Gottlieb Wallisch Plays Hans Gal With Distinction
This release features a selection of piano-oriented works by Hans Gal. Specifically, works written before the Second World War.
Gal was Jewish, so when the Nazis came to power in 1933, his career as a composer and teacher in Germany was over. He relocated to Austria but fled in 1938 when the Nazis annexed it. Gal and his family arrived in Britain, where they were interred as hostiles until 1940.
Two works come from the 1920s when Gal’s future looked bright. The Quartet for Piano left hand, violin, viola, and cello in A major was an important milestone. Concert pianist Paul Wittgenstein lost his right hand in the First World War. He commissioned a host of works for piano left hand to restart his concert career.
Wittgenstein only wanted the best. His commission placed Gal in august company. Maurice Ravel, Ernest Wolfgang Korngold, Paul Hindemith, Benjamin Britten, and Sergei Prokofiev were also commissioned by Wittgenstein.
Gal’s late Viennese style makes this an appealing work. And one that deserves to be heard more often.
The Piano Concertino was written in 1934 after Gal had relocated to England. The score sounds neoclassical, but there’s an edge to it. Dissonances grind together, offsetting the sunny appeal of the overall form.
Pianist Gottlieb Wallisch performs with distinction. I was particularly impressed with his playing of the piano quartet. Wallisch’s left-hand technique was first-rate. Wittgenstein wanted music that would show off his skill. Gal delivered — and so does Wallisch.
Hans Gal was a favorite among performers, conductors, and music enthusiasts. This album demonstrates why. Well-constructed music, and well-recorded.
Has Gal: Piano Quartet in A major
Suite, op. 24; Concertino, Op. 43; Impromptu
Gottlieb Wallisch, piano
Aron Quartett; Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra; Hartmut Rhde conductor
CPO 555 276-2