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John J. Puccio
Classical Candor, February 2019

…Maestro Matthias Aeschbacher and the Odense Symphony Orchestra take it at a more graceful gait than I have heard it done before, and there is less edge to it and more nobility than I would have thought possible. In fact, they make it sound quite grand in this big, flowing rendition.

This is a surprising and highly recommendable disc. © 2019 Classical Candor

John Sunier
Audiophile Audition, June 2009

Danish composer and violinist Gade, who lived until 1963, is immortalized by his catchy tango Jealousy—which 78 rpm recording by the Boston Pops and Arthur Fiedler was the biggest-selling one that orchestra ever did. Gade had a fine ability to write light music that didn’t sound corny and had wide appeal. He was a bit like a European version of America’s Leroy Anderson.  He learned early in his composing career to often give his music French titles and even sometimes wrote under the pseudonym Maurice Ribot—to give his works a more exotic appeal to European audiences. He is not to be confused with the earlier Danish composer of heavier symphonies—Niels Gade.

There is another Gade tango here—Romanesca.  It also has a catchy melody and lovely orchestration, but was not the big hit that Jealousy was. The 11-minute suite Leda and the Swan is a ballet score on the well-known Greek legend.  Another suite is the four-movement Wedding at Himmelpind, which depicts a country wedding scene the composer recalled from his childhood.  Some of the shorter pieces were written originally for the composer to perform on violin accompanied by a small cafe orchestra; these have been orchestrated for the Odense Symphony.  Gade and his orchestra were engaged by some of the upscale movie houses in Denmark to play scores for the silent movies—which were therefore not silent. But when sound came in in the late 20s Gade quickly realized that era was over and moved on. He also worked in the U.S. on more than one occasion.

This disc came out originally and was popular as a standard CD about a decade ago. It has now been remastered for SACD. I guess the original recording was multitrack because the side/rear surround signals sound like the real thing—not reconstituted from an original two-channel recording.  It’s unusual and most enjoyable to have lighter music such as this on surround SACD.

Henry Fogel
Fanfare, May 2009

No, this is not Niels Gade, the Mendelssohn contemporary. This is the other Danish Gade—Jacob (1879–1963). You think you don’t know his music? Wrong—you do. Almost everyone does—because almost everyone knows Jalousie, a “tango tsigane” that Gade first wrote when he was the bandleader for a silent film theater (the Palads Theater). It was premiered by Gade in 1925 during the film Don Q, Son of Zorro, starring Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Astor, and quickly became such a hit that it was used to accompany dozens of scenes in various silent films and then when talkies came in it was used in over 100 films. Gade lived on the royalties from Jalousie for the rest of his life, and they now fund a foundation for young musicians. It became a radio hit, and we’ve heard it with Arthur Fiedler, Frankie Laine, Plácido Domingo, Yuri Temirkanov, Jascha Heifetz, and Andre Rieu.

This charming disc of light music by Gade is highly engaging, beginning with Jalousie, but including a number of other short and entertaining pieces. Nothing profound here, but plenty of colorful and tuneful music, played with charm and a sense of fun by the Odense Orchestra and conductor Aeschbacher. Certainly this would make the perfect accompaniment to a dinner party, but it even pays dividends to a more serious listen. A very engaging discovery.

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