Other Compositions

Douces Secrets, Valse lente (1919).

This waltz has the subtitle “Valse lente par Maurice Ribot”, but on the cover of the printed music the name Jacob Gade is included, in addition to the pseudonym, which would suggest that, having been assured of the success of the “French” waltz, the composer wished to emerge from anonymity. A characteristic feature throughout these waltzes is the instrumentation. Apart from several piano versions, they only exist in an edition for salon orchestra consisting of only one flute, one clarinet, two trumpets, a trombone, percussion and strings. As usual, no score was published, as the conductor directed from the piano part. The advantage of such an arrangement was that the music could be performed by ensembles consisting of different combinations of instruments to meet the needs of widely different occasions. Restaurants and tea-rooms attracted their clientele with the light music of the day and Gade knew how to accommodate his music to circumstances so as to reach the widest public, even if it meant being performed by, for example, a piano trio,

Rhapsodietta (1931)

The full Danish title, ‘Tibirke’: Rhapsodietta, refers to Gade’s summer house at Tibirke Mill, where he lived at the end of the 1920s. Gade was then approaching the end of his career as a violinist and conductor and in this work he tried his hand, for the first time, at one of the freer forms of classical music: the rhapsody. Gade undoubtedly had such works as Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies in his wide repertoire and perhaps it was they that inspired him to compose the Danish rhapsody, or Rhapsodie danoise, which was the title of the French edition of 1939. The work is composed for an enlarged salon orchestra and consists of five loosely-connected sections in potpourri form.

Romanesca, Tango (1933)

Jacob Gade composed other tangos than Jalousie, among them Romanesca, which he published in 1933 as the first work from his new publishing house, Edition Gade. In addition to the traditional arrangements for piano and salon orchestra, the new tango was also issued in an arrangement by Gade himself for large orchestra, published both by his own firm in Copenhagen and in Paris by Éditions Max Eschig. In the latter case the tango was also provided with a French text. The introductory violin solo with cadenzas is, if possible, more virtuosic than in its predecessor, Jalousie; nevertheless, though it has often been performed abroad, this tango has never succeeded in achieving a comparable breakthrough.

Wedding at Himmelpind. Rustic Suite (1937)

This depiction of a country wedding is one of Jacob Gade’s major orchestral works. It originally consisted of six movements but was later revised and reduced to four movements in the printed edition of 1941. About the background for the suite, Gade himself said, “It is a musical rendering of a number of scenes from my childhood. Himmelpind is a little place outside Vejle where I was born and I have many times as a child played at village weddings there.” Gade managed to evoke the rural atmosphere in Wedding at Himmelpind by simple means, such as when the church bells are heard during the wedding march and when the fiddler tunes his violin in preparation for the party. With the crowing of the cock in the final movement the festivities are drawing to a close and Gade undoubtedly here recalled the times when as a boy he played the trumpet in his father’s ten-piece orchestra.

Copenhagen Life. Waltz (1937)

In the same period as saw the composition of the large orchestral works, Gade wrote Copenhagen Life, the only one of his waltzes to bear the subtitle “Viennese Waltz”. The form is the classic one found, for example, in Franz Lehar’s Gold und Silber: an extended introduction followed by three waltzes. Unlike the “French” waltzes, Gade has chosen to compose Copenhagen Life for large orchestra - that is, with full woodwind and brass sections, percussion and strings. Copenhagen Life has probably been used to accompany a theatrical piece or Singspiel with the title Det kære København [“Dear Old Copenhagen”].

Leda and the Swan. Légende d’amour (1939).

This is music for a ballet based on the Greek myth of the princess Leda, who was married to King Tyndareus of Sparta. Zeus, king of the gods, fell in love with Leda and came to her in the form of a swan. Thus Leda became the mother of the beautiful Helen and Clytemnestra and also of the two Dioscorides (i.e. sons of Zeus) Castor and Polydeuces. When Gade went to the United States in the autumn of 1939, the recently-composed Leda and the Swan was one of the works he took with him. With choreography created by Sutro, a former ballet master with both the Metropolitan and Chicago operas, the work was accepted for performance at a Broadway theatre. Due to illness (“Leda” unfortunately came down with appendicitis), the opening had to be postponed until the following season.

Suite d’amour (1940)

This music was composed in the period after Gade had withdrawn fromcity life to devote himself entirely to composing. When asked if he missed the conductor’s podium, he replied in 1944, “No, not really; I would rather write music. In the old days one did it free of care for the sake of the money - one was always most inspired as pay-day approached. Now it is a matter of conscience.” Gade’s success had been primarily as a composer of music for dancing and entertainment, but the orchestral compositions from the end of the 1930s show that the master of light music also mastered some of the ingredients of classical music, as far as content, form and instrumentation are concerned.

Valse Capriccio (1943)

As a musical term “Capriccio” refers to a technically difficult instrumental piece, usually of a scherzando character - features clearly illustrated by Valse Capriccio. Gade knew very well how to exploit the solo instrument’s possibilities, both with regard to performance techniques (double-stopping, spiccato) and acoustical effects (harmonics). Valse Capriccio has a very Viennese quality and being capriccio it inevitably calls to mind both Paganini’s Capricci per violino solo and Fritz Kreisler’s Caprice Viennois.

Other Sources

Karl Bjarnhof. Omkring Jacob Gade - en musiker og hans melodi . Gyldendal. 1969.

Mogens Wenzel Andreasen. Tango Jalousie - Jacob Gade. Published by Jakob Gades legat.1996.

Jørgen Gram Christensen. Jacob Gade - Et eventyr i musik. Published by Byhistorisk Forlag in cooperation with Vejle Byhistorisk Arkiv.Vejle.1996.

Hermansen,V.aa.Jacob Gade. 1879-1963.Vejle. Eget forlag. 1993.

Filmen om Jacob Gades liv. TV2 Denmark og JJ film

An animated film about Tango Jalousie