The Second Symphony is one of the major Danish works before Nielsen and it receives a well nigh definitive performance from Christopher Hogwood and his polished DNRSO. There is an almost irresistible change of pace between the opening Andantino and the cheerful, exuberant Molto allegro that shapes the first movement, all this is quite superbly handled by orchestra and conductor. The same goes for the dashing Finale that dances about like some elves in the woods. The Eighth Symphony that accompanies is a somewhat subdued work, slightly low on drama but definitely a homespun work of great intimacy. Hogwood relishes the challenges that the work provides, especially its wisdom laden Andantino that almost looks forward to Nielsen. The highlight of this disc is definitely the wonderful "In the Highlands" Overture, perennial scenery sketched by a master in semi-programmatic music. The front cover is a beautiful reproduction of an Ilsted painting that blends perfectly with the wonderfmusic on offer. Highly recommended to the first time buyer and for those who wish to collect a new Gade cycle.
Copyright © 2001, Gerald Fenech