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Gade: Symphonies Vol. 2 CD


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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Concert Overture No. 3 in C major, Op. 14
  2. Symphony No. 7 in F major, Op. 45
  3. Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 20

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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Making the Best Case for Niels Gade 18 Aug. 2005
By M. C. Passarella - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Niels W. Gade is one of those creative folk who start at the very top of their games. And as far as I'm concerned, he could never quite recapture the amazing assurance of the First Symphony with its wonderfully propulsive last movement. Luckily, though, Gade didn't progress to the very bottom, as Louis Spohr did in his symphonic career: the Danish composer's last two symphonies show a definite maturity, a willingness and ability to change with the times and adopt new trends, despite an abiding conservatism.

That's evident in the Seventh Symphony, one of the most popular in Gade's lifetime. Its fresh-air first movement immediately marks it as a pastoral symphony, and in fact it seems to look forward to Raff's bucolic gestures in symphonies such as the Third, subtitled "In the Forest," and even to Brahms's "pastoral symphony," his Third, written almost twenty years later. The last movement of Gade's Seventh is more Schumannesque than Brahmsian, however, and has about it a more earthy quality (shades of the Rhenish Symphony). This is hearty, jolly music. The outer movements provide nice contrast, too, to the somber slow movement and the dancing scherzo complemented by a pair of sober-sided trios. Altogether, a very appealing symphony.

The Fourth is a little less so, maybe, but it still has a number of charms. I'm especially partial to the second-movement Andante with its brass fanfares and processional gait, sounding like orchestral music out of some early Wagner opera. The scherzo has clear Mendelssohnian overtones but isn't the worse for that. Its playful mix of sun and shade is quite effective.

Compared to the two symphonies, the Concert Overture No. 3 is fairly routine, not at all as memorable as Gade's first overture, "Echoes of Ossian." But it's a pleasant enough affair and a decent makeweight, bringing the disc to a respectable 64 minutes 32 seconds total time.

Christopher Hogwood's performances are simply the best I've heard: well paced, lively, brightly colored, showing Gade's expert orchestration to best advantage. The playing from the Danish National Radio is very fine as well, and the recording is everything it should be. Balances are perfect: string tone is lush, yet the brass and the all-important timpani cut through the orchestral fabric just as Hogwood, with his early-music-attuned ear for balances, clearly wants them to.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Danish music. 1 July 2003
By L. Riffel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Just a quick correction to the previous review: Gade is Danish, not Dutch. His music is wonderful. True Romantic style, evoking Beethoven and Saint Saens. Enjoy.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An undervalued Composer 26 Jan. 2003
By Neaklaus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I recently discovered the symphonic music of Niel Wilhelm Gade, and I have to say I wish I had done so sooner. You can have a very pleasant time listening to them. In this Volume of the set
Christopher Hogwood and the DNR give warm heartfelt performances of the symphonies numbers 4 & 7 along with a concert overture.
All of the pieces reveal a warm Romantic sound and a Northern
Flavor. Gade was a Dutch composer who was much admired by
Mendelssohn. I for one am glad that Chandos and Christopher Hogwood and the DNR have decided to bring the Symphonies of N.W. Gade to a wider audience. There are Four volumes in the symphony series Volume One features the symphonies nos. 2&8, Volume 3 features Symphonies 3&6 and Volume 4 which will be released soon features Symphonies 1&5. The Symphony no. 5 is unusual as it features a very promiate part for the piano.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good performances of very attractive music 8 Jan. 2010
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Throughout his compositional career Gade more or less stuck to the rather Mendelssohnian style he developed in his early works, but he retained an individual touch and an impressive ability to come up with clear and memorable tunes. Later works, however, often take on a more introspective quality and features that might, intriguingly, point forward all the way to Carl Nielsen. For the most part, however, the earlier symphonies are more rewarding than the later works, displaying a freshness and level of invention the composer never quite managed to get back to.

The fourth symphony is among Gade's most charming and likeable creations, if not - in the end and given repeated listenings - his best. Curiously this is Hogwood's second recording of that work for Chandos (I have not heard the previous one), and the performances here are mostly thoroughly convincing; charming, energetic, light on its feet and tautly controlled, although - as with the previous installments - perhaps lacking just a little in terms of atmosphere and variations in color.

The seventh is one of Gade's most successful later works, effectively combining influences from Mendelssohn and Schumann with his own voice; spirited and lyrical and very well put together. Again, the performances are thoroughly commendable, as they are in the Concert Overture no. 3, another charming, flowing and beautiful concertante work almost worthy of comparison with Echoes of Ossian. The recording is crystal clear and detailed, and this issue can be strongly recommended to anyone following the series (although newcomers to the composer are advised to turn to the Kitaenko performance of the first symphony).
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Danish music. 1 July 2003
By L. Riffel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Small correction to previous review, Niels W.Gade is Danish not Dutch. Otherwise I agree 100%. Great composer, very underrated and sadly almost never performed outside in his native Denmark.
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