One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider


.
La Mer Ticciati

Eriks EŠENVALDS

Detlev GLANERT

Jaw-dropping

simply marvellous

Outstanding music

Elite treatment

some joyous Gershwin


Bartok String Quartets
uniquely sensitive


Cantatas for Soprano

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Niels GADE (1817-1890)
String Sextet in E flat major, Op.44 (1863-64) 31:38]
Allegro vivace (discarded first movement of op. 44) (1863) [10:10]
Piano Trio in F major, Op.42 (1863) [20:19]
Ensemble MidtVest
rec. 2013, Knudsens, Holstebro, Denmark
CPO 777 164-2 [62:23]

This is the first volume in a Gade chamber music series from CPO. Its focus is on two works of the early 1860s, the String Sextet and the Piano Trio. The former is a substantial four-movement affair with an opening Andante section that is especially poignant before the unleashing of the Allegro vivace, with its strong contrastive thematic material. It’s inevitable that Gade should, critically speaking, run up against invidious comparisons with Mendelssohn’s chamber music. Nevertheless I think it’s unavoidable to note that parts of this opening movement, particularly, will remind you of Mendelssohn’s Octet. But that shouldn’t inhibit appreciation of this wide-ranging and fluent-sounding sextet, with its witty Scherzo in five sections, with its two trios, in Gade’s best style. Nor would one forego the pleasures of the slow movement, with its prefiguring of Dvořák in places, much less the finale’s clever cyclic referencing of earlier material to form a pleasingly interlocking unit. Gade’s sleight of hand is such that one is aware of such thematic cross-referencing without it becoming in any way oppressive. And the Mendelssohnian ending, so vibrant and punchy, is a delight. We also hear the original version of the first movement, which Gade withdrew. It’s not really clear why he did so, as it’s perfectly fine in its own right, just a little shorter, but it’s good that the music was preserved.

The Piano Trio in F major is a very slightly earlier piece, cast in four movements once again. It’s a work that combines clarity, elegance, and warmth. The sprightly and once again rather Mendelssohnian Scherzo is interesting for its employment of Gade’s trademark use of novel formal features – the scherzo proper is followed by a trio with the scherzo returning and then the trio seems to want to repeat but is abruptly cut off in favour of a resumption of the scherzo which then works as the coda. This vests the movement a sense of constant uncertainty and genial flux before the unleashing of the flowing Andantino with its quiet quotient of melancholy. The attractive sonata form finale ends a well-balanced and very pleasing work. Its unpretentiousness and lack of virtuoso presumption gives it appealing warmth and it has been extremely well served here.

The recorded sound matches the warmth of the music and the tonal breadth of the players. In the Sextet too, Gade has been fully served. These are excellent performances all-round, finely recorded and well annotated. A great start to the series.

Jonathan Woolf

Previous review: David Barker

 

 




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger