One of the most grown-up review sites around

50,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


A most rewarding CD
Renate Eggebrecht violin


Nick Barnard review
Michael Cookson review

Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases

Anderson Choral music

colourful and intriguing

Pekarsky Percussion Ensemble

one of Berlioz greatest works

Rebecca Clarke Frank Bridge
High-octane performances

An attractive Debussy package

immaculate Baiba Skride

eloquent Cello Concerto

tension-filled work

well crafted and intense

another entertaining volume

reeking of cordite

Pappano with a strong cast

imaginatively constructed quartets

the air from another planet

vibrantly sung

NOT a budget performance

very attractive and interesting

finesse and stylistic assurance

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Hans GÁL (1890-1987)
Chamber Music - Volume 3
Piano Quartet in B flat major, Op. 13 (1914) [31:16]
Three Sonatinas for violin and piano, Op. 71 (1956): No.1 in G major [8:52]: No.2 in B flat major [11:29]: No.3 in F major [10:31]
Sonatina in F major (1934) [9:18]
Katalin Kertész (violin)
Nichola Blakey (viola)
Cressida Nash (cello)
Sarah Beth Briggs (piano)
rec. 2017, Johnson Hall, Millfield School, Somerset, UK
TOCCATA TOCC0433 [71:26]

Toccata’s Hans Gál series, with its various sub-sets, has now reached the third volume of his chamber music and contrasts the passionate Brahmsian Piano Quartet with the more Schubertian charms of the little Sonatinas of 1956.

As there’s no autograph score, the date of the Quartet is conjectural though there are very good reasons for believing it was composed in 1914. It was written in his native Vienna and the first documented performance seems to have taken place in the city in 1920. It was published two years later and enjoyed real success during that decade and beyond. It’s easy to see why from this big, bold performance as the work has a confident and sturdy late-Romanticism that offers plenty of opportunities for probing musicianship; the composer himself often played the piano part in early performances and Sarah Beth Briggs acquits herself well in the same role. There are rather Slavic elements and a rhapsodic feel to the first movement, which is followed by a delightfully rocking lullaby and an athletic scherzo replete with crisp piano chording. Gál enjoys quietly side-stepping expectations and opens the finale quietly before unleashing some especially self-confident material with a March element embedded. This is a youthful, dramatic, full-bloodied work with strongly expressive components.

The Sonatinas for violin and piano were composed in Edinburgh for his then twelve-year-old daughter, Eva Fox-Gál, whose booklet notes are full of finely structured detail about the music. Clearly, the three pieces are not couched in the virtuoso school but are idiomatic, charming and graceful. Highlights include the light-hearted Theme and Variations movement of the G major, the fugal feints of the opening of the B flat major, with its gentle, songful Cavatina central movement and whimsical March, and the guitar imitations in the Italianate song that sits happily as the central movement of the F major. The unpublished Sonatina in F major is a much earlier work, dating from 1934, and composed for his son Peter, then aged eleven. Aerial, wistful and full of frolic, this was later rescored and expanded for strings in five movements. It was in the form of the Serenade for Strings, Op.46 that it became his first work to be published in Britain, by Novello in 1942, and one of his most popular too.

This is a most enjoyable continuation of this series. If I find the recorded acoustic rather flat, as I do, it doesn’t especially diminish enjoyment of these alternately fiery and sensitive performances.

Jonathan Woolf

Previous review: Stephen Greenbank

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger