Author Topic: Carl Nielsen  (Read 79737 times)

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Joe Barron

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Re: The Nielsen Nook
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2007, 03:55:13 PM »
Alex Ross ...

Ewww ... ;) And according to his blog, he's writing a book. Head for the hills.

Here's the quotation, by the way:


"If music were to assume human form and explain its essence, it may say something like this: '...I love the vast surface of silence; and it is my chief delight to break it.'" — Carl Nielsen



« Last Edit: June 15, 2007, 04:04:27 PM by Joe Barron »

Offline Raisa

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Re: The Nielsen Nook
« Reply #21 on: June 17, 2007, 05:05:28 AM »
I love the drum battle in The Inextinguishable!

Joe Barron

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Re: The Nielsen Nook
« Reply #22 on: June 25, 2007, 10:11:08 AM »
I love everything about "The Inextinguishable."

As for this recording:



I just recieved and listened to my copy, and it is everything D Minor says it is: lovely music in sparkling performances. The program is an interesting mixture of early and late works, contrasting the heroic period of Nieslen's youth with his more introspective old age, though the earliest piece on the disk, Snefrid, which dates from 1893/94, is one of the most subdued. Very little of this work resembles the music of the great middle symphonies, but it deserves to be better known.

Offline beclemund

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Re: The Nielsen Nook
« Reply #23 on: June 25, 2007, 10:24:26 AM »
If you had to pick two of your favorite performances of each of Nielsen's symphonies that are currently in print (or at least readily available), which would you choose? I do not have a single work by this composer and I would really like to explore his symphonies, at the very least.
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karlhenning

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Re: The Nielsen Nook
« Reply #24 on: June 25, 2007, 11:07:14 AM »
Isn't the indomitable snare drum in the Fifth Symphony?

Joe Barron

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Re: The Nielsen Nook
« Reply #25 on: June 25, 2007, 11:54:13 AM »
Isn't the indomitable snare drum in the Fifth Symphony?

The indomitable snare drum is indeed in the Fifth Symphony, but I think Raisa is referring to the battle of the kettle drums in the Fourth. Nielsen places two sets of timpani on opposite ends of the stage and lets them go at it in the last section.

Beclemund, there are a few truly outstanding performances of Nielsen's symphonies. Bernstein recorded excellent versions of Nos. 3 (with the Royal Danish Symphony), and 4 and 5 (with the NYPO). They are out of print, but you can probably find them used at Amazon. Jean Martinon and the Chicago Symphony also recorded the Fourth in a headlong reading that's a favorite of many here, myself included. It's been re-issued by RCA, paired with a perfromance of No. 2 with Morton Gould conducting the CSO. The disk is really worth having.

I've always been very excited by the Horenstein's rendition of the Fifth with  the New Philharmonia Orchestra, which has just been rereleased with his performance of Mahler's Ninth. 

Ole Schmidt recorded all six with the London Phil. The performances are all excellent and have been reissued in a three-disk edition. You could do worse than to start there.   
« Last Edit: June 25, 2007, 12:06:07 PM by Joe Barron »

Offline 71 dB

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Re: The Nielsen Nook
« Reply #26 on: June 25, 2007, 12:07:11 PM »
If you had to pick two of your favorite performances of each of Nielsen's symphonies that are currently in print (or at least readily available), which would you choose? I do not have a single work by this composer and I would really like to explore his symphonies, at the very least.

I am happy with all the symphonies on Naxos but that's me. Nielsen is one of the greatest symphonists and his style is very unique. 
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Offline rubio

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Re: The Nielsen Nook
« Reply #27 on: June 27, 2007, 12:35:41 AM »
I've always been very excited by the Horenstein's rendition of the Fifth with  the New Philharmonia Orchestra, which has just been rereleased with his performance of Mahler's Ninth. 

Where is this one available, and which performance is it? I've been long looking for Horensteins classic performance of the 5th once released on the Unicorn label. It was well-known for some incredible snare drum playing. Last year another performance of Horenstein's Nielsen 5th with the New Philharmonia Orchestra was released on BBC Legends coupled with a recording of his Mahler 6th. Is it this one you refer to?

Anybody know if there are differences in sound quality between the Bernstein Royal Edition and the complete set of the Nielsen symphonies on Sony Essential Classics?

 
« Last Edit: June 27, 2007, 12:54:31 AM by rubio »
“One good thing about music, when it hits- you feel no pain” Bob Marley

Choo Choo

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Re: The Nielsen Nook
« Reply #28 on: June 27, 2007, 01:22:41 AM »
Anybody know if there are differences in sound quality between the Bernstein Royal Edition and the complete set of the Nielsen symphonies on Sony Essential Classics?

I have both (got the box for the Ormandy recordings.)  I don't recall there being any noticeable difference in sound quality, but will give them another listen to make sure.

Offline rubio

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Re: The Nielsen Nook
« Reply #29 on: June 27, 2007, 08:15:05 AM »
I don't recall there being any noticeable difference in sound quality, but will give them another listen to make sure.

I look forward to hear your opinion!
“One good thing about music, when it hits- you feel no pain” Bob Marley

Joe Barron

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Re: The Nielsen Nook
« Reply #30 on: June 27, 2007, 10:13:19 AM »
Last year another performance of Horenstein's Nielsen 5th with the New Philharmonia Orchestra was released on BBC Legends coupled with a recording of his Mahler 6th. Is it this one you refer to?

Yep. That's the one I mean.

Choo Choo

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Re: The Nielsen Nook
« Reply #31 on: June 27, 2007, 11:20:35 AM »
OK.  I have done a comparison of the 4th Symphony from the two sets.

