Author Topic: Best side-drum solo in Nielsen's 5th symphony  (Read 6904 times)

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Offline alkan

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Best side-drum solo in Nielsen's 5th symphony
« on: October 13, 2009, 02:40:17 AM »
Here's a challenge for all Nielsen-lovers.

Which recording do you consider contains the best side-drum solo and cadenza in the first mvmt of Nielsen's 5th symphony ?

NOTE : I'm not asking which is the best overall performance .... just the side-drum battle in the first mvmt.


My favourite to date is in the Horenstein ex-Unicorn recording.    I can even remember the name of the drummer .... Alfred Dukes !   He really gives it everything in the cadenza, and is more memorable than the drummer in either the Bernstein or the Ole Schmidt versions (good as they are for the rest of the symphony).   
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Offline The new erato

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Re: Best side-drum solo in Nielsen's 5th symphony
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2009, 05:00:58 AM »
Not much of an subject for a thread since you have given the correct answer in your initial post, and BTW I agree.

Offline edward

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Re: Best side-drum solo in Nielsen's 5th symphony
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2009, 08:54:46 AM »
The question is: is that Horenstein recording available anywhere these days? Everyone speaks of it in such terms of wonder that I would love to hear it.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
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Offline The new erato

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Re: Best side-drum solo in Nielsen's 5th symphony
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2009, 09:19:19 AM »
I have it on LP and I'm not quite sure how good it is, but that sidedrum sure takes a beating.

Offline Brewski

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Re: Best side-drum solo in Nielsen's 5th symphony
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2009, 10:16:25 AM »
The Horenstein (on LP) was my introduction to the piece, and even though I hadn't heard any other versions, it seemed like the drummer was really going wild.

The one I've heard most often since is Blomstedt's, and although I like it a lot, I don't recall the drum solo being quite as "out there" as the one on Horenstein's recording.

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Offline alkan

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Re: Best side-drum solo in Nielsen's 5th symphony
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2009, 06:17:19 AM »
I tried to track down a CD of the Horenstein New Philharmonia 5th Symphony.     There seems to be a version on "BBC Legends" which is coupled with Mahler's 6th and a Rossini overture.    It's available on Amazon.       Can anyone confirm that this is the classic version that corresponds to the original Unicorn vinyl release (also contain Saga Drom)?

Apart from the snare drum in the 1st movement, there is an amazing part for the trumpet at the end of the second movement.   As the symphony moves towards its apotheosis, following a stormy passage for the cellos and basses, there is a solo trumpet that oscillates between the same two notes for bar after bar after bar after bar, before being joined by the other brass in a final fanfare.    The best version to hear this is Ole Schmidt's and in some other versions it does not come through very well.       I first saw this at a concert (Ole Schmidt conducting!) and the poor trumpeter was going redder and redder, but he did a great job.
The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity.
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Offline edward

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Re: Best side-drum solo in Nielsen's 5th symphony
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2009, 08:55:51 AM »
I tried to track down a CD of the Horenstein New Philharmonia 5th Symphony.     There seems to be a version on "BBC Legends" which is coupled with Mahler's 6th and a Rossini overture.    It's available on Amazon.       Can anyone confirm that this is the classic version that corresponds to the original Unicorn vinyl release (also contain Saga Drom)?
It isn't; it's a live recording from two years later. :(
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Best side-drum solo in Nielsen's 5th symphony
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2009, 01:21:21 AM »
I have many versions of Nielsen's 5th. Also for me the manic side-drummer in Horenstein's Unicorn CD (not the one on BBC Legends) is the best of all. The recording of the drummer is quite close up in the Unicorn, which adds to the impact.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline The new erato

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Re: Best side-drum solo in Nielsen's 5th symphony
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2009, 01:38:20 AM »
I have many versions of Nielsen's 5th. Also for me the manic side-drummer in Horenstein's Unicorn CD (not the one on BBC Legends) is the best of all. The recording of the drummer is quite close up in the Unicorn, which adds to the impact.
It's not a very balanced recording, and I don't think I in general like it very much (haven't heard it in a long time though) - but the sidedrummer is the Keith Moon (or should that be John Bonham?) of recordings of this work.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Best side-drum solo in Nielsen's 5th symphony
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2009, 02:14:47 AM »
It's not a very balanced recording, and I don't think I in general like it very much (haven't heard it in a long time though) - but the sidedrummer is the Keith Moon (or should that be John Bonham?) of recordings of this work.

Mike Shrieve I think  :)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline jochanaan

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Re: Best side-drum solo in Nielsen's 5th symphony
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2009, 04:20:24 PM »
I have what is probably the same Horenstein/New Philharmonia recording on a Nonesuch LP '70s reissue.  Yeah, Mr. Dukes gives it all he's got!  And Horenstein is one of my favorite unknown conductors.  My copy also gives solo credits to clarinetist John McCaw, probably for some spectacular runs in the Presto. :D  If only the recorded sound was better! :-\
Imagination + discipline = creativity

Offline alkan

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Re: Best side-drum solo in Nielsen's 5th symphony
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2009, 02:25:28 AM »
Thanks to everyone for their replies.     It seems that from the snare-drum point of view, Horenstein has never been bettered.   

I'd like to throw out a personal comment to see what others think.     

I've always felt a little frustrated by the way that Neilsen wrote the snare-drum part at the climax.      I have always felt that he stopped the free cadenza too soon.      As the huge theme rises up, the snare-drum subsides into a simple roll, a little too meekly for my taste.     I would really love it to be continue fanatically a few moments more so as to be eventually swallowed up, going down with all guns blazing, still fighting like crazy.       After all that has gone before, the side-drum almost seems to give up and shut up, rather than continue to total annihilation ...

Well, if I had the skill to play the side-drum, and the opportunity to perform in Neilsen's 5th, I would ignore the score and keep on going until the conductor shoots me !
The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity.
Harlan Ellison (1934 - )

Offline jochanaan

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Re: Best side-drum solo in Nielsen's 5th symphony
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2009, 07:47:50 AM »
...I've always felt a little frustrated by the way that Neilsen wrote the snare-drum part at the climax.      I have always felt that he stopped the free cadenza too soon.      As the huge theme rises up, the snare-drum subsides into a simple roll, a little too meekly for my taste.     I would really love it to be continue fanatically a few moments more so as to be eventually swallowed up, going down with all guns blazing, still fighting like crazy.       After all that has gone before, the side-drum almost seems to give up and shut up, rather than continue to total annihilation ...

Well, if I had the skill to play the side-drum, and the opportunity to perform in Neilsen's 5th, I would ignore the score and keep on going until the conductor shoots me !
I've only had one glimpse at the score, but if I recall correctly, Nielsen instructs the drummer to ignore what the conductor is doing and play at his own tempo. 8) He probably got the idea from Mahler. ;D
Imagination + discipline = creativity

karlhenning

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Re: Best side-drum solo in Nielsen's 5th symphony
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2009, 09:16:04 AM »
Or from Thoreau.

Offline alkan

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Re: Best side-drum solo in Nielsen's 5th symphony
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2009, 12:50:34 AM »
Jochanaan,    my understanding is that during the cadenza at the climax of the first movement, the drummer is given complete freedom to improvise "so as to stop the flow of the music" (or something similar).    It's an entirely destructive role and an incredible idea.   
But, IMHO, Neilsen brings the cadenza to a close (with a drumroll) a little too soon.         However, considering that the sidedrum returns (in the distance) during the post-apocalyptic coda, I guess that it's logical that it was not annihilated in the earlier climax.   

The 5th is an amazing symphony, and is one of those works that gains tremendously by experiencing it in a live concert.     It's a pity that it is not played so often .....   
The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity.
Harlan Ellison (1934 - )

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: Best side-drum solo in Nielsen's 5th symphony
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2009, 03:58:03 AM »
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Best side-drum solo in Nielsen's 5th symphony
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2009, 06:25:00 AM »
I've only had one glimpse at the score, but if I recall correctly, Nielsen instructs the drummer to ignore what the conductor is doing and play at his own tempo. 8) He probably got the idea from Mahler. ;D
Where did you see that from Mahler? That would be completely uncharacteristic of Mahler, who usually micromanages every bar of his music. The only place I can think of is in the first movment of the third symphony where the piccolo interjections have the marking "without regards to tempo".

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Best side-drum solo in Nielsen's 5th symphony
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2009, 07:46:09 AM »
My brother saw the snare drum player burst into tears for being unable to stop the rest of the orchestra playing (Cambridge University Orchestra) many years ago.

Another manic snare-drummer is Tom Nybe on the recording with Michael Schonwandt with the Danish NRSO on dacapo (I think that this has just been issued on Naxos).

ps (added later) - here it is:
« Last Edit: October 23, 2009, 07:52:18 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline jochanaan

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Re: Best side-drum solo in Nielsen's 5th symphony
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2009, 06:19:27 PM »
Where did you see that from Mahler? That would be completely uncharacteristic of Mahler, who usually micromanages every bar of his music. The only place I can think of is in the first movment of the third symphony where the piccolo interjections have the marking "without regards to tempo".
Once in the First the clarinet finishes its cuckoo calls in the tempo it was playing in (faster) while the cellos and basses change to a slow tempo.  In the Fourth's opening, the sleigh-bell player is directed to keep the tempo moderately fast while the rest of the orchestra slows down.  And in the Seventh's first movement and a couple of times in the Eighth, he gives the violin section an accelerando and fermata while the rest of the orchestra plays in tempo.  Yes, Mahler micromanages every bar--and every player's part. ;D (But few conductors are courageous enough to have the orchestra play those passages as directed, preferring to "play it safe" and keep the vertical alignment. :-\)
Imagination + discipline = creativity

Offline The new erato

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Re: Best side-drum solo in Nielsen's 5th symphony
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2009, 12:45:09 AM »
My brother saw the snare drum player burst into tears for being unable to stop the rest of the orchestra playing (Cambridge University Orchestra) many years ago.

Another manic snare-drummer is Tom Nybe on the recording with Michael Schonwandt with the Danish NRSO on dacapo (I think that this has just been issued on Naxos).

ps (added later) - here it is:
I do like the Sch√łnwandt cycle a lot and has added it to the Blomstedt/SFOcycle as my complete cycle mainstays on CD. I have lots of single discs though, mostly on LP, Bernstein, Horenstein, Schmidt...., but the CDs are whats usually played (call me lazy).
« Last Edit: October 26, 2009, 04:26:33 AM by erato »

 

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