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Hans Gál (1890–1987) was one of a generation of Austrian Jewish composers forced to flee when the Nazis invaded the country. No stranger to composing for the voice, he produced four operas, several solo songs, and some 27 works for choir, alongside a large amount of orchestral and instrumental music.
This programme celebrates Gál’s love of choral music (he founded the Vienna Madrigal Society in 1927), placing some of his own works amid the music he most admired. Schütz, Haydn, Schumann and Brahms sit alongside five of Gál’s most diverse choral works, from serious settings of texts by Matthias Claudius, Shakespeare, Blake, and Ben Johnson, to lighter, often humorous settings of texts by Lessing, Shelley, and Queen Elizabeth I.
The choral concert is presented by the Clothworkers Consort of Leeds and directed by Bryan White.
Pre-concert talk at 6.45pm: Eva Fox-Gál, daughter of Hans Gál, discusses her father's love of choral music and the influence of the great Classical masters on his own works.
Hans Gál was a private student of Eusebius Mandyczewski (a close friend of Johannes Brahms) and immersed himself in the Austro-German classical tradition stemming from Bach, Schütz, Mozart, and Beethoven. Dismissed by the Nazis from the directorship of the Mainz Conservatory in 1933, and his works subsequently banned, Gál and his family fled Austria in 1938, settling in Edinburgh. Despite a period of internment as an “enemy alien”, Gál became a regular Edinburgh musical figure, helping to establish the International Festival in 1947.
This event is part of Performing the Jewish Archive, a three year Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project working to explore hidden archives, uncover and perform lost works, and create a legacy for the future. For more information visit the Performing the Jewish Archive website.