Share This

Album at a Glance

Tonal and ConsonantSolo Piano
CPO Records Record Label - cpo: Mission: "to fill niches in the recorded classical repertory, with an emphasis on romantic, late romantic and 20th-century music."
Release date: 2013-10-29


Related Posts

Niels W. Gade: Piano Sonata op. 28; Aquarellen opp. 19 & 57 / Christina Bjorkoe, piano


The symphonies and much of the chamber music of Niels Gade have been made available in multiple versions over the years, but one important area of the composer's output that is not well represented on disc is his piano music. That's what makes this release of a choice selection of Gade's beautiful piano works so welcome. Danish pianist Christina Bjørkøe plays Gade's Piano Sonata, Op. 28 and Aquarellen Opp. 19 & 57 on this excellent release from cpo.

Niels Wilhelm Gade (1817-1890) is considered the most important Danish composer from the first half of the 18th century. He was also a violinist, conductor and an influential teacher whose students included Carl Nielsen and Edvard Grieg. Having spent his early career in Copenhagen, he later moved to Leipzig, befriending Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann there. In 1844, Gade became assistant conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra where he conducted the premiere performance of Mendelssohn's Violin Concero in E minor. When war broke out between Prussia and Denmark in 1848, he returned to Copenhagen, remaining there until his death in 1890.

Like Mendelssohn's Songs without Words and Schumann's Novellettes, Gade produced many brief character pieces for piano under the name Akvareller. There are three sets of these on this recording, occupying about half the total time of the CD. They are lovely examples of his work in the genre. In addition to the Akvareller and his Piano Sonata is a discarded movement from the sonata and a brief and beautiful Andantino. I have two short samples from the album for you to enjoy. They are the opening Humoreske of Aquarelle, Op. 57 and the aforementioned Andantino.

Gade was not a pianist himself and this music does not present to the performer the technical challenges of Schumann's or Mendelssohn's keyboard works. Nevertheless, it is music of uncomplicated beauty that will be a wonderful discovery for anyone who enjoys exploring the Romantic piano literature.