Bringing to light another of Hans Gal’s gorgeously melodic and finely crafted scores, AVIE presents the world premiere recording of the Austrian émigré’s Concertino for Cello and String Orchestra with Matthew Sharp supported by Gal aficionado Kenneth Woods conducting the English Symphony Orchestra. Gal’s compositional output was vast, varied and consistent, from his early success in 1920s Germany, through internment during World War II, to his days in Edinburgh where he settled, became a respected academic and lived out his long life. His vivacious Cello Concertino was written in 1965, when he was 75 years old. The two spirited solo cello works were among his last, written at the age of 92. “hats off to conductor Kenneth WoodsRead more for making a case for Gal’s elegantly built orchestral pieces… Here’s hoping this is the beginning of a substantial Gal revival.” (National Public Radio’s All Things Considered)
Cello soloist Matthew Sharp plays outstandingly throughout, with deep concentration and a telling blend of artistry and control. Striking are the vivid colors and glorious tone he produces on his cello. In the Cello Concertino one senses the calm assurance of Kenneth Woods conducting the English Chamber Orchestra who play with vibrancy and a convincing feel for the idiom.
Well-crafted works for celloDecember 18, 2018By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA)See All My Reviews"Gál wrote throughout his life in a tonal post-romantic style. After the War, this style was considered somewhat old-fashioned, and his music fell into disfavor. It's only been in recent years that it's been rediscovered and presented to the world. One of Gál's champions is conductor Kenneth Woods. In every recording he makes a strong case for Gál's music -- and this disc is no exception. Gál's Concertino for Cello and String Orchestra, Op. 87 receives its world premiere recording here. The work was completed in 1966, and I can understand audiences of the day thinking it old-fashioned. But taken on its own merits, the concertino is well-constructed work of beauty. Gál's language may be tonal, but it's one full of imagination. Cellist Matthew Sharp digs into the material with relish, artfully shaping every phrase for maximum effect. The concertino is an expressive work, and what it most seems to express is joy. A welcome rediscovery, indeed! The recording also includes Gál's two sonatas for solo cello, Op. 109. Gál was a trained pianist, but these sonatas show he had a thorough understanding of the cello's capabilities. To my ears, the works almost sounded like extended cadenzas. The thematic ideas flow freely and develop logically. Matthew Sharp played impressively in the concertino. With these solo sonatas, he's even more impressive. Sharp delivers finely nuanced performances that work on all levels."Report Abuse