Hidden Treasure is the title of an BIS CD featuring thirty-one unpublished songs by the lesser known Austrian composer Hans Gal, performed in this album by baritone Christian Immler accompanied by Helmut Deutsch.
The settings of poetry by Mörike, Hesse, Heine, Tagore, Demmel, and Walther von de Vogelweide offer the pairing of Immler and Deutsch the opportunity to mine for variety and contrast among songs that range from the quietly lyrical to the slyly humorous to the dramatic.
Gal’s compositional skills are unimpeachable even though the composer negated the value of these delightful miniatures time and again, dismissing them as negligible efforts written during the first two and a half decades of the 20th century.
On listening to the variety and quality of these songs one discerns hints of the influence of the Lieder of Hugo Wolf, whose works Gal helped curate and catalogue. But Gal’s gift for providing the singer with plenty of opportunities to spin a nice melodic line and giving the collaborative pianist rich through never obstructive accompaniments ranks this unjustly neglected composer with the finest Lieder composers of the early 20th century, Wolf included.
The BIS CD is accompanied by a nice booklet containing translations of the songs in three languages.
Rafael de Acha http://www.RafaelMusicNotes.com