Hans Gál: Music for Voices

by Stephen Muir in Leeds, England, United Kingdom


raised so far



Help raise £7000 to record vol.2 of Hans Gál's complete Music for Voices, and celebrate a successful first year for chamber choir Borealis

by Stephen Muir in Leeds, England, United Kingdom

"Hans Gál: Music for Voices" Vol. 2 - a long-overdue update and an exclusive preview!

Dear friends, supporters,

I hope you are all well and staying safe and healthy as we (fingers crossed) gradually begin to exit from Covid restrictions in the coming months.

I'll start this update with an apology for not being in touch again sooner than now. You have all been so generous in your support, both financial and moral, and you might well have assumed we'd disappeared or disbanded. The reason for the long hiatus won't surprise you: the Covid pandemic has inevitably disrupted nearly all of Borealis's activities (though read on to hear about an upcoming new project!), and that includes Vol. 2 of the Hans Gál series. 

We were all geared up to complete the recording in Spring 2020 when, as you all know only too well, everything stopped. And a combination of shielding singers, venue closures and overall uncertainty has made it impossible to pick up the task until very recently.

However, I'm very pleased to say that we have managed to record the final set of pieces for Vol. 2, the very fine Songs of Youth, Op. 75 (1959) for female voices a cappella. These are currently being edited by our Producer/Engineer/Genius Simon Fox-Gál, grandson of the composer and one of Europe's finest recording producers.

 I can't yet say for absolute certain when Vol. 2 will be released, but I can assure you that it is coming, and will be well worth the wait! In the meantime, I’ve put together a c.10-minute exclusive preview for you, our Crowdfunder supporters. These are not the absolutely final edits, but will give you a very strong idea of the variety and often sublime beauty of the music featured on this disc. The slideshow images are from the rehearsals and recording sessions for Vol. 2, mostly unseen to date beyond the immediate choir membership. And the pianist is the fabulous Ian Buckle.


NB This is not a publicly-retrievable video, and is for your exclusive enjoyment alone. Please don’t share it with anyone else!

Gál never ceases to surprise and enchant me with what seems like endless creativity and inventiveness; I hope you feel the same once you’ve heard this preview. 

I mentioned some upcoming new projects. The most significant of these is the world premiere recording of two discs-worth of choral music by Robert Fürstenthal (1920–2016), also on Toccata Classics. That ever-pioneering label has already recorded several of Fürstenthal's songs and some of his chamber music, from which the following summary is taken (see here for more of his music on Toccata):

Robert Fürstenthal, born in 1920, took the path of many Viennese Jews when Germany invaded and fled to the United States, where he made his living as an accountant; the fact that he had written a few songs in his youth was soon forgotten. The rediscovery, after 35 years, of the woman who had been his first love rekindled not only that flame but also his urge to compose. Songs – achingly lovely songs, laden with an autumnal sense of loss – flowed from his pen from that moment, preserving the spirit of fin-de-siècle Vienna under the Californian sun. He died in November 2016, aged 96, as this album was in preparation, knowing that some of his many songs had at last been recorded and were about to find their audience.”

 It's a great honour for me personally, and for Borealis as an ensemble, to work with Martin Anderson at Toccata and the composer’s widow, Françoise Farron (a distinguished embryologist–geneticist), to preserve some of Fürstenthal’s music for current and future generations to enjoy. Do check our website and social media links for future announcements.

With repeated grateful thanks for your support and forbearance as we get Vol. 2 finished,


Steve Muir


Borealis: A Chamber Choir for the North


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