22. New works

Many new works followed in the late 1940s and 1950s, among them the Third Symphony (Op.62), the orchestral suites Kaledonische Suite ('Caledonian Suite', Op.54), Mäander ('Meanders', Op.69) and Idyllikon (Op.79); the Piano Concerto (Op.57); and the cantata Lebenskreise ('Life Cycles', Op.70), dedicated to 'the Mainz Liedertafel on the celebration of its 125-year existence and its conductor Otto Schmidtgen', which is based on poems by Goethe and Hölderlin and forms a positive counterweight to De Profundis. Gál commented on this work as follows: 

"Life proceeds in phases, in which we can recognise continual change and unceasing development. These phases are divided into six episodes, each of which deals with a specific aspect of life and a particular view of it. The work has a symphonic structure inasmuch as each of the six parts is implemented independently like the movement of a symphony, and the movements stand in a relationship to one another corresponding to the cyclical principle of a symphony." [Quoted from Waldstein, op. cit., p. 93]

He himself referred to these two cantatas as the centrepiece of his oeuvre.

That so many orchestral works arose at this time is certainly to be explained in part by the stimulus provided by real opportunities for performance, not only in England (above all by his former student Rudolf Schwarz, conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the only conductor, incidentally, to have conducted all four symphonies during the composer's lifetime; they have since all been conducted by Kenneth Woods) but also in Germany and Austria. It was for Gál a happy period, which came to an abrupt end with the tragically early death of Otto Schmidtgen in 1964. As always, however, alongside the large orchestral works he also wrote a whole series of vocal, piano and chamber works, including several choral works: Four Part-Songs (Op.61), Two Songs for 4-Part Male-Voice Choir (Op.63), Satirikon (Op.72), Jugendlieder ('Songs of Youth', Op.75), A Clarion Call (Op.76), Of a Summer Day (Op.77); piano works: Two Sonatinas (Op.58), Drei Marionetten ('Three Marionettes', Op.74); the Clarinet Trio (Op.97) and the Cello Sonata (Op.89).