MusicWeb International reviews more Classical recordings than any one else.

53,454 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

£11 post-free anywhere
Normal service resumed


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


Recordings of the Month


Beethoven String Quartets

Produzioni Armoniche

Seven Symphonic Poems

Shostakovich VC1 Baiba Skride
Tchaikovsky Symph 5 Nelsons

Vivaldi Violin Concertos



Beethoven Piano Concertos

Stradal Transcriptions

LOSY Note d’oro

Scarlatti Sonatas Vol 2

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers
Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Niels GADE (1817-1890)
Piano Sonata in E minor, op.28 (1840/1854) [22:29]
Akvareller, op.19 (1850) [17:13]
Nye Akvareller, op.57 (1881) [12:17]
Andantino in C sharp minor (1860) [1:57]
Andantino [4:39]
Christina Bjørkøe (piano)
rec. Den Sorte Diamant, Copenhagen, 25-27 June 2010.
CPO 777 628-2 [58.53] 

Niels Gade (pronounced roughly 'gay-the' - 'the' as in 'the sonata') is better known as the composer of orchestral works, most notably his eight symphonies, all of which are now available in at least three cycles - BIS (CD-1835/36), Marco Polo/Dacapo (DCCD 9201-4) and Chandos (CHAN 9862, 9957, 9795, 10026). Gade's chamber music is also well represented on disc, especially the three violin sonatas, of which there are several recordings available for the prospective listener.
Gade's piano music has been shown less interest by musicians than other areas, but then there is less of it - indeed, as veteran Danish pianist Anker Blyme's cycle for Marco Polo (Dacapo) has shown, it fits comfortably onto three CDs (DCCD 9115, 9116, 9117). Blyme's set is twenty-odd years old now, so her compatriot Christina Bjørkøe's new recording, with better sonics, can only be welcomed.
All the discographic attention for Gade comes in spite of the sustained critical disapprobation that writing in a conservative style - as he unquestionably did - inevitably engenders. He is nowhere more 'backward'-thinking than in his piano music, as anyone listening to this delightful recital will quickly realise. Bjørkøe begins with Gade's sole Sonata, his most substantial work for piano. Initially an early piece, Gade revised it in his thirties. It now oozes poetic maturity alongside all the dreamy melodies and virtuosic excursions in the manner of Schumann. Other pianists neglect this superbly imagined work at their peril. At the other end of the programme is a discarded Andantino from it, along with a standalone Andantino in C sharp minor - both pieces are gently beautiful.
CPO have labelled the first five Akvareller (or Aquarellen, as they prefer) 'vol.1' and the second five 'vol.2', but there seems to be little justification for this - certainly the later Peters edition published in Leipzig makes no reference to more than a single volume. Bjørkøe in any case plays them straight through without any discernible break in the recording. In fact, though, Gade did return to his 'paintbox' towards the end of his life: the Nye Akvareller ('New Water Colours') was his last published work for piano. The op.19 set are all in different keys and with one exception take a different form - Elegie, Scherzo, Canzonette, Humoreske, Barcarole, Capriccio, Romanza, Intermezzo, Novelletta and Scherzo. The later cycle is more of the same, in the nicest sense - five distinct character pieces that seem to refer back to some of the earlier ones. In both cases, these are deeply atmospheric scores tinged with the nostalgia, warmth and effortless charm that characterises so much of Gade's instrumental music.
Christina Bjørkøe has made some terrific Danish recordings for Dacapo of Holmboe, Riisager, Bentzon, Koppel and others. Here she gives an account that is both romantically impassioned (Sonata) and wonderfully sensitive (Akvareller), allowing Gade's mellisonant invention to speak through her fingers. With pretty good recorded sound, this is a recital to savour, one that will appeal to anyone who, regardless of critical tutting, likes their music 'old-fashioned'.  

Contact at