GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: BachQ on April 12, 2007, 09:10:00 AM

Title: Carl Nielsen
Post by: BachQ on April 12, 2007, 09:10:00 AM


Danish composer Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) is perhaps best known for his cycle of six symphonies; other well-known compositions include his incidental music for Aladdin, the operas Saul og David and Maskarade, the concerti for flute, violin and for clarinet, the wind quintet, and the Helios Overture.  My favorite works are his 4th Symphony in d minor and his Helios Overture.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/93/Carl-Nielsen.jpg/330px-Carl-Nielsen.jpg)

Links:

 CLICK: This is a web adaptation of a travelling exhibition originally produced  by Danish Music Information Centre   (http://www.kunststyrelsen.dk/nielsen/index.htm)

 CLICK: Chronology Work Catalog  (http://members.aol.com/dmlovelock/nielsen_fog.htm)
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: BachQ on April 12, 2007, 09:11:53 AM
Here’s what Dave (MaestroDJS) has to say:


*** In August 1977 Rose Records in Chicago promoted a special offer on the Seraphim LP sets of the complete symphonies and concerti by the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra with Herbert Blomstedt.  *** Each of the 6 symphonies and the 3 concerti had a very different personality, but all bore the stamp of a very individual and striking composer. Blomstedt included several other short orchestral works in his set, most importantly the utterly magnificent and radiantly arch-like Helios Overture, which Nielsen composed while on holiday in Athens, Greece in 1903.  Nielsen wrote of this score: "Silence and darkness -- then the Sun rises with a joyous song of praise -- it wanders its golden way -- and sinks quietly into the sea."

Some facets of the 6 symphonies which immediately impressed themselves on my mind were:

Symphony No. 1 in G Minor (1892):  The surprising C Major chord which begins the work but is immediately pushed aside by the G Minor tonality.  Brahms praised this work.

Symphony No. 2 "The 4 Temperaments" (1902):  The sheer brute strength of the entire first movement.  The choleric temperament roars with rage but also shows streaks of tenderness.  The symphony derives its subtitle from a series of portraits Nielsen had seen in a pub in Zeeland, and he dedicated this work to Ferruccio Busoni.

Symphony No. 3 "Sinfonia espansiva" (1911):  The energetic minor tonality of the first movement which suddenly gives way to major key final chords; then the hauntingly glowing and hazily shifting tonalities of the slow movement.

Symphony No. 4 "The Inextinguishable" (1916):  The relentless forward momentum of the entire work which never stops, even in the slow movements.  The dueling pairs of timpani in the finale are unforgettable and lead to a rousing conclusion.

Symphony No. 5 (1922):  The gentle 2-note viola ostinato upon which the music raises its musical arguments.

Symphony No. 6 "Sinfonia semplice" (1925):  The almost comic simplicity which begins the work but which evolves into some of the most heart-rending tragedy in music.  In few other pieces of music are high comedy and bleak tragedy so intimately interwoven.

Incidentally, in the late 1970s one of the biggest rock hits was We Will Rock You by Queen.  It often blasted forth from dorms, frat houses and apartments around the university.  Boom-boom-clap!  Boom-boom-clap!  Well, those drums were insignificant compared to the cataclysmic pairs of timpani in the finale of Nielsen's Symphony No. 4.  With my stereo cranked up to eleven, it was well and truly The Inextinguishable.  We are the champions, my friends.

Recently I wrote about the underrated Jean Martinon, who made some outstanding recordings during his tenure as conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1963 to 1968.  At that time, Morton Gould also made some superb recordings as guest conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, most notably of music by Charles Ives.  In 1966 Gould also recorded Nielsen's Symphony No. 2 "The 4 Temperaments" and Clarinet Concerto with soloist Benny Goodman.  Gould was primarily a composer, so it was a pleasant surprise to encounter him in Nielsen.  The symphony is given an exciting performance.  Goodman is best remembered as a jazz performer, but he recorded many classical clarinet works throughout his career, such as Mozart, Weber, Bartók, Stravinsky, Copland etc.  His versatility is outstanding in the Nielsen concerto.  A few years ago I found this vintage LP at 2nd-Hand Tunes on Clark Street in Chicago, along with Gould's Ives recordings.  Also in 1966, Jean Martinon recorded Symphony No. 4 "The Inextinguishable" and Helios Overture with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, but I have not heard these performances.

Carl Nielsen is unquestionably and inextinguishably one of the peaks of my record collection.  I also owe to him most of the few Danish words I have learnt along the way, taken from his titles: "Ved en ung Kunstners Baare" (At the Bier of a Young Artist), "En Fantasirejse til Færøerne" (An Imaginary Trip to the Faroe Islands), and above all "Det Uudslukkelige" (The Inextinguishable).  These phrases will probably not prove useful on a visit to Denmark, but you never know.  To quote Nielsen himself: "Musik er Liv, som dette uudslukkelig." ("Music is life, and, like it, inextinguishable.")

Dave

Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: springrite on April 12, 2007, 09:13:23 AM
It is amazing how many composers in the 20th century, especially symphonists, are influenced by Nielsen. He is perhaps the most Beethovenian of later symphonist, and thus serve as a more ideal model than the more distant Beethoven, I guess.

My favorite Nielsen work is the wind quintet.
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: BachQ on April 12, 2007, 09:16:41 AM
Nielsen’s Boyhood Home

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/95/Denmark-Carl_Nielsen%27s_Childhood_Home.JPG/800px-Denmark-Carl_Nielsen%27s_Childhood_Home.JPG)

(http://www.kunststyrelsen.dk/nielsen/203.gif)
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: karlhenning on April 12, 2007, 09:18:22 AM
I love Funen in the springtime . . . .
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: springrite on April 12, 2007, 09:19:33 AM
If you think about it, Nielsen and his home actually look quite alike.
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: BachQ on May 17, 2007, 03:14:03 AM
Recently released:  (http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/full/210/2100992.jpg)

Nielsen, Chamber Works for Violin and Strings
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1444   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Carl Nielsen
Performer:  Maria Asteriadou,  Georgios Demertzis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Hellenic Quartet
Recorded in: Stereo
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins.


1.    Sonata for Violin and Piano in G, FS3b by Carl Nielsen
   Performer:  Maria Asteriadou (Piano), Georgios Demertzis (Violin) Written: 1881-2        
   
   
2.    Duet in A, FS3e by Carl Nielsen    
   Performer:  Georgios Demertzis (Violin) Written: 1882-3           
   
   
3.    Romance in D by Carl Nielsen    
   Performer:  Maria Asteriadou (Piano), Georgios Demertzis (Violin) Written: 1883           
   
   
4.    String Quartet in D minor, FS3d by Carl Nielsen    
   Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Hellenic Quartet Written: 1882-3           
   
   
5.    String Quartet in F, FS3k by Carl Nielsen    
   Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Hellenic Quartet Written: 1887           
   
   
6.    Andante Sostenuto, FS3c by Carl Nielsen    
   Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Hellenic Quartet Written: c1883-7           
   
   
7.    Scherzo, FS3c by Carl Nielsen    
   Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Hellenic Quartet Written: c1883-7           
   
   
8.    Romance, Op 2 by Carl Nielsen    
   Performer:  Maria Asteriadou (Piano), Georgios Demertzis (Violin) Written: 1889          

Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: karlhenning on May 17, 2007, 03:18:30 AM
That looks yummy!
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: BachQ on May 17, 2007, 03:20:16 AM
That looks yummy!

My eyes are on the String Quartet in D Minor . . . . . .  :D
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: BachQ on May 17, 2007, 03:20:44 AM
Also recently released:  (http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/full/97/972139.jpg)

Nielsen: Orchestral Music / Dausgaard, Danish National So
Label:  Dacapo   Catalog #: 6220518   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Carl Nielsen
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1
Recorded in: Multi
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins.


1.    Maskarade, FS 39: Overture by Carl Nielsen
   Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra Written: 1906        
   
   
2.    Maskarade, FS 39: Dance of the Cockerels by Carl Nielsen    
   Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra Period: 20th Century Written: 1904-1906; Denmark           
   
   
3.    Snefrid, FS 17: Suite by Carl Nielsen    
   Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra Period: 20th Century Written: 1893; Denmark           
   
   
4.    An imaginary trip to the Faeroe Islands, FS 123 by Carl Nielsen    
   Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra Period: 20th Century Written: 1927; Denmark           
   
   
5.    Pan and Syrinx, Op. 49 by Carl Nielsen    
   Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra Period: 20th Century Written: 1917-1918; Denmark           
   
   
6.    Amor og Digteren, FS 150/Op. 54: Overture by Carl Nielsen    
   Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra Period: 20th Century Written: 1930; Denmark           
   
   
7.    Helios Overture, FS 32/Op. 17 by Carl Nielsen    
   Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra Period: 20th Century Written: 1903; Denmark          

Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: BachQ on May 17, 2007, 03:22:45 AM
Talk about a slam-dunk! This is without doubt the finest collection of Nielsen's short orchestral works currently available. It is perfectly played, brilliantly conducted, and superbly recorded in stereo and SACD formats. You won't hear a more ebullient performance of the Maskerade Overture anywhere. Thomas Dausgaard keeps the tension mounting right through the quiet central episode, and the coda is beyond exciting. The manic eruptions in both An Imaginary Journey to the Faroe Islands and Pan and Syrinx rage with uninhibited impact, but the poetry in the soft passages isn't ever slighted, particularly in the latter. The Prelude to Act 2 of Saul and David sounds suitably imposing, while a rousing, joyous account of the Helios Overture closes the program in the most satisfying and contented fashion imaginable.

What makes this disc even more satisfying is the presence of some very rare examples of Nielsen's extensive output of incidental music. Usually we only get to hear Aladdin, or very occasionally the overture to Love and the Poet (but not as well played as here). Willemoes is only a charming couple of minutes long, but the Snefrid Suite and the Hr. Oluf Hand Rider Prelude are more substantial. The former dates from the period of the First Symphony (early 1890s) and finds the composer discovering his personal voice, particularly in terms of harmony. The latter dates from the same period as Maskerade (around 1906), and it's a fully characteristic gem. In all of this music the playing of the orchestra reveals proprietary pride without a trace of complacency or routine. Everything sounds fresh and new, and if you don't love this disc, then--well, never mind. It's just plain irresistible. Might there be a sequel in the offing, with Aladdin, Saga-Drom, and the remaining shorter orchestral works? We can only hope.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: Hector on May 17, 2007, 05:25:55 AM
Talk about a slam-dunk! This is without doubt the finest collection of Nielsen's short orchestral works currently available. It is perfectly played, brilliantly conducted, and superbly recorded in stereo and SACD formats. You won't hear a more ebullient performance of the Maskerade Overture anywhere. Thomas Dausgaard keeps the tension mounting right through the quiet central episode, and the coda is beyond exciting. The manic eruptions in both An Imaginary Journey to the Faroe Islands and Pan and Syrinx rage with uninhibited impact, but the poetry in the soft passages isn't ever slighted, particularly in the latter. The Prelude to Act 2 of Saul and David sounds suitably imposing, while a rousing, joyous account of the Helios Overture closes the program in the most satisfying and contented fashion imaginable.

What makes this disc even more satisfying is the presence of some very rare examples of Nielsen's extensive output of incidental music. Usually we only get to hear Aladdin, or very occasionally the overture to Love and the Poet (but not as well played as here). Willemoes is only a charming couple of minutes long, but the Snefrid Suite and the Hr. Oluf Hand Rider Prelude are more substantial. The former dates from the period of the First Symphony (early 1890s) and finds the composer discovering his personal voice, particularly in terms of harmony. The latter dates from the same period as Maskerade (around 1906), and it's a fully characteristic gem. In all of this music the playing of the orchestra reveals proprietary pride without a trace of complacency or routine. Everything sounds fresh and new, and if you don't love this disc, then--well, never mind. It's just plain irresistible. Might there be a sequel in the offing, with Aladdin, Saga-Drom, and the remaining shorter orchestral works? We can only hope.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com


He's right, for once. I bought this last month and can testify to its excellence.

Music new to disc given splendid performances by the composer's countrymen.

'Helios' never fails with me, anyway!
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: BachQ on June 09, 2007, 03:01:29 AM
'Helios' never fails with me, anyway!

Very true!
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: BachQ on June 09, 2007, 03:02:24 AM
Carl August Nielsen (June 9, 1865 – October 3, 1931)  Happy Birthday, Old Chum
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: Christo on June 10, 2007, 04:41:38 AM
If you think about it, Nielsen and his home actually look quite alike.
(http://www.visitfyn.com/modules/xphoto/cache/5/3105_472_800.png)
(http://www.classical.net/music/images/composer/n/nielsen.jpg)(http://www.visitcopenhagen.com/tourist/about_copenhagen/history/great_danes_-_past/media(356,1033)/Carl_Nielsen_sort_%2Fhvid_foto.jpg)(http://www.eclassical.com/i/pictures/Composers/Nielsen.jpg)
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: Joe Barron on June 10, 2007, 07:12:27 AM
Last night, in observance of Nielsen's 142nd birthday, I listened to the complete Maskerade. A delightful piece. Not nearly as powerful as his later symphonies, but full of charm and light comedy. (It dates from 1905, just after the Second Symphony.) From the liner notes, I learn that it was a huge popular success and quickly became Denmark's national opera, in part for the things it had to say --- palatably, of course --- about equality and freedom. The story brings Denmark, symbolically,  from the middle ages into the modern world. And Danish is such a lovely language for singing.

I don't know if the piece has vever been produced in the US. I once tries to interest the OPera COmany of Philadlpehia in it, but I don't think I got through.
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: vandermolen on June 12, 2007, 04:25:08 AM
A great composer: I love Symphony 5  (espec. recordings by Tuxen, Jensen, Horenstein, Bernstein, Gibson and Kubelik).
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: karlhenning on June 12, 2007, 04:31:49 AM
Last night, in observance of Nielsen's 142nd birthday, I listened to the complete Maskerade. A delightful piece. Not nearly as powerful as his later symphonies, but full of charm and light comedy.

(* Beats the Maskarade drum *)
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: Brewski on June 15, 2007, 10:27:28 AM
Today on his blog, Alex Ross has an absolutely wonderful Nielsen quote (http://www.therestisnoise.com/2007/06/living_music.html).

--Bruce
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: karlhenning on June 15, 2007, 10:42:28 AM
Bruce!

:-)
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: Joe Barron on June 15, 2007, 02:55:13 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



Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: Raisa on June 17, 2007, 04:05:28 AM
I love the drum battle in The Inextinguishable!
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: Joe Barron on June 25, 2007, 09:11:08 AM
I love everything about "The Inextinguishable."

As for this recording:

(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/full/97/972139.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: beclemund on June 25, 2007, 09:24:26 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.
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: karlhenning on June 25, 2007, 10:07:14 AM
Isn't the indomitable snare drum in the Fifth Symphony?
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: Joe Barron on June 25, 2007, 10:54:13 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.   
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: 71 dB on June 25, 2007, 11:07:11 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.

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. 
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: rubio on June 26, 2007, 11:35:41 PM
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?

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/4158P6ZS30L._AA240_.jpg)  (http://img.hmv.co.jp/image/jacket/190/01/9/9/228.jpg)
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: Choo Choo on June 27, 2007, 12:22:41 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.
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: rubio on June 27, 2007, 07:15:05 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!
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: Joe Barron on June 27, 2007, 09:13:19 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.
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: Choo Choo on June 27, 2007, 10:20:35 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.
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: rubio on June 27, 2007, 10:55:37 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  :).
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: Choo Choo on June 27, 2007, 11:17:54 AM
Good choice.  Though Bernstein gets the headlines, those Ormandy recordings are well worth hearing too - #6 particularly so.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: BachQ 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)

(http://www.classicstoday.com/images/coverpics/11482_coverpic.jpg)

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
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: uffeviking 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
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 24, 2008, 03:23:52 AM
Thanks, uffeviking, for that invigorating link!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: MDL 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.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: edward 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.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg 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.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: MDL on February 24, 2008, 04:02:59 PM
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.

Blomstedt's SFSO Decca recordings of the symphonies were my introduction to Nielsen, and they'd probably be my desert island choice. But there's a gruff, unvarnished intensity to Schmidt's cycle that I respond to. As I said earlier, his Sixth is quite special.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on February 24, 2008, 04:48:18 PM
Finally, something I agree with Alex Ross about!

I like the Schmidt cycle, too. ;)
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: Hector on February 25, 2008, 07:41:09 AM
I love everything about "The Inextinguishable."

As for this recording:

(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/full/97/972139.jpg)

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.

For those reasons, clearly, one of the discs of the year but it never got a look-in anywhere!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: BachQ on May 17, 2008, 07:11:13 AM
(http://www.classicstoday.com/images/coverpics/11677_coverpic.jpg)

CARL NIELSEN
Symphony No. 1; Symphony No. 6 "Sinfonia semplice"
Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra

Michael Schonwandt

Naxos- 8.570737(CD)

(http://www.classicstoday.com/images/sp_art/p10s10.gif)



"Originally released on Dacapo, this was the final installment of Michael Schonwandt's excellent complete Nielsen cycle (reviewed by colleague David Hurwitz, type Q2744 in Search Reviews). The performances are outstanding for their vibrancy and warmth--qualities you would expect in No. 1, but are equally present in the somewhat more acerbic No. 6. True, there's more virtuoso orchestral playing (particularly in No. 6's finale) to be heard from the San Francisco Symphony under a more driven Herbert Blomstedt, but the Danish National Radio Symphony players provide an unforced naturalness that is quite ingratiating. The recording itself has similar qualities--the orchestra placed comfortably in a spacious acoustic with wide dynamic range. These are just the sorts of performances that debunk the notion, most recently voiced by the New York Times, that "Nielsen is a nice composer: a little north of good, considerably south of great". An important release, made even more attractive by the Naxos price." [5/13/2008]

--Victor Carr Jr
(http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=11677)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: The new erato on May 17, 2008, 07:17:22 AM
Very fine disc, as I've noted in another thread, and now Naxos have announced nr symphony 2/3 released on the next disc in the series.

Another two brand new releases of potential interest are:

(https://secure.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/8226065.jpg)

Chamber Music Vol. 2

The Violin Sonatas and works for Solo Violin

Sonata No. 1 for violin and piano, Op. 9 in A major (1895)
Sonata No. 2 for violin and piano, Op. 35 (1912)
Prelude, Theme and Variations, Op. 48 for solo violin (1923)
Preludio e Presto, op. 52 for solo violin (1928)

and

(https://secure.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/CDA67591-2.jpg)

Looks like a tough month for Nielsen-lovers!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: BachQ on May 26, 2008, 04:59:04 PM
Thanks, erato!

(http://www.classicstoday.com/images/coverpics/1915_coverpic.jpg)

CARL NIELSEN
Symphonies Nos. 4 "The Inextinguishable" & 5
Danish National Radio Symphony

Michael Schonwandt

Dacapo- 8224156(CD)
Reference Recording - This One; Bernstein/Sony (Symphony No. 5); Gibson/Chandos (Symphony No. 4)

(http://www.classicstoday.com/images/sp_art/p10s10.gif)

Carl Nielsen's last three symphonies operate on many levels, and perhaps this is why they have proven to be so elusive on disc. Many a great conductor has crashed on the Inextinguishable's treacherous rocks, missing the music's vital current and getting bogged in down in leaden tempos. Leonard Bernstein made the mistake of reading an unnecessary melancholy into Nielsen's soaring melodies, while Herbert von Karajan seems to have been the victim of a cruel hoax--someone replaced the title page of his score with the name "Bruckner". Truly successful performances have been few. Among these are Jean Martinon's galvanizing rendition with the Chicago Symphony and Paavo Berglund's with the Royal Danish Orchestra, both on RCA, and Alexander Gibson's dynamic, superbly recorded account on Chandos with the Scottish National Orchestra.

This new recording on Dacapo by Michael Schonwandt and the Danish National Radio Symphony now joins this exclusive club. Schonwandt's winning interpretation reflects a profound identification with Nielsen's idiom, and under his baton the music issues forth as naturally as breathing
In sum, these performances stand as the best modern recordings of these symphonies available, and
Dacapo's engineers capture them in a wonderfully realistic and natural acoustic.

[7/25/2000] --Victor Carr
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Brian on May 26, 2008, 06:17:52 PM
Very fine disc, as I've noted in another thread, and now Naxos have announced nr symphony 2/3 released on the next disc in the series.
Yep, they're re-releasing the Da Capo series featuring the Danish Radio orchestra and Michael Schonwandt. Next month comes the volume you mention, so I'm assuming the third and final CD will be out in July.  :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 12tone. on May 27, 2008, 03:50:43 PM
Yep, they're re-releasing the Da Capo series featuring the Danish Radio orchestra and Michael Schonwandt. Next month comes the volume you mention, so I'm assuming the third and final CD will be out in July.  :)

So the Da Capo series cycle and and standard Naxos series cycle will be out? 
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Brian on May 27, 2008, 04:00:26 PM
So the Da Capo series cycle and and standard Naxos series cycle will be out? 
Naxos has a series with another orchestra and conductor (Arthur Fagen?) which will be out, and in addition the Michael Schonwandt cycle will be available on both Da Capo and Naxos (same performances).  :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on June 09, 2008, 08:11:54 AM
Just a reminder:

Today, June 9, 2008, is Carl Nielsen's 143rd birthday. Celebrate by listening to something of his. I recently a acquired a very fine recording of the Wind Quintet perfromaned by the Philadelphia Wind Quintet, and this mroning i listend to Martinon wonderful performance of the Inextinguishable in my car on the way to work. I've also acquired the Blomstedt-SPO version of teh symphonies, and as good as they are, I'm looking forward to getting the complete Schonwandt set on Naxos.

Temperature in Philadelphia today is 98---or 34 C, and my living room, where the stero is, is not air conditoned. I doubt I'll be listening to much this evening.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on June 09, 2008, 08:20:28 AM
Today, June 9, 2008, is Carl Nielsen's 143rd birthday.

O frabjous day!

Quote from: Joe
. . . my living room, where the stero is, is not air conditoned. I doubt I'll be listening to much this evening.

Oof: the unliveable living room . . . .
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 09, 2008, 08:23:57 AM
Just a reminder:

Today, June 9, 2008, is Carl Nielsen's 143rd birthday.

AND that of Albéric Magnard, who sometimes, in passing, manages to sound like Nielsen without having ever heard a note of him...
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Est.1965 on June 09, 2008, 08:35:22 AM
Quote from: Joe
. . . my living room, where the stero is, is not air conditoned. I doubt I'll be listening to much this evening.

Aye Joe, open the windows, turn on the fan, and turn up Nielsens Fourth and let it blast some.  You will feel much cooler. ;)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on June 09, 2008, 11:57:06 AM
The recording itself has similar qualities--the orchestra placed comfortably in a spacious acoustic with wide dynamic range. These are just the sorts of performances that debunk the notion, most recently voiced by the New York Times, that "Nielsen is a nice composer: a little north of good, considerably south of great".

That quotation comes from the word processor of Bernard Holland. Couldn't you tell? He should have been able to recognize south of great, since he spent so much time there himself.  Just one in a long list of questionable judgments.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Est.1965 on June 09, 2008, 02:00:30 PM
I notice no-one has posted on Neeme Jarvi's set with the GSO. Like everyone else, I did a bit of comparing with Schmidt (my way, by ripping to wav and analysng the forms in a multi-track sequencer), listening to the differences between the two, what was what in each recording, where and why.  Yes, I agree that Ole Schmidts take on the Symphonies is quite raw and powerful in all the right places, but Jarvi has brought something more; the contrasts between woodwind and strings are more pronounced, the quality of recording is better (obviously), and there is a feeling of both power and distance in Jarvi's all encompassing take on the fourth in which one is literally swept along.  But then, Schmidts first is free of Orchestral tricks, does exactly what it says on the tin, is clear and direct and wins over Jarvi through sheer force - although the same cannot be said of the second...
Overall, I have three Nielsen sets, Schmidt, Jarvi and...er...oh hell, I forgot, I'll come back and edit...and my favourite for gutsy Nielsen expression with superb playing is the Jarvi set.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on June 09, 2008, 11:06:40 PM
I think the Nielsen Symphony cycle I have (Adrian Leaper) is the only one that is NEVER talked about. Am I the only one who has heard it or is it just so forgettable? I like the performances but I haven't heard others. I really like the J. F. Willumsen paintings in the cover of the Naxos cycle and I am disappointed to see Willumsen's art is not used in the Schonwandt cycle (Dacapo cycle has horrible cover art).
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Henk on July 10, 2008, 03:04:10 PM
I notice no-one has posted on Neeme Jarvi's set with the GSO. Like everyone else, I did a bit of comparing with Schmidt (my way, by ripping to wav and analysng the forms in a multi-track sequencer), listening to the differences between the two, what was what in each recording, where and why.  Yes, I agree that Ole Schmidts take on the Symphonies is quite raw and powerful in all the right places, but Jarvi has brought something more; the contrasts between woodwind and strings are more pronounced, the quality of recording is better (obviously), and there is a feeling of both power and distance in Jarvi's all encompassing take on the fourth in which one is literally swept along.  But then, Schmidts first is free of Orchestral tricks, does exactly what it says on the tin, is clear and direct and wins over Jarvi through sheer force - although the same cannot be said of the second...
Overall, I have three Nielsen sets, Schmidt, Jarvi and...er...oh hell, I forgot, I'll come back and edit...and my favourite for gutsy Nielsen expression with superb playing is the Jarvi set.


After listening to S. 3 I want more Nielsen. This looks an interesting set (the Schmidt isn't available anymore). I also am curious about his piano music, but the recordings on Naxos are not on the market anymore..

Henk
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: edward on July 10, 2008, 03:19:27 PM
After listening to S. 3 I want more Nielsen. This looks an interesting set (the Schmidt isn't available anymore). I also am curious about his piano music, but the recordings on Naxos are not on the market anymore..

Henk
The Naxos recordings of the piano music are very ordinary, to be honest--once you hear Andsnes (confession, I don't know how the various Danish recordings compare, though) I doubt you would want to go back to Sievewright's routine playing.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Henk on July 10, 2008, 03:28:42 PM
The Naxos recordings of the piano music are very ordinary, to be honest--once you hear Andsnes (confession, I don't know how the various Danish recordings compare, though) I doubt you would want to go back to Sievewright's routine playing.

Are you referring to a particular recording of Andsnes?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Dundonnell on July 10, 2008, 03:29:56 PM
I remember back in the early 1960s when Nielsen was hardly ever played in Britain reading Robert Simpson's book on the composer and then buying LPs of the 2nd and 5th Symphonies conducted by Thomas Jensen and the 4th by Launy Grondahl. There are those old Nielsen afficianados who will tell you that these early recordings have never been surpassed! I still have the LPs in my collection. There is an authenticity and sheer burning intensity which is quite remarkable!

I also recall as a schoolboy having long arguments with friends about which was the greater composer-Sibelius or Nielsen :)
Wouldn't get into that sort of argument today :)

Two of my favourite short Nielsen compositions are the marvellous Overture "Helios" and-an especial favourite-the Rhapsody Overture "An Imaginary Journey to the Faeroe Islands". Both are magical pieces!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: edward on July 10, 2008, 03:35:37 PM
Are you referring to a particular recording of Andsnes?
As far as I'm aware, he's only made one recording of Nielsen's piano music:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31p0RMemNaL._SS400_.jpg)

It's oop now, but has been released a few times (including on the new EMI big Nielsen box) so shouldn't be too hard to find.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 10, 2008, 10:50:32 PM
I remember back in the early 1960s when Nielsen was hardly ever played in Britain reading Robert Simpson's book on the composer and then buying LPs of the 2nd and 5th Symphonies conducted by Thomas Jensen and the 4th by Launy Grondahl. There are those old Nielsen afficianados who will tell you that these early recordings have never been surpassed! I still have the LPs in my collection. There is an authenticity and sheer burning intensity which is quite remarkable!

(http://www.emusic.com/img/album/110/311/11031182_155_155.jpeg)

I have just listened to Launy Grondahl's reading of Nielsen's 2nd - a great (live) performance, very authoritative. (download from eMusic)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on July 11, 2008, 12:51:19 AM
The Naxos recordings of the piano music are very ordinary,

Perhaps, but I like the sound on those discs. I remember when I bought volume one alongside with Buxtehude's Membra Jesu nostri at a Hifi-exhibition back in 1997.  :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Henk on July 11, 2008, 01:23:54 AM
Perhaps, but I like the sound on those discs. I remember when I bought volume one alongside with Buxtehude's Membra Jesu nostri at a Hifi-exhibition back in 1997.  :)

I tought it was a 2008 recording, because I can't find it in the Naxos' catalogue.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on July 11, 2008, 02:03:31 AM
I tought it was a 2008 recording, because I can't find it in the Naxos' catalogue.

Nielsen - Complete Piano Music Volume 1 - Naxos 8.553574 (http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.553574) - Released 1997
Nielsen - Complete Piano Music Volume 2 - Naxos 8.553653 (http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.553653) - Released 1998
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on July 11, 2008, 02:30:47 AM
I think the Nielsen Symphony cycle I have (Adrian Leaper) is the only one that is NEVER talked about.

I cannot speak for anyone else who hasn't talked about it.

I haven't talked about it, because I haven't heard it.

Also, as I have three Nielsen cycles which I like very well, there's no great likelihood of my troubling to seek Leaper out.

There, Poju; that's as much talking about Leaper as I can with integrity justify  8)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on July 11, 2008, 02:37:56 AM
I also recall as a schoolboy having long arguments with friends about which was the greater composer-Sibelius or Nielsen :)

That's the spirit!  :D

Quote
Wouldn't get into that sort of argument today :)

Except that there is a good case to be made for the perception of Sibelius's greatness (there is actual greatness there, of course, but it's the old if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears, does it make a sound? parable) depending on international connections that he made during his career, and the consequent distribution of his work;  where Nielsen did not have occasion to "export" during his lifetime, perhaps.  The jbuck argument would go, "Obviously Sibelius is greater, because more people acknowledge his greatness, and time and the majority Can't Be Wrong" . . . though, as I say, this presupposes that the circumstances that Nielsen's music has not penetrated to a broader audience "mean" that he is a composer "inferior" to Sibelius.

Quote
Two of my favourite short Nielsen compositions are the marvellous Overture "Helios" and-an especial favourite-the Rhapsody Overture "An Imaginary Journey to the Faeroe Islands". Both are magical pieces!

Agreed, and especially w/r/t Helios!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Christo on July 11, 2008, 02:43:34 AM
Am I the only one who has heard it or is it just so forgettable?

No - not either. They used to be the first complete cycle in my collection too, and as far as I'm concerned, they're absolutely fine - no reason to avoid the Le[a]per, or jump over it!  8)

Their only handicap being: there are just so many superb cycles available, these days.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on July 11, 2008, 03:20:27 AM
. . . there are just so many superb cycles available, these days.

Of course, that is all to the good!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on July 11, 2008, 04:35:26 AM
Their only handicap being: there are just so many superb cycles available, these days.

Well, sure there are but my wallet is handicap too so the Leaper cycle may reign in my Nielsen collection.

There is just so many symphonies I haven't even heard... ... RVW's for instance.  ::)

Anyway, I am sure Nielsen >>>> RVW.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on July 11, 2008, 04:46:17 AM
I cannot speak for anyone else who hasn't talked about it.

I haven't talked about it, because I haven't heard it.

Also, as I have three Nielsen cycles which I like very well, there's no great likelihood of my troubling to seek Leaper out.

There, Poju; that's as much talking about Leaper as I can with integrity justify  8)

I find your tone of voice patronizing. You don't need to discuss about a CD you don't have nor have heard.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Christo on July 11, 2008, 04:56:39 AM
Anyway, I am sure Nielsen >>>> RVW.

I followed the path: RVW >>>> Nielsen  (>>>> Tubin a.s.o.) and found it quite a natural one, indeed.  :D
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Dundonnell on July 11, 2008, 12:46:35 PM
That's the spirit!  :D

Except that there is a good case to be made for the perception of Sibelius's greatness (there is actual greatness there, of course, but it's the old if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears, does it make a sound? parable) depending on international connections that he made during his career, and the consequent distribution of his work;  where Nielsen did not have occasion to "export" during his lifetime, perhaps.  The jbuck argument would go, "Obviously Sibelius is greater, because more people acknowledge his greatness, and time and the majority Can't Be Wrong" . . . though, as I say, this presupposes that the circumstances that Nielsen's music has not penetrated to a broader audience "mean" that he is a composer "inferior" to Sibelius.

Agreed, and especially w/r/t Helios!

I was a contrary teenager at the time-though probably not very typical :) If a particular composer was popular/revered I tended to set someone else up in opposition and sing that composer's praises instead. Thus Nielsen over Sibelius, Walton over Britten etc. I do, however, now firmly believe that both Sibelius and Nielsen were great composers of genius in their different ways and that their best music is imperishable.

Well, at least it was not the Beatles v The Rolling Stones as per my contemporaries :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Opus106 on April 15, 2009, 07:31:33 AM
Carl Nielsen: first discovery of 2009. Wow! Just finished listening to the symphony No. 5, and I love it! It was just a couple of weeks ago that I found and enjoyed listening to the Aladdin Suite. A fun piece it was. I didn't care to explore further, but I found a download of a recent performance of the symphony and curiosity got the better of me. I'm glad it did.

I did read a little bit about the work before listening, and to be honest, I didn't have hope of sitting through the entire performance. The first part of the first movement was a bit unsettling - and not to mention those snare drums which don't make an appearance in the works I usually listen to -  but nothing to force me listen to something else, instead. Then came the oh-so-lovely adagio. Beautiful. And  the frenzy in the opening and closing of the second movement was enough to seal the deal, so to speak.

Now to find more Nielsen's works.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Superhorn on April 16, 2009, 10:51:46 AM
  Nielsen was a true individualist; he never followed any"isms"; he always remained himself. He isn't a true late romantic, or a doctrinaire modernist,or neoclassical, or whatever.
  It's virtually impossible to pidgeonhole him.
  I also love Nielsen's first opera,"Saul and David", and have long treasured the wonderful Chandos recording with Neeme Jarvi and the Danish RSO, with the late Aage Haugland as king Saul. 
  This is a starkly powerful yet noble opera, and   Saul is a magnificent role for the bass voice. I'm sure that if many of this centurie's great basses had known this opera,they would have loved to sing it. It's comparable to the role of Boris Godunov.  Perhaps Rene Pape could do this role, and I think that Samuel Ramey,Kurt Moll ,George London, or James Morris might have loved to sing this opera.
  How about it,Met? 
   I got to know the Nielsen piano works on an old LP many years ago,I believe on Vox, by the wonderful Danish pianist Arne Skjold-Rasmussen, who knew Nielsen personally,and was an authoritative advocate of this music. If it appears on CD, grab this set.
  I also have the Chandos CD of the complete incidental music to Aladdin,with Rozhdestvensky and the Danish RSO. It contains much intriguing music not in the more familiar suite,plus chorus.
  The choral works Hymnis Amoris and Sleep are wonderful, as well as the charming folksy cantata "Springtime on Funen, which I have on a Chandos CD with Leif Segerstam and the Danish RSO.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DFO on April 16, 2009, 12:51:25 PM
I've his string quartets, the string quintet, the wind quintet, the violin sonatas and solo pieces, and the first recordings of his concertos: Paul Birkelund (1958) on flute; Ib Eriksson (1954) on clarinet, and Emil Telmanyi (1947) on violin. All magnificent works IMO.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: ChamberNut on April 16, 2009, 01:38:12 PM
Now to find more Nielsen's works.

Discovering Nielsen (String Quartets and symphonies) is on my list.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on May 27, 2009, 12:41:12 AM
Has Paavo Berglund's Bournemouth SO recording of Nielsen's 5th Symphony (EMI LP) ever been on CD?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Herman on May 27, 2009, 12:58:35 AM
I've his string quartets, the string quintet, the wind quintet, the violin sonatas and solo pieces, and the first recordings of his concertos: Paul Birkelund (1958) on flute; Ib Eriksson (1954) on clarinet, and Emil Telmanyi (1947) on violin. All magnificent works IMO.

I've never warmed to Nielsen's chamber works. I love his symphonies 4 - 6, though.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on May 27, 2009, 03:31:15 AM
I've never warmed to Nielsen's chamber works. I love his symphonies 4 - 6, though.

The wind quintet is very likeable, but I agree that it is missing the verve and arc of the symphonies.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on May 27, 2009, 06:51:07 AM
The wind quintet is very likeable, but I agree that it is missing the verve and arc of the symphonies.

But the piano music is great, particularly the Suite and the Chaconne, which do have the arc and verve of the symphonies without trying to imitate an orchestra.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on May 27, 2009, 07:11:40 AM
But the piano music is great, particularly the Suite and the Chaconne, which do have the arc and verve of teh symphonies withouth trying to imitate an orchestra.

I do like the piano solo music, too!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on May 30, 2009, 03:32:44 AM
The Helios Overture . . . it's like a much-abbreviated impression of the Vaughan Willams Fifth.  (Only speaking musical language, here.)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Dundonnell on May 30, 2009, 04:00:31 AM
The Helios Overture . . . it's like a much-abbreviated impression of the Vaughan Willams Fifth.  (Only speaking musical language, here.)

Would you care to expand on that comparison please, Karl?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on May 30, 2009, 04:03:04 AM
Well, it just occurred to me out the blue this morning, Colin.  There's a warmth, and an unhurried character, an impression of being in joyous harmony with nature, which is a broad similarity between the Nielsen overture and the first movement of the RVW.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Dundonnell on May 30, 2009, 04:05:14 AM
Well, it just occurred to me out the blue this morning, Colin.  There's a warmth, and an unhurried character, an impression of being in joyous harmony with nature, which is a broad similarity between the Nielsen overture and the first movement of the RVW.

Both composers were geniuses of course :) Langgaard is not in the same league as Carl ;D
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on May 30, 2009, 04:08:06 AM
Both composers were geniuses of course :)

Yes, but I was considering simply overall musical character.  Their both being geniuses, is an added bonus.

Quote from: Colin
Langgaard is not in the same league as Carl ;D

Oh, in the mood for a food fight, are ye?  ;)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Dundonnell on May 30, 2009, 04:10:19 AM
Yes, but I was considering simply overall musical character.  Their both being geniuses, is an added bonus.

Oh, in the mood for a food fight, are ye?  ;)

I will be safe unless Johan(Jezetha) sees this ;D Although he is recruiting more acolytes from this site :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on May 30, 2009, 12:49:11 PM
Oh, and I need to sit down with the two operas again sometime . . . .
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: karlhenning on May 30, 2009, 02:34:00 PM
Nielsen’s Boyhood Home

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/95/Denmark-Carl_Nielsen%27s_Childhood_Home.JPG/800px-Denmark-Carl_Nielsen%27s_Childhood_Home.JPG)

Tidier than the Shakespeare house in Stratford  ;D
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Satzaroo on May 30, 2009, 03:13:24 PM
When I was a teenager almost fifty years ago, I was fascinated by Nielsen's Violin Concerto. It was on a budget label, I had a so-so stereo console, and I had never heard of the violinist or the orchestra; nonetheless, I delighted in the upbeat melodies in the first and third movements and was entranced by the romantic cadences of the second movement. As an adult, I have not listened to that concerto--in any rendition. I wonder if it would still have the same appeal, or would I have outgrown it?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on May 30, 2009, 03:44:26 PM
When I was a teenager almost fifty years ago, I was fascinated by Nielsen's Violin Concerto. It was on a budget label, I had a so-so stereo console, and I had never heard of the violinist or the orchestra; nonetheless, I delighted in the upbeat melodies in the first and third movements and was entranced by the romantic cadences of the second movement. As an adult, I have not listened to that concerto--in any rendition. I wonder if it would still have the same appeal, or would I have outgrown it?

None but yourself can tell! FWIW, I like it very well, and find its tunefulness engaging.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: edward on May 31, 2009, 01:45:38 PM
I'm glad to see the Schonwandt 4 & 5 disc is coming out on Naxos now... time for me to complete the set.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Daverz on May 31, 2009, 03:33:05 PM
When I was a teenager almost fifty years ago, I was fascinated by Nielsen's Violin Concerto. It was on a budget label, I had a so-so stereo console, and I had never heard of the violinist or the orchestra; nonetheless, I delighted in the upbeat melodies in the first and third movements and was entranced by the romantic cadences of the second movement. As an adult, I have not listened to that concerto--in any rendition. I wonder if it would still have the same appeal, or would I have outgrown it?

It think you'll still find it entrancing.  I wonder if the violinist you heard was Tibor Varga. 

(http://www.classical-records.de/pix/classical/shop/s3929.jpg)

My favorite recording is still Arve Tellefsen with Blomstedt on EMI.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Satzaroo on May 31, 2009, 07:59:06 PM
Daverz, you're right on target--I recognize the "Turnabout" cover. Thanks for the heads up.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on June 01, 2009, 02:29:35 AM
My favorite recording [of the Vn Cto] is still Arve Tellefsen with Blomstedt on EMI.

That is very good, indeed.  I do enjoy the Naxos recording, too . . . Jno. Carney, IIRC
Title: Re: The Nielsen Nook
Post by: Christo on June 02, 2009, 12:41:21 AM
Tidier than the Shakespeare house in Stratford  ;D

But not unlike the birth house and boyhood home of his contemporary, Estonian composer Rudolf Tobias (1873-1918) on the Baltic island of Hiiumaa (Dagö):

                        (http://www.muuseum.hiiumaa.ee/tobias2.jpg)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on June 02, 2009, 02:36:45 AM
I really like the Helios Overture - played it this morning (Erik Tuxen, Royal Danish SO) - really fine historic performance. Any other favourite performances of this work?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on June 02, 2009, 02:44:43 AM
I really like the Helios Overture - played it this morning (Erik Tuxen, Royal Danish SO) - really fine historic performance. Any other favourite performances of this work?

There's a nice account on the "concertos-plus" two-fer that Daverz mentions:

My favorite recording is still Arve Tellefsen with Blomstedt on EMI.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on June 02, 2009, 04:38:54 AM
There's a nice account on the "concertos-plus" two-fer that Daverz mentions:


Thanks Karl
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on June 02, 2009, 06:35:22 AM
Of the short orchestral pieces, no one has mentioned the Saga Drom yet. A beautiful, haunting work, with an unforgettable section for winds near the center. I also quite like the recurring five-note motif in the bass.

I was in Gettysburg over the weekend, and on the drive home I ilstened to my tape of the fourth and fifth symphonies: twice. bernstein in the fourth, Horenstein in the fifth. Tape also includes the Saga Drom (Horenstein) and At the Bier of a Young Artist (Blomstedt). Great comp[any on the long drive down Pa. Route 30.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on June 02, 2009, 06:49:22 AM
Of the short orchestral pieces, no one has mentioned the Saga Drom yet. A beautiful, haunting work, with an unforgettable section for winds near the center. I also quite like the recurring five-note motif in the bass.

I was in Gettysburg over the weekend, and on the drive home I ilstened to my tape of the fourth and fifth symphonies: twice. bernstein in the fourth, Horenstein in the fifth. Tape also includes the Saga Drom (Horenstein) and At the Bier of a Young Artist (Blomstedt). Great comp[any on the long drive down Pa. Route 30.

Oh yes, Saga Drom is a wonderfully atmospheric piece. I also like the atmospheric 'Imaginary Journey to the Faroes Islands' - especially the opening section.  I have the old Unicorn CD (and LP) with Horenstein conducting Symphony No 5 and Saga Drom.  They are fine performances.  I especially like the performance of the symphony as it features the most manic and closely miked side-drummer in the free cadenza section.  I also like Raphael Kubelik's EMI recording of this haunting Symphony (surely another candidate for 'the greatest 20th century symphony' thread).
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on June 02, 2009, 07:10:50 AM
Odd --- I never cared for Kubelik's version. The Fifth is a hard symphony to get right, I think. My favorites I guess are Horentstein's, Bernstein'sand Schmidt's. I also have the complete symphonies with Blomstedt and the SFS, and that's a very strong set, too.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on June 02, 2009, 07:51:24 AM
Odd --- I never cared for Kubelik's version. The Fifth is a hard symphony to get right, I think. My favorites I guess are Horentstein's, Bernstein'sand Schmidt's. I also have the complete symphonies with Blomstedt and the SFS, and that's a very strong set, too.

Those are all good versions as, I think, is this one. It did not get good reviews but was, paradoxically, the No 1 choice (for Symphony No 5) of The Good CD Guide Top 1000 CDS:

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on June 02, 2009, 09:40:46 AM
Those are all good versions as, I think, is this one. It did not get good reviews but was, paradoxically, the No 1 choice (for Symphony No 5) of The Good CD Guide Top 1000 CDS:



Interesting, I heard Rozhdestvensky conduct these very 2 symphonies in a Nielsen mini-festival here in Moscow a couple years ago. He really emphasized the quirky and odd elements in them.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on June 09, 2009, 07:04:57 AM
Happy birthday, Carl! Today, June 9, 2009, is Mr. Nielsen's 144th birthday. Princeton radio commemorated the occasion with a broadcast of the great Wind Quintet, which was interrputed during the variations by a severe thunder storm warning.

I don't think I ever told you guys this, but when I was in college, majoring in creative writing, I wrote a one-act play about Carl Nielsen. Like everything else I did for school, I have destroyed it.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Brewski on June 09, 2009, 07:10:18 AM
I don't think I ever told your guys this, but when I was in college, majoring in creative writing, I wrote a one-act play about Carl Nielsen. Like everything else I did for school, I have destroyed it.

 :o  Wow, what made you decide on Nielsen as a subject, and what was the gist of the play?

--Bruce
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on June 09, 2009, 07:17:53 AM
Fabulous juvenilia!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on June 09, 2009, 07:22:47 AM
:o  Wow, what made you decide on Nielsen as a subject, and what was the gist of the play?

--Bruce

It was a one act that took place just as Carl was completing his Clarinet Concerto in the late 1920s. It dealt primarily with his disillusionment over his career. I don't know what inspired it: we were sitting in class talking about subjects, and I suddenly got the image of Nielsen destroying a bust of himself with his cane. The bust was in progress, still soft, and was intended as a gift from his wife, Anne, a sculptress. It was kind of a hokey script, and rereadng it years later, I was amazed I got an A for it. Probably the best thing to come out of the class was that I introduced my prof to Nielsen's music.

There wasn't much information available on Nielsen's family back in the 1970s. I made his daughter, Irmelin, a homebody who bakes in her spare time. Turns out she was a well-known choreographer, quite prominent in Denmark, every bit as arty as the her parents.

The creative life is the hardest thing to depict onstage, I think. How does one portray the labors of a writer or painter or composer in a way that's dramatically interesting? Tom Stoppard did a great job in "Shakespeare in Love," but then his protagonist produced Romeo and Juliet, an objet trouve.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on June 09, 2009, 07:42:48 AM
There wasn't much information available on Nielsen's family back in the 1970s. I made his daughter, Irmelin, a homebody who bakes in her spare time. Turns out she was a well-known choreographer, quite prominent in Denmark, every bit as arty as the her parents.

I trust you meant you met his daughter? . . .
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on June 09, 2009, 08:00:06 AM
I trust you meant you met his daughter? . . .

No, I made her, that is, wrote her as a character. I never met her. Years after writing the play, I read about her in Jack Lawson's pictoral biography, the one published by Phaedon, and the only complete bio in English. I also learned that Nielsen and his wife were separated in the early 1920s. Carl had several affairs and fathered five or six illegitimate children during the marriage.

