Niels Gade

Biography

Born: February 22, 1817; Copenhagen, Denmark   Died: December 21, 1890; Copenhagen, Denmark  
A multifaceted musician, Niels Wilhelm Gade was probably the most important figure in nineteenth century Danish music, making his mark as a composer, conductor, organist, violinist, teacher, and administrator. He furthered the careers of many important musicians, among them Edvard Grieg and Carl Nielsen, and played a major role in bringing Scandinavian music to the world's notice.

Both of Gade's parents were musical; his father was a
Read more cabinetmaker who turned to making musical instruments. As his family was poor, Gade received no formal music schooling until he was 15. He studied violin with F.T. Wexschall, a violinist in the Royal Orchestra, and theory and composition with Andreas Peter Berggreen. Berggreen was also a noted folklorist and passed along to Gade an interest in Danish folk music and literature. Gade made his debut as a violinist in 1833, and the following year became a junior player in the Royal Orchestra.

His earliest compositions date from his teens. His official Op. 1, the overture Efterklange af Ossian (Echoes of Ossian, 1840), was much praised and won Gade a Copenhagen Musical Society prize. When his Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 5 (1841-1842) was not accepted for performance in Denmark, Gade sent it to Felix Mendelssohn in Leipzig, who loved the work and programmed it in 1843. That same year, Gade was given a government grant that allowed him to travel to Leipzig. He met Mendelssohn, who engaged him as assistant conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra and as a teacher at the Leipzig Conservatory. Not surprisingly, many of Gade's compositions of the time, such as the Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 15 (1847), strongly reflect Mendelssohn's influence. After Mendelssohn's death in 1847, Gade became principal conductor of the Gewandhaus, but when war broke out between Prussia and Denmark in 1848, Gade returned to Denmark.

Gade was always very much engaged in Copenhagen's musical life: he conducted concerts, played the organ in churches, and provided music for ceremonial occasions. He also founded an orchestra and choir that in later years gave many significant performances, including the premieres of many of Gade's own compositions. In 1852 he married Emma Sophie Hartmann, the daughter of composer J.P.E. Hartmann, and composed two works for her: the Spring Fantasy, Op. 23 for voices, piano and orchestra; and as a wedding present, the Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 25. She died just a few years later, however, and Gade remarried in 1857. In 1866, he became the director of the new Copenhagen Academy of Music, where for many years he taught composition and music history; among his students was Carl Nielsen. His teaching and administrative schedules allowed him to compose only during the summer months.

