Gade: Jealousy (CD review)

Suites, Tangos & Waltzes. Matthias Aeschbacher, Odense Symphony Orchestra. Dacapo Records 6.220509.

When I first started listening to this album, I expected mainly to enjoy one of the most popular tangos ever written, "Jalousie." What I did not expect was to find some of the best audio I'd heard in quite a long while.

Originally released on the Marco Polo label (now issued by Dacapo), the engineers recorded the music fairly close up yet with plenty of bloom. The middle section of the ensemble displays good depth, as a typical orchestral setup would, while the stereo spread to the sides is quite wide. The disc was a part of a Marco Polo series called "Danish Light Music," and while the musical content might be relatively lightweight, there is obviously nothing light about the arrangements or sonics.

Matthias Aeschbacher
Anyway, the Danish violinist and composer Jacob Gade (1879-1963) wrote his famous tango, "Jalousie 'Tango Tzigane,'" in 1925 as part of the musical accompaniment for the silent film Don Q: Son of Zorro. According to Wikipedia, "The composer claimed that the mood of the piece had been inspired by his reading a sensational news report of a crime of passion, and 'jealousy' became fixed in his mind."

Here, Maestro Matthias Aeschbacher and the Odense Symphony Orchestra take it at a more graceful gait than I have heard it done before, and there is less edge to it and more nobility than I would have thought possible. In fact, they make it sound quite grand in this big, flowing rendition.

The album includes a second tango by Gade called "Romanesca," one he wrote in 1933, a few years after "Jalousie." It, too, is quite good, but it never achieved the attention of the earlier work. Still, Aeschbacher gives it due attention.

In addition, the collection contains other Gade works, like "Leda and the Swan," a short ballet; "Rhapsodietta," "Wedding at Himmelpind," "Valse Capriccio," "Copenhagen Life Waltz," and "Douces Secrets Waltz." Most of these pieces receive their première recordings here, and all of them are equally charming.

This is a surprising and highly recommendable disc.


To listen to a brief excerpt from this album, click below:

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John J. Puccio

John J. Puccio

About the Author

Understand, I'm just an everyday guy reacting to something I love. And I've been doing it for a very long time, my appreciation for classical music starting with the musical excerpts on The Big John and Sparkie radio show in the early Fifties and the purchase of my first recording, The 101 Strings Play the Classics, around 1956. In the late Sixties I began teaching high school English and Film Studies as well as becoming interested in hi-fi, my audio ambitions graduating me from a pair of AR-3 speakers to the Fulton J's recommended by The Stereophile's J. Gordon Holt. In the early Seventies, I began writing for a number of audio magazines, including Audio Excellence, Audio Forum, The Boston Audio Society Speaker, The American Record Guide, and from 1976 until 2008, The $ensible Sound, for which I served as Classical Music Editor.

Today, I'm retired from teaching and use a pair of bi-amped VMPS RM40s loudspeakers for my listening. In addition to writing the Classical Candor blog, I served as the Movie Review Editor for the Web site Movie Metropolis (formerly DVDTown) from 1997-2013. Music and movies. Life couldn't be better.

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It is the goal of Classical Candor to promote the enjoyment of classical music. Other forms of music come and go--minuets, waltzes, ragtime, blues, jazz, bebop, country-western, rock-'n'-roll, heavy metal, rap, and the rest--but classical music has been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be around for hundreds more. It's no accident that every major city in the world has one or more symphony orchestras.

When I was young, I heard it said that only intellectuals could appreciate classical music, that it required dedicated concentration to appreciate. Nonsense. I'm no intellectual, and I've always loved classical music. Anyone who's ever seen and enjoyed Disney's Fantasia or a Looney Tunes cartoon playing Rossini's William Tell Overture or Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 can attest to the power and joy of classical music, and that's just about everybody.

So, if Classical Candor can expand one's awareness of classical music and bring more joy to one's life, more power to it. It's done its job.

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"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa

"Their Master's Voice" by Michael Sowa