Like Brahms and Reger, Hans Gál (1890–1987) expressed some of his last musical thoughts in the form of a Clarinet Quintet, this one written when its composer was 87 years old. But the earlier works here – the Serenade written in Vienna between Gál’s expulsion from Nazi Germany and his flight after the Anschluss, and the Trio, composed in his new home of Edinburgh – reveal that its elegiac, autumnal lyricism was his natural mode of expression. In these three scores, indeed, he produced some of the loveliest music in the clarinet repertoire.
Ensemble Burletta Shelley Levy, clarinet Katalin Kertész, violin Joanne Green, violin (Tracks 1 – 3) Nichola Blakey, viola (Tracks 1 – 3) Cressida Nash, cello (Tracks 1 – 3) Pavel Timofeyevsky, piano (Tracks 4 – 6)
Catalogue No: TOCC0377EAN/UPC: 5060113443779Release Date: 01.10.2016Composer: Hans Gál Artists: Ensemble Burletta
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Trio for Violin, Clarinet and Piano, Op. 97 (1950) https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0377/04.mp3
Serenade for Clarinet, Violin and Cello, Op. 93 (1935)* https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0377/07.mp3
Rob Barnett :
‘The Quintet, written when the composer was 87, is the epitome of the fluid and bubbling soul of the instrument. The music is in ceaseless flow. What this composer has to say calms and heals. The language is rooted in the autumnal clarinet scores of Brahms and in this case the branches are not that remote from the roots. The music is imbued with an old-fashioned grace and personable dignity. The Trio, written when Gal had been living in the UK for twelve years, is a degree more playful but just as warm and “deep pile” as the Quintet. Its demeanour is a shade closer to the English pastoral – the cavatina spirit of Finzi to be found in his Concerto and Bagatelles for the instrument. The four-movement Serenade is as relaxed as the title would lead you to expect. It comprises an intricate Cantabile, a buffeting Spring breeze of a Burletta packed with character, a serenading Intermezzo in constantly changing mood-finery and an affable Giocoso that pauses at 2:20 for one of Gál’s delightful melodies: slow, confident and beguiling. The typically full notes are by Eva Fox-Gál who has done and continues to do so much to keep the Gál flame fuelled and oxygen-renewed. … Welcome music radiating confidence, depth and a smile; all ardently performed.’ –Music Web International, November 2016
Richard Bratby :
“If you’ve already been tempted into the lyrical, warm-hearted sound world of this exiled Viennese late-Romantic, you won’t need much encouragement. …The big story here is the Clarinet Quintet. Gál wears his influences with pride, with Brahms front and centre. There are long curving melodies, richly woven string textures and a bittersweet slow movement with a lilting, gypsy ish central interlude; overall, it’s hard to avoid the word ‘autumnal’. … The sincerity and craftsmanship of this music is self-evident, likewise its undertow of melancholy. This is a major rediscovery, and clarinettist Shelley Levy makes a sympathetic champion – plangent in her bottom register and accompanied by a quartet whose wide-grained tone quality suits this music well. Ensemble Burletta have a natural feeling for the ebb and flow of Gál’s style in the earlier Clarinet Trio and Serenade (the latter also a premiere recording – a suite of miniatures with a brisk sense of humour), moving easily between song and playful wit, and savouring the piquancy of Gál’s Strauss-like surprise modulations. The sound is well balanced and natural – you wouldn’t guess that this disc was recorded at three separate locations. Warmly recommended.” –Gramophone, January 2017
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