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No. 4 in E major from Börnenes Jul (Noël), Children’s Christmas, Op. 36, by Danish composer Niels Wilhelm Gade.


Hear this solo piano piece on Spotify and YouTube. It has also been interestingly arranged for string orchestra: Spotify and YouTube.


Niels Wilhelm Gade (1817- 1890) was a Danish composer, conductor, violinist, organist and teacher. He is considered the most important Danish musician of his day.

Gade was born in Copenhagen. He began his career as a violinist with the Royal Orchestra there before sending his first symphony, turned down for performance in Copenhagen, to Felix Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn received the work positively, and conducted it in Leipzig. Gade himself moved to Leipzig, teaching at the Conservatory there, working as an assistant conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra, and befriending Mendelssohn, who had an important influence on his music. He also became friends with Robert Schumann.

He returned to Copenhagen in the late 1840s, becoming director of the Copenhagen Musical Society (a post he retained until his death) and establishing a new orchestra and chorus. He also worked as an organist and was joint director of the Copenhagen Conservatory with Johan Peter Emilius Hartmann (whose daughter Gade married in 1852) and Holger Simon Paulli, and worked as an organist. An important influence on a number of later Scandinavian composers, he encouraged and taught both Edvard Grieg and Carl Nielsen. He died in Copenhagen.

Among Gade's works are eight symphonies, a violin concerto, chamber music, piano pieces and a number of large-scale cantatas, Comala (1846) and Elverskud (1853) amongst them, which he called 'Koncertstykke'. These are sometimes based on Danish folklore.


Biography source.


Cover image: Silent Night (1891) by Viggo Johansen (1851-1935), a Danish painter who was greatly influenced by the work of the Impressionists, particularly that of Claude Monet. The painting depicts his family dancing round the candle-lit tree at Christmas 1890. From The Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen:


It is Christmas in the home of the Johansen family, with the artist’s wife and family dancing and singing round the twinkling Christmas tree in the living room. The painting had been begun Christmas 1890, but finally finished in April 1891. The work of the intervening months had required the windows of the room to be covered, the candles relit, and the models to be posed in turn by the tree. As time passed, the Christmas tree began to shed, and fresh branches were obtained to replace them. Johansen’s efforts culminated to produce one of his most well-loved, popular works.


In their home in Amaliegade in Copenhagen, Viggo’s wife, Martha Møller, is seen from behind. She is holding the hands of her daughters:l ittle Nanna and Ellen; holding Ellen’s hand is her godmother, Helene Christensen, Martha’s childhood friend. The 3 children to Nanna’s left may also be Martha’s also, making six children. Fritz, the eldest boy, is holding onto an unseen person — probably his father, the artist himself. Martha’s aunt stands watching from the corner, observing the expectant pleasure of the flock of children from a distance


Painting image source.





Niels Gade ~ The Little Girls' Dance

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  • 2 pages (4 inc. covers).

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