Classical The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. Wed, 12 Jun 2024 10:03:27 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Carl Nielsen - Aladdin Suite etc. (2005) Carl Nielsen - Aladdin Suite etc. (2005)

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Aladdin Suite, Op. 34, FS 89:
01. I- The Festival March 2:59
02. II- Aladdin's Dream and Dance of the Morning Mist 3:06
03. III- Hindu Dance 3:05
04. IV- Chinese Dance 3:15
05. V- The Marketplace in Isaphan 3:56
06. VI- Dance of the Prisoners 4:30
07. VII- Negro Dance 4:06

08. Cupid and the Poet (Amor og Digteren), Op. 54, FS 150 5:36
09. Saga-Dream (Saga-drom), Op. 39, FS 46 9:48
10. Helios, Op. 17, FS 32 : Helios Overture, Op. 17, FS 32 9:52
11. Maskarade (Masquerade), FS 39: Overture 4:31
12. Maskarade (Masquerade), FS 39: Act II: Prelude 3:52
13. Pan and Syrinx (Pan og Syrinx), Op. 49, FS 87 9:03

South Jutland Symphony Orchestra
Niklas Willén – conductor


Willén's Nielsen is very adroitly paced. In fact overall this is a better than pleasing collection recorded by a conductor and orchestra familiar with the idiom.

While I have a reservation about a tendency towards congested sound when the music is loud - as in the crackingly driven Festival March from the Aladdin Suite - this is prime Nielsen. The souk and drone tones of the Marketplace of Ispahan are fascinating. As with the Sixth Symphony they show Nielsen embracing a gamey dissonance which here works perfectly. At 2:03 forwards we hear echoes of The Rite. In the same piece and the dancing galanterie of the strings might perhaps have caught the attention of the young Alan Hovhaness because that is exactly what that strand of the score sounds like. I recall the Svend Christian Felumb recording once coupled with the Menuhin version of the Violin Concerto of a Classics for Pleasure LP circa 1970. Felumb was not as animated as Willén. Tamas Veto on Regis RRC 1134 (originally Unicorn) is extremely well recorded and it’s a fine reading too but is less manic than Willén nor is the coupling as generous (the wonderful Fynsk Forar and three motets). Speaking of manic, Willén makes whirling dervishes of the Negro Dance clearly shaping the music to match the wild-eyed garishness of the Ballets Russes - a sort of Polovtsian Dances transplanted. I have not heard Ulf Schirmer's recording on Decca-Universal. In any event Willén’s is a great performance.

Cupid and the Poet is not commonly encountered. Apart from containing some fairly candid memories of the Fifth Symphony (1:10 forwards) its peppery harmonies recall the more enigmatic Sinfonia Semplice written five year earlier.

Saga-Drøm plants its feet squarely in rustling pregnant Brucknerian mystery on one hand and on the other in Allan Pettersson in that persistent woodwind figure at 1:52. It also looks forward a couple of years to the Sinfonia Espansiva. Its delicate textures are limpidly put across by orchestra and recording team. A lovely performance of a gentle work that alludes to majesty without actually stating it explicitly.

Then comes a classic Helios Overture - from the multi-parted horns to the rustling dialogue of the strings to the barely contained Brucknerian excitement of it all. It’s all sable and clarity. Here Nielsen allows the piece to evolve to a sustained peak of majesty (3.00 rising to 3:50) and then has it dancing off to a joyous optimism typical of the Second Symphony. It finally curves down into a sunset carolled and cosseted by the horns.

As expected the wild, frilly and woolly Maskarade overture is taken at a brisk pace - though not as Golovanov-rapid as I had expected from the Aladdin suite. The overture is not quite up there with Donna Diana or the Bartered Bride or Foulds Le Cabaret but it's not far behind. The baritonal Act II Prelude with its amber singing tones provides a warm contrast with the overture.

Lastly there's Pan and Syrinx which for me carries echoes of Frank Bridge's There is a Willow and Bantock's Pierrot of the Minute as well as Delius's Cuckoo. There are some pretty Sibelian moments including something from the Finn’s Fourth Symphony at 1:10.

I sense that a great deal of preparation went into this recording. It has paid off in alert and sensitive performances that rival any in the current catalogue.

