Table of contents

Niels Wilhelm Gade (1817–1890) was, next to his father-in-law, the composer and organist J.P.E. Hartmann (1805–1900), the all-dominating personality in Danish musical life in the nineteenth century. From when he as a twenty-four-year old won the Music Society’s competition for an overture for orchestra, Nachklänge von Ossian NWGW 10, his fame grew steadily – not only in his native country but also abroad when Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy performed Gade’s Symphony No. 1 in C Minor NWGW 1 at a Gewandhaus concert in Leipzig in 1843. Many of Gade’s works were issued by the famous music publishers in Leipzig, Breitkopf & Härtel, and Fr. Kistner. From there they were distributed all over the world so when Gade died he had become a world-renowned composer. However, he was also an outstanding conductor. Gade was the conductor of the Gewandhaus concerts together with Mendelssohn from 1844 to 1848 and again during spring 1853. Furthermore, from 1850 until his death he also conducted the orchestra of the Music Society in Copenhagen and was guest conductor in Germany, the Netherlands and England. Gade was also organist at Garnisonskirke from 1851, and from 1858 until his death at Holmens Kirke. Finally, Gade was head of Kjøbenhavns Musikkonservatorium together with J.P.E. Hartmann and the royal Kapellmeister, H.S. Paulli, from its founding in 1867.

The catalogue of Niels W. Gade’s works (NWGW) is the first thematic-bibliographic catalogue of his complete oeuvre; however, already during Gade’s lifetime and throughout the twentieth century several more or less complete work catalogues were prepared:

Dan Fog’s catalogue is divided into works with opus numbers (1–64) and works without opus numbers (101–177). Most of the entries cover a musical work though they may also refer to a collection such as Udvalgte Sange. Since the DF-numbers are often used, they have been included in NWGW under the heading, "Identification", on par with NWGW numbers and opus numbers.

The source material

The majority of the source material for Niels W. Gade’s works are located at the Royal Danish Library, Copenhagen, primarily as part of the Gade Collection, where it is divided into two groups: manuscripts and printed editions which belonged to Gade.1The following section is borrowed from Anne Ørbæk Jensen, Musiksamlingerne på Det Kgl. Bibliotek. A guide (Copenhagen, 2018), pp. 292–94, with permission by the author. Translation: Peter Hauge.

The material has been transferred to the library through several submissions. The collection of Gade’s personal, printed copies and the large collection of his manuscripts arrived in different lots. The first time was already in 1902–03 when Gade’s widow, Mathilde, and their son Felix handed over a number of music manuscripts contained in three boxes. A comprehensive typewritten list itemises the contents (dated 1 May 19032KB archive, A9, kapsel 18/1, sag nr. 2044. Manuscript Dept.’s accessions register 13 Dec. 1902 and 8 June 1903. ) and expresses the family’s wish that the music should be donated to the library and that the printed editions may be loaned according to the library’s ordinary lending rules – hence the manuscripts could only go to the reading room. Shortly after that (June 19033KB archive, F7, Manuscript Dept.’s accessions register, 1901–23. ), they were followed by some biographical documents, archival material and letters.

In 1918 the children of Gade, Axel, Felix and Dagmar, donated an additional and extensive collection of papers and letters. Of the four groups of "efterladte papirer" (surviving papers) the music constitutes the third group. The index card of the Manuscript Department points out that the music has in parts been transferred to the Music Department. The material does not seem to have been provided with a separate accession number or entry in the accessions register in the Music Department. However, the whole collection is listed in the register of the Manuscript Department.

In August 1923, Ms K. Wilhelm Hansen (presumably Jonas Wilhelm Hansen’s wife, Kristine) donated five autographs of larger works. In May 1929, Niels W. Gade’s daughter-in-law, Anna Christoffersen (1889–1970), who was Axel Gade’s (1860–1921) second wife (married Christoffersen in 1925), handed over a series of manuscripts to the library. The manuscripts consisted mainly of minor works, typically songs, minor choral pieces, works for piano, unfi nished works and some chamber music. All these are registered as a "Supplement" to the large Gade Collection.

During July and August 1932, Holmens Kirke, where Gade had been employed 1858–90, presented a number of manuscripts. Besides notebooks including chorales, the lot also contained manuscripts for the choral pieces "Paaske" NWGW 225 and "Du Kærlighedens ophav" NWGW 217. In 1934, the grandson, the conductor, music teacher, and organist Niels Rudolph Gade, bequeathed additional archival material to the Manuscript Department. In April that same year, the Music Society transferred their archive to the library which also included several music manuscripts. Furthermore, throughout the time several additional manuscripts have been offered as gifts or bought from music antiquarians or at auctions.



The large collection (and supplements) of manuscripts contains the vast majority of Gade’s major works: the symphonies, other orchestral works, the large concert pieces, the piano and choral works, solo songs and chamber music. Many of the other works have been added since, so that the collection is now more or less complete. Though it is relatively rare, it is still possible to find minor works, album sheets etc. at auctions and owned by private individuals. One of the manuscripts that is absent in the collection is the score to the First Symphony; so far the collection has only a few folios comprising drafts of the work. A search for the missing source has been carried out but so far in vain.

In addition to Gade’s own manuscripts, the collection also contains a number of works by other composers which Gade had reworked in different ways as part of his engagement with the Music Society. Some of these have been included in the present catalogue of works: Franz Schubert’s "Hymne" NWGW B 11; "Mirjams Siegesgesang" NWGW B 12, and "Psalm XXIII" NWGW B 13; a choral score of Ludwig van Beethoven’s "Athens Ruiner" NWGW B 08; J.S. Bach’s "Passionsmusik nach Matthäus" NWGW B 19 and "Magnificat" NWGW B 20; Robert Schumann’s "Zigeunerleben" NWGW B 05 and his "3 Lieder for blandet Kor" NWGW B 06.

Printed music

The collection of printed music contains those copies which Gade typically received from publishers and editors of his works. This often applies to several different types of material such as scores, instrumental and vocal parts, piano scores (two or four hands) with and without text. The collection includes approximately 230 units, many of which have hardly ever been used.

Material in other libraries

In Denmark there are also manuscripts of Gade’s located in:

Due to Gade’s association with Germany in particular, there are also manuscripts in the following foreign libraries and institutions:

The structure of the entries

The work concept

The main catalogue comprises compositions that are complete in structure even though they may not necessarily be so in detail. Fragments of compositions which, so far as is known, were never completed, and arrangements of other composers’ works have been placed in the appendix.

Songs, choral pieces and instrumental interludes, which are part of a larger work such as Morgensang in "Elverskud" NWGW 165, the bridal waltz in "Et Folkesagn" NWGW 159, are not considered independent works with an assigned NWGW number.

Songs and choral pieces that are part of a collection, irrespective of whether the collection only includes songs by Gade ("Tre Digte af C. Hauch", NWGW Coll. 10) or whether they were published in a broader context with works by other composers ("Samling af fleerstemmige Mandssange udgiven af den danske Studenter-Sangforening"), have been registered as individual works and assigned a NWGW number as they often were performed separately ("Kong Valdemars Jagt", Paa Sjølunds fagre Sletter, NWGW 300). The same principle has been employed for collections of piano pieces. An outline of the collection’s contents with an indication of the most important common information has been placed in the final parts of the appendix.

Arrangements of Gade’s compositions have not been defined as independent works and are therefore placed under the same NWGW number, typically piano arrangements of orchestral works.


In addition to the NWGW numbers and Opus numbers, those of the Niels W. Gade. Works (GW) and the numbers in Dan Fog’s N.W. Gade-Katalog are also given.

Work titles

The title appearing in the first printed edition is employed as main title in the catalogue. Thus works that were first published in Germany are listed using the German title ("Nachklänge von Ossian", NWGW 10). Regarding unpublished works, the main title is that of the autograph or, if that has not survived, the transcript (or transcripts) that document the work’s existence. All significant titles are reproduced in the source’s original language ("Elverskud", NWGW 165) while titles designating a genre are given in standardized form ("Sonate nr. 1 for violin og klaver", NWGW 31). If an instrumental work does not carry any title, the tempo marking ("Allegro molto", NWGW 114), is employed, while the texts first line is used for vocal works ("Udrust dig, Helt fra Golgatha", NWGW 224). Works which include incidental music are provided with titles such as "Musik til Ludvig Holbergs Skuespil 'Ulysses von Ithacia'" NWGW 155, as otherwise the titles would refer to the play or drama as a whole. In those instances where a work was published with a German, English or French text, these are also reproduced. Subtitles are only provided if they appear in the sources; new ones have not been created. In those instances where a work has been several different variants of the main title – typically if the title in a printed edition is different from that of the autograph manuscript ("Nachklänge von Ossian" / "Efterklang af Ossian" / "Gjenklang af Ossian", NWGW 10) – these are listed as variant titles. First lines of songs are also given as variant titles.

Instrumentation and incipits

If a work appears in different instrumentations, this have been reported under each version. The incipits in NWGW comprise the fi rst bars of the composition’s main sections (movements, scenes, etc.) with an indication of the work’s or the section’s total number of bars. A repeat sign has been omitted in those cases where the passage to be repeated is longer than the incipit. Where a vocal work begins with an extended instrumental introduction, the introductory bars are included as well as the beginning of the vocal passage.


The list of sources covers only those – manuscripts as well as printed editions – from Gade’s own time. If a work was not published until after Gade’s death this has been noted with as "posthumous" ("Agnete og Havfruerne", NWGW 163). Each source has a descriptive heading noting the type of source, for example, "Score, autograph, fair copy". If "autograph" is indicated without further explanation, it is Niels W. Gade’s; however, another name (e.g. "autograph (G.C. Bohlmann)"), naming the person who carried out the instrumentation for Gade, may also be provided. For the dating of foreign printed sources, Hofmeister 4 has been consulted, while the dating of Danish editions are based on DF, corrected and expanded by information available in Mediestream.5

The work’s history

Information on the work’s history includes a brief summary of the work’s genesis and date, if this is known, and a list of performances during Gade’s lifetime as well as a selection of reviews. Information on performances has largely been borrowed from Inger Sørensen, Niels W. Gade – et dansk verdensnavn, pp. 395–421, augmented by searches in ripm6 and digitized newspapers in Mediestream. However, since the number of digitized newspapers is continuously expanding, the listed details are per se only a selection. The dating of the works is based on Gade’s own indications in the autograph scores or those copies which he authorized; if these have not survived, the date of publication has been employed for those works that were printed. Bibliography The bibliography is divided into two parts: documents (letters) and a select bibliography arranged in chronological order. The correspondence is divided into letters to and from Gade and letters from others that document aspects of the work’s history. The select bibliography includes primarily more recent literature and in some cases articles which appeared in journals in Gade’s own lifetime. For older literature the reader is referred to Sigurd Berg, "Litteratur omkring Niels W. Gade 1843-1950", Dansk Musiktidsskrift, 42 (1962), pp. 16–18.


NWGW is arranged according to genre as follows:

Instrumental music
Symphonies (NWGW 1–8)
Concertos (NWGW 9)
Other orchestral music (NWGW 10–26)
Chamber music (NWGW 27–43)
Music for one instrument
Piano (four hands) (NWGW 44–49)
Piano (two hands) (NWGW 50 –132)
Organ (NWGW 133–147)

Stage music
Opera (NWGW 148)
Incidental music (NWGW 149–156)
Ballet (NWGW 157–159)

Vocal music
Music for vocal soloists with instruments,
with or without choir
(NWGW 160–181)
Choral music with instruments (NWGW 182–205)
Choral music a cappella
Mixed choir (NWGW 206–234)
Male choir (NWGW 235–270)
Equal voices (NWGW 271–275)
For two voices (NWGW 276–286)
For one voice (NWGW 287–367)

Within each category, the works have been arranged chronologically whenever possible. In most cases, Gade’s autographs have been dated. For the chronology, end dating has been used. In those instances where the autograph has not been dated, or where the autograph has not survived, the fi rst edition’s year of publication has been employed. Works for which it has not been possible to give an approximate date using other sources, such as letters and newspaper reviews, have been placed at the end of each category.

A Incomplete works (NWGW A 01–A 53)
B Arrangements of other composers' works (NWGW B 01–B 29)
C Doubtful works (NWGW C 01)
D Gade’s private transcriptions of other composers’ works (NWGW D 01–D 04)
E Not considered works (NWGW E 01–E 02)
Collections (Coll. 01-Coll. 26)


Gade's musical signatureThroughout most of his career, Gade signed his works with his name written in musical notes. The g-clef precedes the notes while the c-clef is notated up-side down at the end of the stave; in that way it is also possible to read the same signature – though an octave lower – by turning the paper around.

[1] The following section is borrowed from Anne Ørbæk Jensen, Musiksamlingerne på Det Kgl. Bibliotek. A guide (Copenhagen, 2018), pp. 292–94, with permission by the author. Translation: Peter Hauge.

[2] KB archive, A9, kapsel 18/1, sag nr. 2044. Manuscript Dept.’s accessions register 13 Dec. 1902 and 8 June 1903.

[3] KB archive, F7, Manuscript Dept.’s accessions register, 1901–23.