quite like the piano trios but have not listened to the symphonies yet. I should do it this week.
Do what I must do, and let what must happen happen.

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 41000
  • Bohuslav Martinů (1890 - 1959)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    The Opening of the Wells during Magic Nights
Re: Hans Gal(1890-1987)
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2017, 06:20:48 AM »
Yeah, I definitely get where you're coming from, John. What I've heard of Gal's music is quite subtle and understated and often beautiful but lacks that extra "oomph" that really causes me to sit up and take notice. Nevertheless, I plan to explore more of his output in the future.

I certainly understand the idea of subtlety and understatement, but my idea of a symphony is it should be a piece of musical drama and have some kind of argument. Gál simply lacks drama and any kind of deeply felt emotions that I get with so many other composers’ music. I should’ve also mentioned I heard his Violin Concerto as well. My reaction was pretty much the same as what I stated about the symphonies in my initial post.
"Music must be beautiful, or it wouldn’t be worth the effort” - Bohuslav Martinů

Offline kyjo

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 463
  • Kurt Atterberg (1887-1974)
  • Location: United States
Re: Hans Gal(1890-1987)
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2017, 10:13:55 AM »
my idea of a symphony is it should be a piece of musical drama and have some kind of argument.

+1

Buying Music From Amazon?
Please consider using these links. A small percentage of every sale using these links is passed on to GMG and helps keep this forum online.
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK