String Quartet No.1 in D Major, Op.63
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. The next year, in 1848, he returned to Copenhagen 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 String Quartet Players, the famous critic Wilhelm Altmann notes:
“Toward the end of his life (1888) Gade composed his String Quartet No.1. It is a praiseworthy effort with fine workmanship and sounds good. The first movement, Allegro moderato is somewhat like an Idyll, having a pastoral character. Both the main section of the following Scherzo, allegretto vivace as well as the middle section are impressive. The third movement, Andante poco lento, could be called a song without words. The finale begins with a very short Sostenuto introduction but is quickly interrupted by the Allegro con brio which constitutes the main section, the second subject to which is quite graceful and there is also a lilting third theme. The work presents no real technical challenges and will certainly delight amateur players."
Parts & Score: $31.95