Thursday, January 26, 2017

Gade, Niels W. (1817-1890) Chamber Works, Volume I.

New acquisition.
Bought in January 2017.
First listen: 26-1-2017.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates: January 2013.
Recording venue: Knudsens in Holstebro, Denmark.
Recording engineer: Morten Mogensen.
Running time: 62:23.
Classical relevance: An essential addition to the Gade's discography.

Works performed:
String sextet in E flat major, opus 44.
Early version of the 1st movement of opus 44.
Piano trio in F major, opus 42.

Performed by:
Ensemble MidtVest.

I for one, am very glad about CPO'S intention to record all of Gade's chamber music. Especially when it comes in such good performances. An ensemble unknown to me, but by what I hear they are on the top of their game. For the first time I am truly satisfied with what I hear, for much of the existing recordings are not wholeheartedly into Gade's music, so I consider this release as an essential one. The musicians on this disc are dedicated to the music, so much is clear from the start, when the first notes of the opus 44 are coming out of my speakers. Ensemble MidtVest is well suited to the music and to each other, for the internal balance is really amazing. Gade's music shines throughout the 63 minutes. As a composer he is much underrated, and there have always been more down raters as admirers. Especially his symphonies had to suffer by this treatment,  to say nothing about his chamber music. I for one always heard  the quality in Gade's music, and never wavered from my opinion. Maybe Gade was not predisposed towards excessive virtuosity, but despite of this, he is an essential composer in his own right. And thus I can only say good things about what is presented in this first volume. Full blooded romantic music, well written and full of interest. As an example you may take the second movement of the Sextet, a scherzo, going over in a very fine Allegro non troppo. Masterly how this ensemble is treating every nuance, so deservingly. To say nothing about the heartfelt Andantino following the already highly charged expectations of the second movement. This is a gorgeous sextet, and well worth your attention.
The early version of the first movement of opus 44 is as good as the new one, so it is a big question mark, why he replaced it. To my ears there was certainly no need. But it's good to have them both.
The piano trio in F major is a work of charm, and lightness of thread, very classical in expression, but with some added beauty added to it, that keeps it flowing and of interest.  The first movement has a invigorating touch to it, energetic and poetic at the same time, full of fine melodious turns. This Allegro animato crosses the street to the second movement Allegro molto vivace. I found that a bit unexpected, but it has a bubbly appearance that gets the better of you, thus the swing of it all prepares you for the third movement Andantino, a much deserved rest in this fun work that develops into the only serious undertone in the opus 42. A bit melancholy even, a feeling of missing out on things happening around you. A touch of isolation. There is a certain joy in the finale movement Finale: Allegro con fuoco, as if it is a race for the first flowers of spring, and you wonder who might have them first. In other words this work is a mood changer, being full of gaiety.  As a first volume in this series this promises much, and I see that volume II  and III is already on the market, so it is on my to order list.




Graupner, Christoph. (1683-1760) Partitas for Harpsichord. Volume I.

New acquisition. Date of purchase: July 2017. First listen: 26-7-2017. Label: Analekta. Recording dates: September 2001. Recording v...