HANS GÁL (1890-1987): Symphony No. 2 in F, Op. 53, FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828): Symphony No. 9 in C, D 944.
Catalogue Number: 03N002
Description: Gál's Second was written during 1942-43 while he was eking out a living in Edinburgh, unable to be employed because of his status as a refugee. His son committed suicide at the end of 1942 and, while Gál never discussed deeply personal matters and certainly did not tie them in with his music, the experience of being a refugee, the greater part of the year of 1940 spent interned on the Isle of Man as an "enemy alien", the worry for his relatives soon to vanish into Hitler's annihilation machine in Germany, the death of his son - all these had to leave an impression on this 43-minute, four-movement work which unusually begins with a short, eight-minute slow movement, followed by a fast scherzo of equal length before arriving at a deeply felt, 14-minute Adagio and a 13-minute Allegro moderato ma agitato finale. There is no overt anguish but one can sense the strain and depression of those years in music which is plainly the end-point of the Austro-German tradition leading from Schubert to Mahler (the point of the infuriating couplings in this immensely important and valuable cycle). Next up: No. 4 (coupled with the Schumann Second...). 2 CDs. Mid-price. Northern Sinfonia; Thomas Zehetmair.