New album presents Else Marie Pade's works for orchestra

On 18 November, the first recording of Else Marie Pade's orchestral works will be released at Dacapo Records, challenging the established image we have of her. On the same day, the new digital EMP series is launched.

The release of the four orchestral works on this new album is no less than a small sensation. They show Else Marie Pade (1924 – 2016) in a hitherto unknown role as a composer of orchestral works which have an integrity and an artistic weight that gives us a welcome opportunity to challenge the established image we have of her.

With the release of these works, it will now be possible to present Pade’s music in the concert halls and at the same time, these works present something as rare as works from the 1950s and 1960s written by a Danish woman. 

You can pre-save the album to your streaming service here.

A composer is re-discovered again

Else Marie Pade is primarily known as the Danish electronic pioneer who was re-discovered in 2001 and became widely acknowledged in Denmark and abroad for her work. What few people knew is that Pade also composed acoustic, orchestral works. She never, on her own initiative, talked about the works and the probable implication of this silence is that she accepted that it was her electronic and ‘concrète’ works which people wanted to hear about.

Until recently the works only existed in her original scripts and as entries in the catalogue of her works. But after Pade's death, all her tapes, scripts and notes have been handed on to Edition·S, where they have been examined, restored, digitized and published.

The four orchestral works on the new album are written between 1953 and 1965, a period in which Else Marie Pade also composed electronic music. In general, there is a continuity rather than fracture between the ‘acoustic’ and the ‘electronic’ Else Marie Pade.

Her electronic and acoustic works are related music which works through quite different means. A lot of the musical building blocks seem to be electronically experienced: there are sounds which could not have been made without an intimate knowledge of, and preference for, the ways in which electronic material manifests itself.

The image shows Else Marie Pade's acoustic scheme of the first four movements of the violin concerto Étude.
The image shows Else Marie Pade's acoustic scheme of the first four movements of the violin concerto Étude.

50 years ahead of her time

The new album is recorded by Malmö Opera Orchestra and conductor Joachim Gustafsson and contains four works: A trumpet concerto from 1954 (recorded by trumpet solist Michael Frank Møller), Parametre for ´string orchestra, Sept Pièces en couleurs and the violin concerto Étude with solist Christina Åstrand.

Étude brings to mind an almost Ligeti-like sound world, where everything stands delicate, fragile, luminous – and static. The score of prescribes the spatial arrangement of the musicians in which the conductor and soloist are at the centre, surrounded by the orchestra sitting in a system of circles. 

Tonmeister and recording engineer Daniel Davidsen elaborates: “It’s a surprising idea which could easily be redrafted into a position plan based on the surround recording technology. In other words: the composer has been more than 50 years ahead of her time.”

The EMP Series

On Friday 18 November, Dacapo Records is also launching the new EMP Series, a series of digital EPs presenting new-found and restored electronic sound material by Else Marie Pade. The first EP in the series, EMP 1, presents four poems set to music for the radio programme En digter og en komponist (A Poet and a Composer) (1970), from Else Marie Pade's time at Danmarks Radio (Danish Broadcasting Corporation).