City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Postcards from Europe, Reid Concert Hall, Review


By Barnaby Miln - Posted on 17 October 2012

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Olyver-&-Schuck.jpg
Show Details
Company: 
Concerts at The University
Production: 
Gál, Sonata in D for violin and piano; Schulhoff, Sonata for violin and piano (second movement); Tradition arr. Krein, Gypsy Carnival.
Performers: 
Marianne Olyver (violin), Robert Schuck (piano)
Running time: 
45mins

This was a lunchtime concert to remind us that it is twenty five years since Han Gál died. From 1945 until his retirement he was a member of the music teaching staff of Edinburgh University. Born in 1890 near Vienna Gál quickly established a fine reputation as a composer and became Director of the conservatoire in Mainz in 1929. But in 1933 he was instantly dismissed on the arrival of the Nazis, and eventually reached Britain to be interned here as an enemy alien for part of the Second World War.

Marianne Olyver and Robert Schuck between them introduced us to the background not just of Gál’s music, but to the many talented musicians found to be unacceptable under the Nazis, some of whom managed to escape - but also to those who were incarcerated and died.

Han Gál’s Sonata in D major was written in the summer of 1933 in a village in the Black Forest shortly after fleeing Mainz. It was his second violin sonata and in its thirty minutes and three movements is complex, sophisticated, going from mood to mood and entirely comfortable to hear. It begs the question of what else did he compose. Until recently there was very little about - but the zeal of the Hans Gál Society has enabled more to be performed and recorded.

We heard the second movement of Erwin Schuloff’s Sonata for violin and piano composed in 1927. He did not get away, for he died in Wurtzburg concentration camp in Bavaria in 1942 aged 48.

For the last minutes Marianne Olyver really enjoyed herself with some traditional gypsy music - part of the time climbing up the steps from the stage to the audience, tapping her feet and clapping. A happy way to conclude a serious and satisfying concert.

Event: Tuesday 16 October 2012 at 1.10pm