26. Postscript

Hans Gál died of cancer on 3rd October, 1987, at the age of 97. Hanna recalled his last days:

"He still suffered no pain, for which I shall be eternally grateful, but he could no longer eat, and became weaker from day to day. Nevertheless, every day he came down on the stair-lift, fully dressed, and stayed in his room until it was time to go to bed, reading, listening to music . . . Against the well-meaning advice of the doctor, I decided to keep him at home as long as possible, where with his books, music, radio, etc. he could lead an almost normal life, although he was becoming steadily weaker through lack of nourishment. It was not until five days before the end that he went into the wonderfully run hospice. There he had his own room, I could be with him as long as I liked, and when, two days before the end, the feared pain began, he could be helped." [Personal correspondence.]

In the last year of his life he could enjoy visible signs of greater recognition for his music, including the first British radio recording of De Profundis and of the complete cycle of his string quartets. He was not to see the first Viennese performance of De Profundis, produced on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the annexation of Austria in March 1988.

His wife Hanna, who had stood by his side for 65 years, and without whom he would certainly not have lived so long nor so creatively, passed away peacefully in December, 1989, and was therefore not to witness the first performance of Die Beiden Klaas ('Rich Claus, Poor Claus', op.42) on the 100th anniversary of his birth nor the first post-war revival of Die Heilige Ente by the Deutsche Oper in Berlin in their series 'Forgotten Contemporaries: Opera at the Piano'.

Apart from the changes in fashion, the political events during Gál's long life took their toll on his works, many of which went out of print and were unobtainable, and performances were all too rare. But recent years have seen a revival, and more interest is now being shown. Out-of-print works are being brought back into circulation, and there is a steady flow of performances and recordings. It is to be hoped that as a result a new generation will relive and revive the music of Hans Gál.