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Capriccio in A minor

composer
1878

 
Born in Copenhagen, Niels Wilhelm Gade began his career—as, later, did Carl Nielsen, who became his pupil—as a violinist with the Royal Danish Orchestra, which body premiered his concert overture Efterklange af Ossian (better-known in English-speaking circles as Ossian) in 1841. Mendelssohn conducted the first performance of Gade’s First Symphony in Leipzig in March 1843, to which city Gade had moved to teach at the Conservatory. Mendelssohn became an important influence and following his death in 1847, Gade was appointed his successor as chief conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra, but returned to Copenhagen the following year when war broke out between Prussia and Denmark.

In Copenhagen, Gade continued to compose, his output eventually embracing eight symphonies, a violin concerto and other works for violin and orchestra, including this Capriccio, the success of which doubtless spurred Gade on to complete a full-scale Concerto in D minor two years later (his Opus 56). Strictly speaking, although the Capriccio does not have an opus number, it should be Opus 54: that number is omitted from Gade’s own list, and the work comes between his published Opp 53 and 55. It has been claimed that Gade’s series of what he termed ‘concert pieces’ (into which category this Capriccio undoubtedly falls), whilst having been composed at the height of the Romantic nationalist period, are better noted for having often been written on Danish folklore and Danish folk-music.

As we might expect, Gade’s Capriccio breathes the fresh, bracing air of Scandinavia, the Germanic influence of his Leipzig years now almost entirely absent. None the less, this influence remains true up to a point, for the delicate orchestration and the sense of a lengthy melodic top line accompanied by a relatively swiftly-moving bass, at the same time as embracing within the composition the quick-silver nature of a fanciful caprice, surely reflect the essence of Mendelssohn’s influence on the younger Scandinavian master.

from notes by Robert Matthew-Walker © 2010

Recordings

Romantic novelties for violin and orchestra
SIGCD224Download only

Track-specific metadata for SIGCD224 track 2

Artists
ISRC
GB-LLH-10-22402
Duration
8'51
Recording date
23 November 2007
Recording venue
All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Recording engineer
Hyperion usage
  1. Romantic novelties for violin and orchestra (SIGCD224)
    Disc 1 Track 2
    Release date: April 2010
    Download only
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