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Niels W. Gade
1. Efterklange af Ossian (Echoes of Ossian) Concert Overture Op. 1

August Enna
2. Overture to the opera Den lille Pige med Svovlstikkerne (The Little Match Girl) Op. 12

Niels W. Gade
3. Agnete og Havfruerne (Agnete and the Mermaids) Op. 3
4. I den Blaa Grotte (In the Blue Grotto) From the ballet “Napoli”

Knudåge Riisager
From Tolv med Posten (Twelve with the Mail) Op. 37
5. August
6. October

Finn Høffding
7. Det er Ganske vist, (It’s Quite True!) Symphonic Fantasy No. 2

H.C. Lumbye
8. Drømmebilleder (Dream Pictures)

Fini Henriques
9. Livsglædens Dans (The Dance of the Joy of Life) from the ballet Den lille Havfrue (The little Mermaid)

Poul Schierbeck
10. Fyrtøjet (The Tinder Box) Op. 61

CD 2

Peder Gram
1. Intrada seria Op. 34

Henning Wellejus
2. Det har slet ingen hast for den, der tror (Haste is not for him that believeth) Frihedsouverture (Freedom Overture) Op. 13

Ebbe Hamerik
3. Orkestervariationer over det danske Statsradiofonisignal tilegnet Lytteren (Variations for Orchestra over the Danish State Radio Signal, dedicated to The Listener)

Rued Langgaard
4. Drapa. Ved Edvard Griegs Død (At the Death of Edvard Grieg)

Walther Schrøder
5. Salzburg Overture

Svend S. Schultz
6. Overture to the opera Tordenvejret (Thunderstorm)

Launy Grøndahl Legacy, Vol. 3 ©
By Martin Granau

As the first volume in this series demonstrated (DACOCD 881), Grøndahl’s repertoire extended well beyond the borders of Denmark to take in the central canon of classical works, as well as international composers writing in his own time. However, his work was restricted by a cultural policy that narrowly assigned conductors to the music of their own country, and the DRSO tended to perform German, French and Russian works under the batons of (for example) Fritz Busch and Nicolai Malko. Even when working abroad, Grøndahl became known principally as an advocate of Danish music.

In his last year as conductor of the DRSO – and once working freelance after his retirement in 1956 – Grøndahl made a series of studio recordings featuring Danish music. His connection to the heritage of Danish classical music, and his personal friendships with composers, cultivated readings of unique authenticity. Aside from three recordings made at the beginning of the 1950s, these performances date from broadcast concerts given in 1955 and 1957. They bear witness to the high technical standard of the DRSO’s playing, nearly 70 years ago, as well as to the tireless advocacy of Launy Grøndahl for the music of his own country.

The collection divides roughly into two parts: the Danish national romantic style in the tradition of Niels W. Gade, and the strain of post-romantic modernism exemplified by Carl Nielsen. The dominant Danish literary figure of Hans Christian Andersen leaves his mark in both categories.

Niels W. Gade himself is represented by three works. Echoes of Ossian launched his international reputation after it won first prize in a competition held in Copenhagen in 1841. Two years later, Mendelssohn conducted Gade’s First Symphony with the Gewandhaus in Leipzig and invited him to become the orchestra’s co-conductor, whereupon he became well acquainted with Mendelssohn’s extended circle including Robert and Clara Schumann. As the work of a 23-year-old, designated Opus 1, Echoes of Ossian is written with a precocious maturity of technique worthy (and bearing the influence) of Mendelssohn himself. The score is headed by a motto: ‘Formel hält uns nicht gebunden / Unsre Kunst heißt Poesie’ (‘Theory cannot bind us; the nature of our art is poetry’). Inspired by the myth of the eponymous Gaelic bard, this concert overture (anticipating Liszt’s codification of the new genre of symphonic poem) opens with a slow, atmospheric introduction in the manner of Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture. A bold theme (adopted by Gade from an old Danish/ Swedish folksong) describes the stirrings of Ossian and forms the basis for the overture’s turbulent main Allegro.

Gade returned to the world of myth and legend during the 1840s with musical responses to an Andersen fairy-tale in verse, Agnete and the Merman (a subject also immortalized in bronze under Copenhagen’s Højbro Bridge). From a set of incidental music, composed for Andersen’s stage adaptation in 1842, Gade arranged five songs for voice and piano. In 1849 he made two further arrangements for solo voice, female choir and orchestra. Under the title of Agnete and the Mermaids they were first conducted by the composer at the Royal Theatre. Agnete’s Lullaby then took on a life of its own. The soloist on this recording is the Danish mezzo Else Brems (1908-95), who frequently worked with Grøndahl and the DRSO from the 1930s onwards.

In 1842 the celebrated Danish choreographer August Bournonville created a new work for the Danish Royal Ballet. The score for Napoli was the work of no fewer than four separate composers. Gade contributed the music to the second act, which is set in a magical Blue Grotto, and Hans Christian Lumbye wrote the final galop. As the long-standing music director (1843-72) and master of ceremonies at Copenhagen’s pleasure gardens, the Tivoli, Lumbye became known as the ‘Danish Waltz King’, a northern counterpart to Johann Strauss in Vienna. However, Lumbye’s muse ran farther than waltzes and polkas: the Dream Pictures of 1846 demonstrate his refined melodic gifts and mastery of impressionist orchestration, notably including a part for glockenspiel.

The subject of Lumbye’s orchestral fantasy is a young girl, lost in blissful dreams; a world away from the poor heroine of The Little Match Girl. Andersen’s tale became the subject of the fifth opera (composed in 1897) by August Enna, a Danish composer of Italian descent who won the encouragement and support of Gade early in his career. The main theme of the opera’s Prelude represents the girl’s unshakeable faith in life; her tragic end is alluded to only in passing.

Even more famous than The Little Match Girl, Andersen’s tale of The Little Mermaid became the subject of a ballet first staged at the Royal Theatre on 26 December 1909, with a score composed by Fini Henriques. In fact it was the ballet (and in particular Ellen Price’s performance as the heroine) rather than Andersen’s tale of 1836 that inspired Carl Jacobsen to commission Edvard Eriksen for the bronze sculpture that now adorns Copenhagen harbour as a national symbol of Denmark. The DRSO played the music of Henriques from their very earliest days – he was a popular figure in Danish musical life until his death in 1940, much loved for his sense of humour – and this exuberant dance is a characterful example of his style.

RELEASE DATE: September 2020


EAN: 5709499883006