Those curious about Nielsen but wanting for now to steer clear of the symphonies could hardly start in a better place. Nielsen fans need this disc even if they pass others by. As essential to the Nielsen collection as Chung's Bis symphonies (1, 2, 3, 5), Ole Schmidt's splendid symphony cycle on Regis, Bernstein's BMG-Sony recordings of numbers 3 and 5 and Ormandy of No. 6. ---Rob Barnett

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]]> (bluesever) Nielsen Carl Tue, 27 Sep 2011 08:56:05 +0000
Carl Nielsen - Symphony No.3 ‘Sinfonia Espansiva’ & Symphony No.5 (1992) Carl Nielsen - Symphony No.3 ‘Sinfonia Espansiva’ & Symphony No.5 (1992)

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1. Symphony No. 3 (Sinfonia Espansiva) Op. 27 (FS 60): I Allegro espansivo
2. Symphony No. 3 (Sinfonia Espansiva) Op. 27 (FS 60): II Andante pastorale
3. Symphony No. 3 (Sinfonia Espansiva) Op. 27 (FS 60): III Allegretto un poco		play
4. Symphony No. 3 (Sinfonia Espansiva) Op. 27 (FS 60): IV Finale. Allegro
5. Symphony No. 5 Op. 50 (FS 97): I Tempo giusto
6. Symphony No. 5 Op. 50 (FS 97): I Tempo giusto - Adagio non troppo
7. Symphony No. 5 Op. 50 (FS 97): II Allegro
8. Symphony No. 5 Op. 50 (FS 97): II Allegro - Presto
9. Symphony No. 5 Op. 50 (FS 97): II Allegro - Andante un poco tranquillo
10. Symphony No. 5 Op. 50 (FS 97): II Allegro – Allegro					play

Catherine Bott - soprano
Stephen Roberts - bass

Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Bryden Thomson – conductor


The Danish composer Carl Nielsen wrote his Symphony No. 3 "Sinfonia Espansiva", Op. 27, FS 60, between 1910 and 1911 by . It typically lasts around 33 minutes. The symphony followed Nielsen's tenure as bandmaster at the Royal Danish Opera in Copenhagen. Nielsen himself conducted the premiere of the work on February 28, 1912 with Copenhagen's Royal Danish Orchestra.

The character designation of the first movement (Allegro espansivo) serves as the symphony's subtitle, but it is not clear what Nielsen meant by 'espansiva'. Robert Simpson wrote that it suggests the "outward growth of the mind's scope". Uniquely amongst Nielsen's symphonic output, it includes vocal parts: wordless vocal solos for soprano and baritone in the second movement.

Within two months of its premiere the symphony was in the repertoire of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, and by 1913 it had seen performances in Germany (Stuttgart), Sweden (Stockholm) and in Finland (Helsinki). It did not receive a public performance in the United Kingdom until 1962, under Bryan Fairfax. Nielsen received 5,000 marks for publishing rights (C.F. Kahnt, Leipzig), a sum significantly higher than he usually received from his publishers. It was the first of Nielsen's symphonies to be commercially released on record, with Erik Tuxen conducting the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra.


Symphony No. 5, Op. 50, FS 97 is a symphony composed by Carl Nielsen in Denmark between 1920 and 1922. It was first performed in Copenhagen on 24 January 1922 with the composer conducting. It is one of the two of Nielsen's six symphonies lacking a subtitle.

The Fifth Symphony has a non-customary structure, comprising two movements instead of the common three or four. Written in a modern musical language, it draws on the theme of contrast and opposition. The post-World War I composition is also described to contain elements of war.

A work from the early 20th century, the Fifth Symphony is regarded as a modernistic musical piece. The symphony draws on all of the "deformation procedures" suggested by James Hepokoski regarding musical modernism: breakthrough deformation, introduction-coda frame, episodes within developmental space, various strophic/sonata hybrids and multi-movement forms in a single movement. Its fragmented nature, unpredictable character and sudden synchronization at the ending also point towards a self-conscious modernist aesthetic, though as in most of Nielsen’s early and middle works, non-modernist devices, including organicism and diatonicism, play some essential roles.

As written in the original 1926 edition of the score, the Fifth Symphony is scored for 3 flutes (third doubling piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, cymbals, triangle, tambourine, snare drum, celesta, and strings. Some optional doublings are added in the 1950 edition of the score revised by Emil Telmányi and Erik Tuxen; these include the third flute doubling flute in G and the second bassoon doubling contrabassoon. These optional doublings are discarded in the latest 1998 Carl Nielsen Edition score, which was produced as a co-operation between the Danish Royal Library and Edition Wilhelm Hansen.

The Fifth Symphony has two movements instead of the usual four, which is the only time Nielsen used this structure. Nielsen explained jokingly in an interview that it was not difficult to write the first three movements of a symphony but by the finale most composers had run out of ideas. The work has a craggy profile as "it is littered with false climaxes at every turn". In summary, the first movement is a battle between the orchestra and a renegade snare-drummer, who can only be silenced by the full forces of his colleagues in the final bars. The second movement continues the struggle with shivers of anxiety, building through repetitions and detours to the final victorious grand explosion.

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]]> (bluesever) Nielsen Carl Thu, 25 Aug 2011 18:36:12 +0000
Carl Nielsen – Complete Concertos (1990) Carl Nielsen – Complete Concertos (1990)

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Violin Concerto, Op. 33
I. Praeludium: Largo - Allegro cavalleresco 18:54
II. Poco adagio 6:26 play
III. Rondo: Allegretto scherzando 10:36
Clarinet Concerto, Op. 57 24:41
Flute Concerto
I. Allegro moderato 11:06
II. Allegretto 7:14
Kim Sjogren (Violin) Toke Lund Christiansen (Flute) Niels Thomsen (Clarinet) Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra Michael Schoenwandt – conductor


Although Finland's extraordinary Jean Sibelius may be foremost among Nordic composers, his contemporary, Carl Nielsen -- best known for six highly original symphonies and simple popular songs -- holds an honored place as Denmark's foremost post-Romantic musical ambassador, and has found considerable acclaim amongst musicians and audiences alike.

A painter by profession, Nielsen's father spent as much or more energy on his secondary activities as a violinist, and it was in this way that young Carl received his first musical instruction. At 14 Carl auditioned for a position with a military wind ensemble at Odense (he was hired as a bugler, despite his lack of formal training on the instrument). During a visit to Copenhagen in 1883, Nielsen was introduced to composer Niels W. Gade, who suggested that the young musician enroll at the Conservatory for serious studies. During Nielsen's three years at the Conservatory (1884-1886) his primary subjects were violin and theory, and at no time did he actually receive formal instruction in composition. Nevertheless, in 1888 his Suite for Strings, Op.1 received a successful debut in Copenhagen.

In 1889 Nielsen was hired as a violinist at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, a position he retained until 1905 (though in 1891 he journeyed to Paris, where he met and married Danish sculptress Anne Marie Brodersen). During the 1890s Nielsen composed prolifically, and much of his output was put into print. By 1903 he had signed a contract with the Wilhelm Hansen publishing firm in Copenhagen, effectively ending his tenure with the Royal Theatre (though he would not officially resign for two more years). His career as a conductor began in 1908 when he accepted a staff position with the Royal Theatre Orchestra. From 1916 until his death in 1931 (of heart disease), he taught at the Royal Danish Conservatory.

Nielsen's music is highly individual in both content and construction, although only the symphonies and the three concertos (violin, flute, and clarinet) have earned places in the repertory outside Denmark (where many of his choral pieces have become part of the national heritage). Each of the three concertos is a worthy contribution to its instrument's literature, though perhaps the Clarinet Concerto deserves the most attention. While starting out from the perspective of Classical form and harmony, his music later developed into an "extended" tonal and even atonal language, born of his highly expressive melodic style.

Like his colleague Sibelius, Nielsen poured his finest material into the symphonic mold. From the early First Symphony of 1892 (which is one of the first such works to begin and end in different keys), to the famous Fourth Symphony ("The Inextinguishable," a reference to the enduring power of both life and music), each is a noble testament to a remarkable man's view of the world around him. ---


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]]> (bluesever) Nielsen Carl Fri, 12 Nov 2010 13:02:40 +0000
Carl Nielsen – Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2 (1991) Carl Nielsen – Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2 (1991)

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Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Op 7/FS 16
1. Allegro orgoglioso
2. Andante
3. Allegro comodo
4. Finale: Allegro con fuoco

Symphony No. 2 (”The Four Temperaments”), Op. 16 (FS29)
5. Allegro collerico
6. Allegro comodo e flemmatico		play
7. Andante malincolico
8. Allegro sanguineo - Marziale

Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Bryden Thomson – conductor


Bryden Thomson was a somewhat uneven conductor, but when he was on, he was ON. On this disk he is surely right up there with the best. I tend to have a somewhat opposite view of the two performances from the other reviewer: I like the 1st a bit more than the 2nd. But both are strong, potent performances. I agree about the quality of the difficult-to-obtain Garaguly 2nd (LP only), and I think Thomson's 2nd isn't quite there. But his 1st, well, it's as good as they get. A great value and a great introduction to Nielsen for those of you who haven't discovered this marvelous composer's music. --- Neil E. Schore,


Nielsen is perhaps most closely associated with his six symphones, which were written between 1892, when he was an aspiring young composer, and 1925, when he was already beginning to suffer from poor health. The works have much in common: they are all just over 30 minutes long, brass instruments are a key component of the orchestration, and they all exhibit unusual changes in tonality, which heightens the dramatic tension. From its opening bars, Symphony No. 1 in G minor (1890–92), while reflecting the influence of Grieg and Brahms, shows Nielsen's individuality. Surprisingly, it begins in C major and hints at what Robert Simpson calls evolving or progressive tonality or the practice of beginning a work in one key and ending in another. The composer, who was playing in the second violins at the work's premiere must have been gratified at the work's highly enthusiastic reception. From his manifestation of personal strength in the First Symphony, in the Second Nielsen embarks on the development of human character. Inspiration came from a painting in an inn depicting the four temperaments (choleric, phlegmatic, melancholic and sanguine). The first and the third movements are reminiscent of the doleful style of Mahler.