First up was a blind A/B listening comparison of the 1st movement - "blind" because I used a PC that has 2 CD drives but I don't know which drive has which letter, and I can't see the PC from my desk so wouldn't see lights flashing.  Through headphones I couldn't detect any significant difference.  I might have thought there were some very slight differences in tone at several points, but if so then these were far too small to be sure about - and certainly not enough to be able to say that one was better than the other.

Then I ripped both tracks to WAV files, using the same CD drive and identical settings, and loaded them into an editor.  Overall the shapes looked identical - although if I focussed down on small intervals then it was possible to find some small differences in the relative heights of some adjacent peaks.  To me these looked consistent with the same set of analogue tapes being processed through different generations of digital equipment.  Certainly it was not a case of one transfer being more compressed than the other (as you find sometimes when comparing the same recording on two different labels.)  We are talking fractions of a percent in the difference.

Timings for the whole 4th symphony are very close : 40'12.98" for the Royal edition, 40'09.88" for the Essential Classics - the difference easily accounted for by differences in the track gaps.

So yes, these look like they are two different transfers - and if you examine them in this sort of detail, yes you can find some very very small differences - but are these significant?  I don't think so.  Certainly not enough to justify any difference in price.

Offline rubio

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Re: The Nielsen Nook
« Reply #32 on: June 27, 2007, 11:55:37 AM »
Thank you for that thorough sound comparison of these two versions, Choo Choo! I will go for the Bernstein/Ormandy set then. I need to order while there are still some CD's left  :).
“One good thing about music, when it hits- you feel no pain” Bob Marley

Choo Choo

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Re: The Nielsen Nook
« Reply #33 on: June 27, 2007, 12:17:54 PM »
Good choice.  Though Bernstein gets the headlines, those Ormandy recordings are well worth hearing too - #6 particularly so.

Offline BachQ

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Re: Carl Nielsen
« Reply #34 on: February 08, 2008, 08:51:17 AM »
CARL NIELSEN
Piano Trio in G major; Serenata in vano; Wind Quintet; Fantasy Piece for Clarinet & Piano; Two Fantasy Pieces for Oboe & Piano; Canto Serioso; From "Moderen"
DiamantEnsemblet
Trio Ondine

Dacapo- 8.226064(CD)



This first volume in a series devoted to Nielsen's chamber music for mixed ensembles contains some late masterpieces (Serenata in vano and the Wind Quintet) as well as some music from the very beginning of his career (the Trio and Fantasy Piece for Clarinet). The Trio, about which the notes say nothing, dates from 1883, which is to say pre-Op. 1, and shows that even when Nielsen was at his most derivative his music always was melodically appealing and rhythmically exciting. The piece lasts only a bit more than 10 minutes, and its handling of form is rudimentary, but it's really very enjoyable from beginning to end. Trio Ondine plays it with the youthful energy it needs, and with the kind of direct, unaffected expression that never suggests depths that aren't there.


The remaining pieces all feature wind instruments in some combination, most notably the magnificent Wind Quintet, here beautifully performed by the DiamantEnsemblet (and particularly the excellent oboist, who doubles on English horn as well). They also clearly have a great time with the humorous Serenata in vano--but then all of this music, large and small, comes off very stylishly. The sonics are particularly good in the larger ensemble pieces, but the winds are balanced a touch too closely against the piano in the duos, with the consequent occasional prominence of clicking valves and breathing. Still, given the range of forces and the sonic challenges they present, this is a very successful and wholly entertaining release.


--David Hurwitz


uffeviking

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Re: Carl Nielsen
« Reply #35 on: February 22, 2008, 05:11:39 PM »
Alex Ross about Nielsen in this week's The New Yorker:

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/musical/2008/02/25/080225crmu_music_ross

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Carl Nielsen
« Reply #36 on: February 24, 2008, 03:23:52 AM »
Thanks, uffeviking, for that invigorating link!
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline MDL

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Re: Carl Nielsen
« Reply #37 on: February 24, 2008, 06:07:43 AM »
Ole Schmidt's symphony cycle with the London Symphony Orchestra is a bargain and includes a wrenchingly powerful performance of the Sixth. Also, look out for Herbert Blomstedt's Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra EMI twofer, which contains the concertos and a few overtures. It's a real blast of fresh air, and particularly refreshing if you've been overdoing it with Mahler, Schoenberg and R Strauss.

Offline edward

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Re: Carl Nielsen
« Reply #38 on: February 24, 2008, 08:04:42 AM »
Ole Schmidt's symphony cycle with the London Symphony Orchestra is a bargain and includes a wrenchingly powerful performance of the Sixth. Also, look out for Herbert Blomstedt's Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra EMI twofer, which contains the concertos and a few overtures. It's a real blast of fresh air, and particularly refreshing if you've been overdoing it with Mahler, Schoenberg and R Strauss.
I believe Blomstedt's EMI cycle is about to be reissued on a 3-for-1 EMI Triple. Any comments on this: judging by the concertos/overtures disc I assume the playing isn't as fine as in his later Decca cycle, but Blomstedt's Nielsen is consistently good.

I never really connected with Schmidt's cycle, and traded it away. I seem to be the odd man out here.
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Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Carl Nielsen
« Reply #39 on: February 24, 2008, 08:40:12 AM »
I never really connected with Schmidt's cycle, and traded it away. I seem to be the odd man out here.

Perhaps you are. I wonder whether it's connected with something that was discussed in another thread - that the first performance you hear of a work remains a yard-stick for the rest of your life. My first exposure to Nielsen's symphonies was through Schmidt's cycle, on LPs. And I still like his readings, for their fire and spontaneity.
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

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