Gade specialized in cantatas (or as he sometimes called them, "Koncertstykke") for soloists, chorus and orchestra, many taking their themes from Danish folklore. Perhaps the most popular of these is Elverskud, Op. 30 (The Elf-King's Daughter, 1853). His cantata Psyche, Op. 60 (1881-1882), was written for a Birmingham music festival; by that time Gade was known all over Europe. He ultimately produced eight symphonies, many chamber works and cantatas, and a variety of shorter character pieces and songs. Read less
Gade: Violin Sonatas / Katie Wolf, Adrienne Kim
Release Date: 01/27/2009   Label: Centaur Records  
Catalog: 2973   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-25 of 81 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    The Leipzig Circle: Schumann, Gade & Mendelssohn / Phoenix Piano Trio
    Label: Stone Records   Catalog: 5060192780949 Release Date: 03/06/2020   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Niels Gade,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Phoenix Piano Trio
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  • 2.
    Concertos from 19th Century Denmark / Thorel, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 6220664 Release Date: 02/14/2020   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Friedrich Kuhlau,  Christian Frederik Barth,  Niels Gade
    Performer:  Flemming Aksnes,  Lisa Maria Cooper,  Oliver Nordahl,  Ian van Rensburg
    Conductor:  Jean Thorel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aarhus Symphony Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Begegnungen / Albrecht Koch
    Label: Querstand   Catalog: 1716 Release Date: 05/03/2019   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Niels Gade,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Joseph Rheinberger
    Performer:  Albrecht Koch
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  • 4.
    Gade: Erlkonigs Tochter & 5 Gesange / Mortensen, Danish National Vocal Ensemble, Concerto Copenhagen
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 8226035 Release Date: 03/15/2019   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niels Gade
    Performer:  Ivonne Fuchs,  Johannes Weisser,  Sophie Junker
    Conductor:  Lars Ulrik Mortensen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Copenhagen,  Danish National Vocal Ensemble
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  • 5.
    Gade: Chamber Works, Vol. 4 / Ensemble MidtVest
    Label: Cpo   Catalog: 555198 Release Date: 10/05/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niels Gade
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble MidtVest
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  • 6.
    Romantic Serenades for Strings
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 95655 Release Date: 04/27/2018   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Antonín Dvorák,  Vasily Kalinnikov,  Leos Janácek  ... 
    Performer:  Alexander Rudin
    Conductor:  Alexander Rudin,  Jaroslav Krcek,  Massimo Belli,  Ove Vedsten Larsen  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Viva Instrumental Ensemble,  Capella Istropolitana,  Ferruccio Busoni Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 7.
    Crossing Borders / Hillier, Ars Nova Copenhagen
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 6220626 Release Date: 02/16/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Nielsen,  Niels Gade,  Wilhelm Stenhammar,  Vagn Holmboe  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Hillier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ars Nova Copenhagen
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  • 8.
    Gade: Comala / Henry, Kelly, Wiman, Eiche, Equilbey, Danish National Symphony
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 8226125 Release Date: 02/16/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niels Gade
    Performer:  Rachel Kelly,  Marie-Adeline Henry,  Markus Eiche,  Elenor Wiman
    Conductor:  Laurence Equilbey
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Concert Choir,  Danish National Symphony Orchestra
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  • 9.
    Gade: Erlkonigs Tochter [Vinyl]
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: DAC-LP003 Release Date: 02/16/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niels Gade
    Performer:  Johannes Weisser,  Ivonne Fuchs,  Sophie Junker
    Conductor:  Lars Ulrik Mortensen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Copenhagen
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  • 10.
    The Golden Age / Copenhagen Piano Duo
    Label: Danacord   Catalog: 786 Release Date: 02/02/2018   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niels Gade,  Robert Schumann,  Franz Schubert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Copenhagen Piano Duo
    CD: $17.99
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  • 11.
    1867-2017: 150 Years / Royal Danish Academy of Music
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 8201202 Release Date: 01/19/2018   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Niels Gade,  Johan Peter E. Hartmann,  Carl Nielsen,  Knudage Riisager  ... 
    Performer:  Marianna Shirinyan,  Hans Fagius,  Arne Skjold Rasmussen,  Tim Frederiksen  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard,  Johan Hye-Knudsen,  Ole Schmidt,  Hannu Koivula  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish Piano Trio,  Danish String Quartet,  Royal Danish Orchestra  ... 
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  • 12.
    Gade: Chamber Works, Vol. 3 / Ensemble MidtVest, Danish String Quartet
    Label: Cpo   Catalog: 555077 Release Date: 04/07/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niels Gade
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble MidtVest,  Danish String Quartet
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  • 13.
    Gade: Piano Works / Shirinyan
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 8226122 Release Date: 04/07/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niels Gade
    Performer:  Marianna Shirinyan
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  • 14.
    Vivarte Collection, Vol. 2
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 2367 Release Date: 11/18/2016   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Markus Schäfer,  Jonas Will,  Johannes Pohl,  Harry Van der Kamp  ... 
    Conductor:  Konrad Ruhland,  Gustav Leonhardt,  Frieder Bernius,  Bruno Weil  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Niederaltaich Scholars,  Tölz Boys Choir,  Baroque Orchestra  ... 
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  • 15.
    Gade: Chamber Works, Vol. 2 / Ensemble MidtVest
    Label: Cpo   Catalog: 777165 Release Date: 08/12/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niels Gade
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble MidtVest
    CD: $17.99
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  • 16.
    Gade, Grieg: String Quartets / Leipzig String Quartet
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 3071870 Release Date: 12/02/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Niels Gade
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig String Quartet
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  • 17.
    Bournonville Ballets 4
    Label: Danacord   Catalog: 636 Release Date: 03/13/2012  
    Composer:  Niels Gade
    Performer:  Lars Bjornkjaer
    Conductor:  Peter Ernst Lassen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aalborg Symphony Orchestra
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  • 18.
    Heise & Gade: Sonata & Trios
    Label: Camerata Records   Catalog: 28228 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niels Gade,  Peter Heise
    Performer:  Christoph Koncz,  Jorgen Fog,  Yoko Fog-Urata
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  • 19.
    Bournonville Ballets 2 / Various
    Label: Danacord   Catalog: 632 Release Date: 12/13/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Niels Gade,  Hans Christian Lumbye
    Performer:  Lars Ole Schmidt,  Signe Madsen
    Conductor:  Peter Ernst Lassen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aalborg Symphony Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Gade: Novelletter For Strings
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94185 Release Date: 06/28/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niels Gade
    Conductor:  Ove Vedsten Larsen
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  • 21.
    Gade: Complete Piano Trios / Trio Parnassus
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 3031665 Release Date: 03/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niels Gade
    Performer:  Yamei Yu,  Michael Gross,  Chia Chou,  Thomas Selditz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parnassus Trio
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  • 22.
    Romantic Novelties For Violin & Orchestra / Hideko Udagawa
    Label: Signum Classics   Catalog: 224 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joseph Joachim,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Eugčne Ysa˙e,  Alexander Glazunov  ... 
    Performer:  Hideko Udagawa
    Conductor:  Martyn Brabbins
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Historic Organs Of Seattle: A Young Yet Vibrant History
    Label: Raven Recordings   Catalog: 8 Release Date: 03/09/2010   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Craig Phillips,  Anonymous,  Georg Böhm,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Craig Phillips,  Sharon Porter Shull,  Derek Nickels,  Christopher Marks  ... 
    Conductor:  Tom Foster
    On sale! $51.98
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  • 24.
    Gade: The Symphonies / Jarvi, Stockholm Sinfonietta, Malmo Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1835/6 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Niels Gade
    Performer:  Anton Kontra
    Conductor:  Paavo Järvi,  Neeme Järvi,  Frans Rasmussen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Malmö Symphony Orchestra,  Stockholm Sinfonietta,  Da Camera Vocal Ensemble  ... 
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  • 25.
    Gade: Violin Sonatas / Borup, Conner
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8570524 Release Date: 12/15/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niels Gade
    Performer:  Hasse Borup,  Heather Conner
    CD: $11.99
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