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]]> (bluesever) Nielsen Carl Mon, 22 Aug 2011 19:01:17 +0000
Carl Nielsen – Symphony No.4 & Symphony No.6 (1993) Carl Nielsen – Symphony No.4 & Symphony No.6 (1993)

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Symphony No. 4, ‘Det Uundslukkelige’, ‘The inextinguishable’, Op. 29 (FS 76)
1. I Allegro
2. II Poco allegretto				play
3. III Poco adagio quasi andante
4. IV Allegro - glorioso - Tempo giusto

Symphony No. 6, ‘Sinfonia semplice’ Op. 116 (FS 116)
5. I Tempo giusto - Allegro passionato - Lento, ma non troppo - Tempo 1 (giusto)
6. II Humoreske. Allegretto
7. III Proposta Seria. Adagio			play
8. IV Thema med Variationer. Allegro - Tema: Allegretto un poco - Variations I-IX - Fanfare

Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Bryden Thomson – conductor


Symphony No. 4 "The Inextinguishable", Op. 29, FS 76, by Danish composer Carl Nielsen, was completed in 1916. Composed against the backdrop of the First World War, this symphony is among the most dramatic that Nielsen wrote, featuring a "battle" between two sets of timpani. Danish Composer Carl Nielsen was thinking about a new symphony in 1914, and in May he wrote to his wife (who was in Celle): I have an idea for a new composition, which has no programme but will express what we understand by the spirit of life or manifestations of life, that is: everything that moves, that wants to live ... just life and motion, though varied—very varied—yet connected, and as if constantly on the move, in one big movement or stream. I must have a word or a short title to express this; that will be enough. I cannot quite explain what I want, but what I want is good.

The symphony is scored for 3 flutes (one doubling piccolo), 3 oboes, 3 clarinets, 3 bassoons (one doubling contrabassoon), 4 horns in F, 3 trumpets in C, 3 trombones, tuba, 2 sets of timpani, and strings.

The Symphony's four movements are played without breaks, this is called attacca subito. The first movement begins with a fierce tutti pitting D minor against its flat seventh, C, in an almost antiphonal manner. After the tutti, the clarinets introduce in A major the lyrical theme that will culminate the work. The second movement, for woodwind in G major, is more an intermezzo than the expected adagio. This function is fulfilled by the third movement, which opens with a cantilena from unison violins, then builds to a climax before concluding with a single oboe playing over trills in the upper strings. The clashes of the first movement reappear in the final movement, in which two sets of timpani duel from either side of the orchestra. This passage unusually calls on the two timpanists to change the pitch of the timpani while playing. At the very end E major emerges as the key to conclude the work.

The most recorded of Nielsen's symphonies, No. 4 presents some unique problems to the interpreter. In the revised version of his analysis, Robert Simpson devotes nearly a page to "features that can lead the exhibitionist conductor astray", mostly relating to matters of tempo.


Symphony No. 6 "Sinfonia semplice", (no opus number), FS 116. In August 1924 Danish composer Carl Nielsen began working on a Sixth Symphony, which turned out to be his last. By the end of October he wrote to Carl Johan Michaelsen: As far as I can see, it will on the whole be different from my other symphonies: more amiable and smooth, or how shall I put it, but it is impossible to tell as I do not know at all what currents I may run into during the voyage.

The first movement was finished at the end of November while he was in Copenhagen, and the second movement was composed during Christmas. At the end of January 1925 he traveled to the French Riviera with his wife.

While he had been in Copenhagen, Nielsen had composed the third movement, but he now had to put the symphony aside to work on a commission for incidental music to Ebbe Skammelsen, which was to be performed at the Open Air Theatre in the deer park. He completed the score immediately before his sixtieth birthday on June 9. When going to Damgaard in the middle of July, Nielsen was able to continue work on his symphony. The last movement was finally completed on December 5, 1925. The first performance was given by the Chapel Royal Orchestra on December 11. The Copenhagen reviewers were confused by the style of the new Symphony. Nielsen had called it Sinfonia semplice (Simple Symphony). Being hard to grasp, it has remained the least performed of all six symphonies.

According to Robert W. Simpson, from the second edition of his book on Nielsen, this work may be partially autobiographical; the composer had just experienced a tremendous success with his Fifth symphony, but had also suffered a series of heart attacks. He was to write several more works, but in the remaining six years of his life, the atmosphere of his works began to change.

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]]> (bluesever) Nielsen Carl Sat, 27 Aug 2011 10:23:25 +0000