Ensemble Epomeo

String Trio

By

CD Review- Strad Magazine, Matthew Rye, on Gal/Krasa Complete String Trios

 

From the December 2012 issue of The Strad

A disc of String trios where time and place play an inescapable role

 

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Epomeo Play Krasa and Gal

 

Here is music for string trio by two composers of Jewish heritage from the same generation, whose experience of the cold hand of Nazism resulted in different fates. The Viennese Hans Gál managed to escape to Britain in 1928 and lived to the ripe old age of 97; the unluckier Czech-born Hans Krása enjoyed, if that’s the word, a brief stay of execution at the Jewish show camp of Terezin before being murdered in Auschwitz aged 44. The players of Ensemble Epomeo capture the charm of Gál’s delightful neo-Classical Serenade (1932) with a sense of line and subtlety of texture. But, one feels, they could have brought more muscle to the emotional sound world of the F sharp minor Trio, with its nostalgic throwback to pre-war Vienna viewed from the sanctuary of 1970’s Edinburgh (and which in its original version included a viola d’amore).

However, they certainly don’t hold back in the short Krása pieces, written during the composer’s last days in Terezin. Here they exploit the dance-of-death tendencides of the Tanec and the sense of order overthrown in the Passacaglia and Fugue (each of which dissipates into Expressionist anarchy) and a frightenly challenging end. A warmly-recorded and thought-provoking disc.

Matthew Rye

By

CD Review- Martin Anderson, Klassik Magazine, on Gal/Krasa Complete String Trios

Gál  Serenade D dur, op. 41; Trio in F sharp major, op. 104; Krása TanecPassacaglia og Fuge

Ensemble Epomeo

Avie AV2259 (67 minutter)

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This disc of string trios presents two highly contrasted victims of Hitler. The music of Hans Gál (1890–1987), born just outside Vienna, embodies the virtues of Viennese tradition: it is elegant, cultured and effortlessly resourceful – Gál was both a natural lyricist and a natural contrapuntist, which means that his music appeals to heart and brain in equal measure. The Serenade (1932) is full of understated energy, like happy Reger; by the time of the op. 104 Trio (1971), when Gál was 81, his music is suffused by a profound and gentle wisdom; the closing set of variations is masterly. I knew Hans Gál at the end of his long life. He told me once that his parents had taken him, when he was six, to hear one of Mahler’s first performances at the Wiener Hofoper. ‘But that was 1897’, I gasped in astonishment, but he still remembered it clearly, and you have the same sense of stylistic continuity in his music. The raw energy in the two pieces by Hans Krása (1899–1944), by contrast, indicate what was lost in October 1944 when, with his fellow composer-inmates from the ghetto of Terezín, he was bundled onto a transport to Auschwitz and gassed two days later. There’s a rough-edged vitality here that reveals that the Janáček tradition, in normal circumstances, would have had lots of life in it yet. Beautiful performances from the Ensemble Epomeo.

Buy here from MDT UK

Buy here from Arkiv USA

Buy here from Amazon UK

Buy here from Amazon USA

Epomeo Play Krasa and Gal