Irmelin died in 1974, just about the time i was discovering her father's music. Nielsen's other daughter, Anne marie, nicknamed Sos (or sister), lived until 1983, age 90. I was in Copenhagen in 1978, and had I known at the time she was still living, I would have tried to look her up.

Anne, Carl's wife, died in February 1945, just before the end of the Nazi occupation.

I often wonder if Victor Borge's family knew the Nielsens.

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Brewski on June 09, 2009, 08:17:07 AM
The creative life is the hardest thing to depict onstage, I think. How does one depict  the labors of a writer or painter or composer in a way that's dramatically interesting? Tom Stoppard did a great job in "Shakespeare in Love," but then his protagonist produced Romeo and Juliet, an objet trouve.

Very interesting, Joe.  I am impressed that you would even tackle such subject matter!  As you say, it's difficult.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Superhorn on June 09, 2009, 11:55:01 AM
  I recently learned that Nielsen had a few illegitimate children from affairs he had with other women. For shame,Carl ! 
  As well as his two daughters, Nielsen also had a son who  unfortunately suffered from permanent physical diabilities.
  I don't know if the Chandos recording with Rozhdestvensky and the Danish RSO of the complete incidental music to the play Aladdin is still available, but I have it and you should seek it out. It features a chorus,
 and at one point, the male singers have to sing through megaphones.
  Most intriguing. Most people know only the suites of music from the play.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on June 09, 2009, 12:01:47 PM
   As well as his two daughters, Nielsen also had a son who  unfortunately suffered from permanent physical diabilities.

Nielsen's son, Hans Borge, was mentally retarded. The composer also had a brother who settled in Chicago. Today there are many Nielsens in the Chicago phone directory.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on June 09, 2009, 03:14:20 PM
Oh, but they cannot all be his descendants . . . .
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on June 09, 2009, 03:56:34 PM
Oh, but they cannot all be his descendants . . . .
I don't know: if the brother was as horny as Carl apparently was ...


From Bill Mauldin:

"This is th' town my pappy told me about."
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on June 12, 2009, 04:39:14 AM
Any Nielsen scores under Jansen in p.d.?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on June 12, 2009, 09:50:53 AM
Any Nielsen scores under Jansen in p.d.?

What do you mean by "under jansen"? When I was working in publishing, the rule was that anything published in its final form before 1920 is public domain.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on July 06, 2009, 04:43:42 AM
Although I have not actually listened to it for a couple of months, I find myself humming bits of the Violin Concerto all the time.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on July 06, 2009, 06:17:10 AM
In troth, 'tis a good thing to hum.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 09, 2009, 02:02:11 AM
(From the Listening thread)

Nielsen, Symphony No. 1 (Jensen, historic)

Excellent performance (LP) from 1952, lovingly restored and uploaded by fellow member Otterhouse. Be quick to download it here:


http://docent.cmd.hro.nl/otter/
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DavidW on August 11, 2009, 05:23:07 AM
Isn't the Rhapsody Overture simply wonderful? :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on August 11, 2009, 06:15:03 AM
Had an unexpected treat this morning while driving to work. WPRB, the Princeton Radio station, broadcast the wonderful Wind Quintet. I'm going to have a long day at the office today, and this work really put me in a good frame of mind.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Tomo on August 11, 2009, 01:14:22 PM
Had an unexpected treat this morning while driving to work. WPRB, the Princeton Radio station, broadcast the wonderful Wind Quintet. I'm going to have a long day at the office today, and this work really put me in a good frame of mind.


Hope it all worked out as hoped for at the office today, Joe.  Taking your experience as a guiding light and given that becoming somewhat up to speed on Nielsen is my current drive, I will, as soon as I'm done listening to his symphony, listen to the Wind Quintet and his concertos for Flute and Clarinet.  So far, my favorites are his Nos. 4 and 5 and the second movement of his sixth.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on August 11, 2009, 02:20:53 PM
the second movement of his sixth.

That's a crazy piece. It sounds almost like a parody of Varese.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Guido on September 27, 2009, 04:49:10 AM
What does the title Proposta Seria of the third movement of the 6th symphony mean? I think the 6th is turning out to be my favourite.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: The new erato on September 27, 2009, 05:33:39 AM
Serious Proposition.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Guido on September 27, 2009, 05:49:22 AM
Cheers!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: The new erato on November 17, 2009, 01:56:12 AM
New disc of unknown works. Anybody know anything about the discs or the works?

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/8226079.jpg)

Here's from the blurb:

Cantatas

Chorus of the Danish National Opera
Aarhus Cathedral Choir, Vox Aros
Jens Albinus
Ditte Højgaard Andersen
Mathias Hedegaard
Palle Knudsen

Aarhus Symphony Orchestra / Bo Holten, Thomas Søndergård

There are still unknown, exciting sides to Denmark’s world-famous composer, Carl Nielsen (1865-1931). On this CD you can hear the premiere recordings of two of his cantatas for choir, soloists and orchestra. The cantatas were written in 1908-09, when Carl Nielsen was in one of his most productive phases. They have been performed several times since, but it is only in connection with the new collected edition of Nielsen’s works that they have appeared in print.

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on November 17, 2009, 02:51:47 AM
What does the title Proposta Seria of the third movement of the 6th symphony mean? I think the 6th is turning out to be my favourite.


Serious Proposition.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: The new erato on November 17, 2009, 02:55:44 AM

Serious Proposition.
Serious Proposition.
Nice to see we agree!   ;D
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on November 17, 2009, 05:25:38 AM
Nice to see we agree!   ;D


Oops! Overlooked that...  :o


 ;)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Moldyoldie on February 04, 2010, 03:18:15 PM
[Pasted from WAYLT]

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5191EZN93SL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Nielsen: Symphony No. 4 "The Inextinguishable"
Scriabin: Poem of Ecstasy
Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
Zubin Mehta, cond.
DECCA ELOQUENCE

I've read professional reviews of this performance of Carl Nielsen's "Inextinguishable" from the '70s with scornful one-word descriptions such as "superficial" and "extrovert".  The reviewer in the Third Ear Guide proclaims "the floor has been littered with recording failures" before summarily dismissing Mehta as if it illustrates his point.  The Penguin Guide states Mehta "fails to penetrate the music's fullest depths and disclose all its subtleties."  Robert Layton in The Gramophone calls it a "well-played, well-recorded but superficial account."    Upon first hearing, I, too, was somewhat taken aback by Mehta's headlong and seemingly impetuous tempos, especially in the poco allegretto second movement, which here sounds as if it's played more a tempo with the rocket-propelled allegro opening of the symphony, merely softer (I'm perhaps exaggerating to make a point). However, coming to this with fresh ears, purposely freed of notions of what this great symphony represents and how it should be rendered, makes for a truly exhilarating listening experience!  Mehta never slams on the brakes as is often heard, but skillfully adjusts dynamics while subtly bringing tempos to bear.

Is it "superficial" to dauntlessly render Nielsen's  wonderful and powerful wartime rhetoric as a single headlong unified statement?  In this case, I certainly think not.

Hearing this performance, I was instantly reminded of the captain in The Sand Pebbles played by Richard Crenna, who in his frustration in being militarily shackled by the dictates of his superiors while sensing the simmering and ominous threat of his increasingly restless crew, feigns wireless failure with HQ and proclaims: "We will make one last savage thrust deep into China -- and if the San Pablo dies, she dies clean."   The San Pablo, of course, doesn't die and neither does Mehta's Nielsen Fourth. Instead, it resounds with an inexorable life force that's nothing if not "inextinguishable".  Invoking another allusion, instead of Marlow (or Capt. Willard, if you prefer) piercing deep into Conrad's heart of darkness, this performance is a brazen repudiation of its very existence!

