Niels Gade

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String Quintet in e minor, Op.8

For 2 Violins, 2 Violas & Cello

Niels Gade (1817-1890) was born in Copenhagen and began his career as a concert violinist, later taking a position with the Royal Danish Orchestra. Mendelssohn, who was much impressed by and premiered Gade’s First Symphony, invited him to teach at the famous Leipzig Conservatory. After Mendelssohn’s death in 1847, Gade was appointed director of the Conservatory and also conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestra. In 1848, he returned to Copenhagen the next year when war broke out between Prussia and Denmark. In Copenhagen, Gade became director of the Copenhagen Musical Society and established a new orchestra and chorus. He was widely regarded as Denmark's most important composer from the mid-Romantic period. He taught and influenced several Scandinavian composers, including Edvard Grieg, Carl Nielsen and Otto Malling. His own music often shows the influence of both Mendelssohn and Schumann. Writing in his Handbook for Chamber Music Players, the famous critic Wilhelm Altmann has this to say about Gade’s String Quintet:


“Niels Gade’s Op.8 String Quintet which appeared in 1846 not only is beautiful sounding but plays superbly. The lovely melodies with which this work is filled are not particularly Nordic but recall Mendelssohn. A short, warm introduction, Andante con moto, filled with yearning leads to main part of the first movement, Allegro espressivo, the main theme to which is in the style of a Legend. A lilting second subject is filled with energy. The slow movement, actually an Allegretto, is a song without words, full of fine feeling. The principal subject gives the music the character of a pastorale. A restless, syncopated scherzo, marked Presto, comes next. It is full of passion. The finale begins with a short, reflective Adagio introduction. Here, the main theme of the following, Allegro molto appassionato, strongly shows the influence of Mendelssohn. It is catchy and memorable. Even today, this work will still make a strong impression in concert performance.”


Hard to know why, but this quintet has not been reprinted since the 19th century and never enjoyed a second edition. We have reprinted the original and have added rehearsal letters. As Altmann writes, this work will do well in the concert hall, but above all should not be missed by amateur chamber music enthusiasts.


Parts : $29.95





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