Hans Gál: Book and CD launch
Monday 19 January 2015, 6.30 – 8.30pm
Central Synagogue, 40 Hallam Street, W1N 6NW
In 1940 celebrated Austrian composer Hans Gál, having escaped to Britain from the Nazi horrors, found himself incarcerated as an ‘Enemy Alien’ on the Isle of Man. For the first time the diary Gál kept during his captivity has been translated and published in English by Toccata Press, entitled ‘Music behind Barbed Wire: A Diary of Summer 1940’
The diary is a vivid account of personal survival and creativity in extraordinary circumstances. It illuminates the deprivations and intrinsic absurdity of imprisoning Hitler’s greatest enemies, but also the resourcefulness with which these refugees, thrown together in captivity, were able to create intellectual and musical nourishment.
There will be readings from the diary and live music from ‘What a Life’, a satirical revue produced by the internees with music by Gál. It will include songs from the revue and a performance of the ‘Ballad of Poor Jacob’ (the story of the eternal wandering Jew). The performers are Tom Guthrie (baritone and reader), Norbert Meyn (tenor) and Michael Freyhan (piano).
“Hans Gál: the Four Symphonies”, conducted by Kenneth Woods with Orchestra of the Swan, will also be launched at this event, as a double CD. These highly acclaimed recordings mark the first integral cycle of the Gál symphonies ever recorded, gathered here for the first time in a single volume. Avie’s previous all-Gál recordings include the Complete String Trios, Complete works for solo piano, the Complete Sonatas for Violin and piano, and the Concerto and Concertino for Violin and Orchestra, with Triptych for Orchestra. Kenneth Woods, who featured throughout the week when Gál was Radio 3’s ‘Composer of the Week’ (May 2014), will provide an engaging overview with ample musical examples of this remarkable symphonic cycle.
JMI podcast with interviews with Eva and Martin here: