Friday, 4 May 2012

CB 107 Gaos

CB107 The First Symphony of Andres Gaos

Andres Gaos (b A Coruna, Galicia, 1874-d at Mar Del Plata, Argentina, 1959)

A virtuoso-violinist, protege of Sarasate and pupil of Ysaye, Gaos was educated in Madrid, Paris and Brussels, and sought his fortune - and adventure - in the Caribbean and South America.  This programme presents his first large-scale composition to survive, the First Symphony, begun on his recovery from nervous illness in 1899.  Never published, perhaps never so much as played-through in his lifetime, this extraordinary piece, in three movements (modified sonata, andante and rondo), is now an almost unknown masterpiece.  The influences on its style - Galician folksong and Franckist and Russian Nationalist traits of form, harmony and orchestration - are integrated with inspiration and unusual skill.  Gaos himself kept back the score and seems to have wanted to forget it - its personal associations perhaps too disturbing for him to acknowledge its existence: it was a young man's music, associated with his ultimately unhappy first marriage; so, it was suppressed, snatches of it appearing in other works of his.   On the other hand, he preserved the score; one hopes that at some level, he knew how good a work his First Symphony was.   Its discovery by his son led eventually to performance and a recording supported by the Galician Cultural Council.  It may be that its broadcast last year on Somer Valley FM was the first by a British radio-station!    If you love the music of Franck, Borodin or early Sibelius, and have never heard this Symphony before, our advice is, don't miss it!