Hans Gal (1890-1987) [Composer Of The Week]


201401Teacher, Scholar, Composer20140505

Donald Macleod introduces us to the long life and prolific work of Hans Gal ? a composer who was born in Vienna, then capital city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, before the advent of the motor car, and died in Thatcher's Britain with the advent of the mobile phone. He's joined by conductor and cellist Kenneth Woods, an expert on Hans Gal, and who has been instrumental in a recent revival of interest in Gal's music.

Donald Macleod introduces the long and prolific career of Hans Gal.

201402The Early Years20140506

Donald Macleod explores the early life and work of Viennese-born composer Hans Gal. Although he learned very little music at school, Gal was encouraged in his vocation by his aunt Jenny. By the time of WW1, when he was in his early 20s, he had made a promising start as a composer: he'd completed an opera and a symphony - which won him the Austrian State Prize for Composition. But Gal was a very self-critical young man, with a seriousness of purpose, and he allowed very little of these early works to be published. And, as Hans Gal expert Kenneth Woods explains, he didn't allow his service in the war to stem the flow of his compositions.

Donald Macleod explores Hans Gal's early life.

201403The 1930s20140507

Donald Macleod focuses on Hans Gal's life in the years after Hitler's accession.

Donald Macleod explores the life of Hans Gal in the years after Hitler's accession.

At the peak of Hans Gal's early success in 1933, when he was Director of the Conservatory in Mainz, Germany, he received a letter from the city's authorities. It informed him that he was ""hereby suspended... with immediate effect."" His name now appeared, together with a great many other Jewish musicians and artists, on the long list of those whose works were henceforward forbidden: no longer to be published or performed.

Donald Macleod explores Hans Gal's life and work in the difficult years that followed, and we hear about his ability to persevere from Gal expert Kenneth Woods.

201404Exile In Britain20140508

Donald Macleod focuses on Gal's exile in Britain.

Donald Macleod is joined by Kenneth Woods to explore the life and work of Hans Gal.

After the Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938, the Gal family went into exile in the UK. They resided first in London and then Edinburgh. Hans Gal quickly settled into Edinburgh society, starting a madrigal group and an orchestra made up of fellow refugees. At Whitsun 1940, however, Gal found himself arrested as an ""enemy alien"", along with all the other refugees in Edinburgh. They were sent to an internment camp at Huyton near Liverpool, where Hans Gal composed his Huyton Suite.

201405 LASTPost-war Edinburgh20140509

Donald Macleod discusses the 40-plus years Hans Gal spent in Edinburgh.

Donald Macleod explores the life and work of the composer Hans Gal, in the company of Gal expert Kenneth Woods. Hans Gal lived an exceptionally long and musically productive life, the last half of which was spent in Edinburgh, where he helped found the Edinburgh Festival and was an influential teacher at the university. In his eighties Gal declared, ""the workshop is now closed"" - not long before he began work on his Fourth and final symphony.