I have bought all of the cds issued over the last year or two of Gal's four symphonies, the violin and cello concertos and, now, the Piano Concerto. Gal was a delightful man who made a major contribution to music in Edinburgh after the Second World War. He was a much-revered link to the Viennese classical tradition. His music is well-written and, undoubtedly, attractive.
Now...I am no "modernist" yet I find myself having a similar reaction to Gal's music as that to the music of Julius Rontgen-only more so. Rontgen, composing so many of his symphonies in the 1920s and early 1930s, wrote as if music had ceased with Grieg and Brahms. But Gal writes as though music ceased with Schubert. It is so hopelessly anachronistic that it actually makes me almost angry.
Now this is a shocking admission in which I take absolutely no pride whatsoever. I do find it extraordinary however that Gal seems to almost completely ignore every musical idiom post-Schubert and to compose as if the bulk of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century had produced nothing at all.
Yes, the music is certainly pleasant, attractive, there is nothing "wrong" with it per se yet I end up getting annoyed. Help!
Thank you for taking part in the MusicWeb International Forum.
Len Mullenger - Founder of MusicWeb