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It pleased him to make a self-referential pun on ‘madri-gal’. Hans Gál believed there was a need to restore the joy in music-making, and the chamber choir Borealis brings that quality to these mostly premiere recordings. Only Four Part-Songs have been available previously, which seems extraordinary, given the accessibility and delight of this music. A Radio 3 ‘Composer of the Week’ slot began a revival, but the work and the name are still only patchily recognised, except perhaps in Edinburgh, where he settled before wartime internment and where he taught until 1960. The op.19 Motette is the earliest and most ‘European’ of the works here, though the 1956 Satirikon: Four Aphorisms, to texts by Heine, Goethe, Fehre and Busch, sees him taking pleasure in his native tongue again. Borealis handle both German and English with equal aplomb and it’s a delight to hear Gál being performed again.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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