Gade: Symphonies, Vol. 2: Symphony No. 4; Symphony No. 7; Concert Overture No. 3 in C

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LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Symphonies, Vol. 2: Symphony No. 4; Symphony No. 7; Concert Overture No. 3 in C
PERFORMER: Danish National RSO/Christopher Hogwood
This is the second volume in Christopher Hogwood’s fine and musicianly survey of the Gade symphonies with the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. His recording of the Fourth is actually a reissue and was originally coupled with a symphony by Johannes Frederik Frøhlich, an interesting rarity. The Seventh Symphony was written in 1864, 14 years after the Fourth, though Gade’s musical idiom never really changed or developed, and he never succeeded in making any significant escape from the orbit of Mendelssohn. But it has great geniality and charm, and is winningly played on this disc. My only reservation concerns the sound, which though naturally balanced with plenty of presence, places the listener far too close to the orchestra. Tutti passages are thick and oppressive, and one longs for more air round the aural image. Neeme Järvi’s recordings of both symphonies with the Stockholm Sinfonietta (BIS) have the greater tonal finesse and transparency of texture, and sound much fresher. The Concert Overture No. 3, composed in 1846 between the Second and Third symphonies, is an appealing piece, a first recording and well worthwhile having. Others may not be worried by the sound, and the disc can certainly be recommended for the spirited playing of the Danish orchestra and the elegance of Hogwood’s direction. Robert Layton