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Symphony No. 4 / Symphony No. 2
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Kenneth Woods and Orchestra of the Swan s world premiere recording of Hans Gál s Symphony
No. 3, coupled with Schumann s Third, was one of the most lauded classical releases of 2011.
With features on NPR s All Things Considered and Performance Today, in Gramophone and BBC
Music magazine, and dozens of newspaper and online reviews, a new generation is discovering
and seeking out Gál s wide-ranging and extensive oeuvre. Woods, a prolific blogger, further stokes
the interest with his extensive posts on A View from the Podium, one of the 25 most-read classical
blogs in the world.
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 5 x 5.75 x 0.5 inches; 4.02 Ounces
- Manufacturer : Avie Records
- Original Release Date : 2012
- Date First Available : February 12, 2012
- Label : Avie Records
- ASIN : B0071GPGAA
- Number of discs : 1
Best Sellers Rank:
#619,313 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
- #27,077 in Symphonies (CDs & Vinyl)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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With respect to this disc I didn't really see any correlation between the two symphonies. In fact the Schumann is so much more interesting and dynamic compared to Gal's 4th that the contrast does a disservice to Gal -- who's music in general I like very much. His 4th symphony is clearly more like a concerto grosso than a symphony with some interesting interplay between the soloists. However I found it generally much less interesting (tedious in fact) compared with his other symphonies and orchestral music. Perhaps the piece looks better on paper or in the concert hall where at least we can see the dueling soloists in action.
For those new to Hans Gal's music I would suggest they try out his other symphonies first. To Avie I say shame on you for your coupling "shenanigans".
Gal's Fourth Symphony must be the most beautiful symphonic work of its era (written in 1973)- melodious and seductive, but also highly sophisticated music that rewards focused and repeated listening. Gal's lifelong study of counterpoint is shines through in his wonderfully vibrant dialogue between the four solo parts, played here with elan and character by the principals of the Stratford-upon-Avon based Orchestra of the Swan. Gal's symphony may seem suspiciously genial and light on first acquaintance, but it's music of real depth and profound feeling (the third movement is particularly touching)- a real symphony and a great symphony, recorded here for the first time in a performance that BBC Radio 3 recently said "couldn't really be bettered." It's music that combines the melodic generosity of late Richard Strauss with the humor and sophistication of Haydn and the contrapuntal language of Bach.
Gal was a well known Schumann scholar and author of a bok on Schumann's orchestral music and was himself the last in the line of German and Austrian symphonic masters that began with Haydn and continued through Schumann and Brahms to Mahler. Schumann 2 is a more extrovert and public work than the Gal, but it's no less personal, and it's debt to Haydn (who Schumann quotes in the in the first bar of the piece) and Bach offer a number of interesting connections, contrasts, parallels and insights between the two works. Someone has obviously given this coupling careful thought.
The relatively familiar Schumann offers welcome context for the completely unknown Gal, but it is also a completely satisfying listen on its own terms. Gramophone said it established Woods as a "conductor of stature," (this disc was a Gramophone Choice in July 2012), Audiophile Audition calls it "one of the best recordings available," MusicWeb called this interpretation "second to none" and International Record Review called it "a first rate performance." I'd put it right up there with my vintage Sawalisch/Dresden set.
Avie's sound is excellent, with notes by the conductor in English, German and French. Highly recommended.
I can't wait for volume 3!
The Schumann performances couldn't be more exciting or idiomatic.
The Gal might be technically and formally a symphony, but it doesn't come near to feeling like one. It feels like a Martinu concerto grosso without Czech flavor, or much of any flavor for that matter. It's labelled "sinfonia concertante" - the four soloists (violin, cello, flute, & clarinet) are dancing with one another much of the time, the well-recorded chamber orchestra fitting in quite well. About 90% into the final movement there are a few moments of fortissimo... finally.
Perfect background music for sipping tea on the porch with your future mother-in-law.