Jacob Gade: Jealousy - Suites, tangos and waltzes
01 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.