Music behind Barbed Wire: A Diary of Summer 1940

Music behind Barbed Wire: A Diary of Summer 1940


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The Austrian composer Hans Gál (1890-1987) was one of many Jewish refugees who fled to Britain from Hitler's Third Reich only to find themselves interned in prison camps in Britain as 'enemy aliens' - the result of Churchill's panic decision to 'collar the lot'. Gál thus spent five months over the summer of 1940 in internment camps - first in Donaldson's Hospital in Edinburgh, then at Huyton, near Liverpool, and finally in the Central Promenade Camp on the Isle of Man. Many of Gál's fellow internees went on, like Gál himself, to become shaping forces in the intellectual life of Britain - but in captivity this colorful parade of characters had to put up with bureaucratic inertia and the indifference of their captors to their undeserved fate. The diary Gál kept during his captivity vividly describes the difficulties the internees had to overcome to live as normal a life as possible. Gál's contribution, of course, was music, and the CD with this book presents first recordings of the Huyton Suite he wrote for two violins and flute (the only instruments available to him), the satirical review What a Life! composed on the Isle of Man and the piano suite he drew from it. Introductory chapters by Gál's daughter and by Richard Dove present a biographical survey of Gál's life and career and an examination of British internment policy; the Foreword is by the distinguished economist Sir Alan Peacock, who studied composition with Gál. Together they throw light on one of the more shameful British responses to the threat of Nazi invasion.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780907689751
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer, Limited
Publication date: 11/20/2014
Pages: 244
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword Sir Alan Peacock 7


Hans Gál: A Biographical Introduction Eva Fox-Gál 13

Acknowledgements Eva Fox-Gál 25

'Most Regrettable and Deplorable Things have Happened': Britain's Internment of Enemy Aliens in 1940 Richard Dove 28

Music behind Barbed Wire Hans Gál 41

I Donaldson's Hospital, Edinburgh 43

II Huyton, near Liverpool 55

III Central Promenade Camp, Douglas, Isle of Man 80


Gál in Britain Eva Fox-Gál 173


1 Personalia Eva Fox-Gál 183

A Members of the Gál Family 183

B Others 187

2 Contents of the CD 197

3 Hans Gál in Conversation Martin Anderson 214

4 A Memoir of Hans Gál Walter Kellermann 223

5 The Hans Gál Society 225

The Contributors 226

Bibliography 229

Index of Gál's Works 231

General Index 233

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