Appended is a late '60s performance of Alexander Scriabin's Poem of Ecstasy, a work from the first decade of the 20th century that bears many marks of Debussy, but shimmers with its own eroto-exotic passions and musical language.  It's become a personal favorite -- its persistent trumpet wailing forth above the shimmering orchestral fray as affectingly, but certainly more consistently and resoundingly, as that wonderful trombone in Sibelius' Seventh Symphony, a similarly uninterrupted, but more varied statement of similar length.  This is a beautifully played and recorded performance, perhaps even more vividly recorded than that of the later Nielsen recording.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: drogulus on February 07, 2010, 09:58:58 AM

Except that there is a good case to be made for the perception of Sibelius's greatness (there is actual greatness there, of course, but it's the old if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears, does it make a sound? parable) depending on international connections that he made during his career, and the consequent distribution of his work;  where Nielsen did not have occasion to "export" during his lifetime, perhaps.  The jbuck argument would go, "Obviously Sibelius is greater, because more people acknowledge his greatness, and time and the majority Can't Be Wrong" . . . though, as I say, this presupposes that the circumstances that Nielsen's music has not penetrated to a broader audience "mean" that he is a composer "inferior" to Sibelius.



     I have no problem deriving actual greatness* from perceived greatness when you add 2 features to the mix:

     1) Popularity within affinity groups (popsters don't bother adjudicating greatness outside their area of interest). Worrying about the influence of the uncommitted is not necessary. They don't care so you don't care. And if you don't care about jazz, jazzers won't pay much attention to what you think, if they should ever come to discover what that is.

     2) Greatness = Popularity over time, so it never gets decided, a race that's never over. Another way to look at it is Greatness = Metapopularity. (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/Smileys/classic/cheesy.gif)

     The alternative, greatness no one gets to decide, is the hard one for me. How exactly do you decide something that in principle is beyond decision? One can submit a dispute to arbitration according to fixed criteria of merit, but the choice of criteria can't itself be fixed. History says there's always another way of being great. You might even go so far as to conclude that this is the point of modernism in the arts, that no objective criterion ever has the last word. It certainly would be consistent with my often-stated view that art consists in the effect it produces for a receptive consciousness and not a collection of objects. It ought to be hard, therefore, to decide both what greatness is and who has it in a convincing way, and I note that it is. (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/Smileys/classic/grin.gif)

      Right now I'm preparing the Schmidt symphony cycle to take to work tonight.

     * I didn't put it quotes! (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/Smileys/classic/shocked.gif) What's wrong with me?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on February 07, 2010, 05:04:19 PM
Good addenda, Ernie.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Moldyoldie on February 10, 2010, 10:43:12 AM
A reassessment (pasted from WAYLT)...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41Z257TZWJL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Nielsen: Symphony No. 4 "Inextinguishable"
Sibelius: Tapiola
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Herbert von Karajan, cond.
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON

Frankly, I find Karajan's Nielsen No. 4 with the BPO from the early '80s to be a bit underwhelming, but hardly worthy of out-and-out dismissal. After a comparatively tepid burst out of the starting gate, the first movement grinds to near stasis before lumbering along for a protracted thirteen minutes, albeit with some sparkling soft magic, to its quiet segue into equally drawn-out second and third movements.  The poco allegretto second features some fine, stately chamber-like interplay among the winds while the nearly twelve minute poco adagio third movement puts the famous Berlin strings on full display.  The ensemble playing certainly sounds nice here, but it's an ameliorating consideration when this great symphony's dramatic cogency is so undermined by such polite and tidy pacing. While listening, I found myself admiring the orchestra more than being swept along by the drama.  The all-important tympani battles in the finale are also noticeably "civilized" and more recessed in the scheme; they're thus heard as semi-distant fusillades instead of rapid stereo punches to the solar plexus -- I suppose this may actually appeal to some listeners.

Despite misgivings as to Karajan's seemingly tame approach to what should be nothing less than a depiction of the triumph of Man's capacity for creative good over those forces which would usurp it, I do find the overall performance to lend an affecting reverence to the music not heard in many others -- once again, an ameliorating consideration.  In comparison, I find Simon Rattle's similarly deliberate approach to the Nielsen Fourth to be much more successful and satisfying. (Review to follow)

 What's somewhat disconcerting is the early '80s digital recording which is noticeably steely and bass shy, but the recording scheme is consistent with Deutsche Grammophon's general approach with these forces; i.e., strings and winds are in the forefront.  More often than not, I've been able to adjust and appreciate it.  In matters of interpretation, however, and as a requisite imploration to novice listeners, introduce yourself to this great symphony through any of the many other fine recordings before hearing Karajan's.

Appended to the Nielsen is Karajan's very expansive last recording of Sibelius' late tone poem Tapiola from '84.  Though I'm a big fan of the composer, this is not my favorite Sibelius.  Still, Karajan and the BPO manage to wring every last ounce of brooding emotion from the score in a performance seemingly driven more by mythic ambience than epic drama.  It's funny in that some days I really take to it, while other days....
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: drogulus on February 11, 2010, 02:28:43 PM


      Does the driver Rattle? (badabump!) (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/Smileys/classic/cheesy.gif)

      The 1st Symphony is reminiscent of Brahms, though a comparison with Dvorak might also be made.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Moldyoldie on February 11, 2010, 04:07:16 PM
On the subject of Inextinguishables that turn out better than you might expect, there's also this one:

(http://img269.imageshack.us/img269/826/16783556.jpg)

From my Karajan bit:
Quote from: Moldyoldie
In comparison, I find Simon Rattle's similarly deliberate approach to the Nielsen Fourth to be much more successful and satisfying. (Review to follow)
;)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: drogulus on February 12, 2010, 11:58:03 AM
Sorry.  Short attention span.  :-[
Actually, it does.  ;D  Though it was the Shostakovich #4 shoot-out over Christmas that did something to the suspension, the CBSO tympani delivered the coup de grâce.

       Don't play Rattle's recording of Sinfonia da Requiem or it will stop rattling for good. (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/Smileys/classic/cheesy.gif)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Moldyoldie on March 17, 2010, 09:09:07 AM
[Pasted from WAYLT]
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31K4JQR318L._SL500_AA180_.jpg)
Sibelius: Symphony No. 5*
Nielsen: Pan and Syrinx; Symphony No. 4 "The Inextinguishable"
Philharmonia Orchestra*
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Simon Rattle, cond.
EMI

The young Simon Rattle of pre-knighthood was seemingly the cat's meow among British music critics throughout the '80s, a sensitive and often dynamic conductor whose recordings endeavored toward new benchmarks in much of the basic early modern repertoire.  Here from 1982 (the CD is a re-release from 1993) is Rattle's initial foray into recording Sibelius, the popular Symphony No. 5, and it became the most talked about recording of the work since Karajan's in the '60s.  Here ends the requisite dispensable history lesson.

Rattle and the Philharmonia deliver a well-prepared and wonderfully understated interpretation that forces one to re-think this popular symphony in terms which are mostly extra-musical; i.e., cerebrally, as if inside the head of a dual-faced Janus consisting of the young conductor and the dourly disposed composer himself, only looking at each other instead of oppositely!  Unlike Esa-Pekka Salonen's outright depressing recording with the same orchestra from a few years later, Rattle brings his own youthful intellect and optimism to bear on this fine music while effectively harnessing its more overtly dynamic attributes -- it's this latter consideration which may dissuade the novice listener and rebuff the seasoned one. A few listens, however, have brought me around.  I've become particularly taken by the wonderful play (and interplay) of the woodwinds heard throughout, as well as the purposely blatty brass which evoke the large fowl flying overhead in the Sibelian realm.  The big build in the coda to the first movement, one of the most thrilling moments in the entire repertoire for this listener, is rendered in a controlled manner and culminates not with a bang, not with a whimper, but merely as the end of the first part of a lengthier musical journey.  The pianissimo strings in the finale are on the very threshold of audibility (even through headphones!), in itself an ear-catching technical feat, but it still remains temporally and emotionally consistent with this well-played, well-articulated, and sensitive performance.  In my opinion, Bernstein and Karajan are the most effective in pulling out all the stops in all the right places in Sibelius No. 5 -- Rattle/Philharmonia is the antithesis, one I can now readily advocate as a fine alternative. I've read where Rattle's subsequent Sibelius No. 5 recording, part of his complete cycle with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, is appreciably different -- I've yet to hear it.

The Nielsen recordings here date from '85 during Rattle's prodigious stint with the Birmingham orchestra. Pan and Syrinx is a brief buffer between the main attractions --it's both evocative and powerful, especially the brooding cello and marvelous brass crescendo in the middle. In my limited experience with it, this is the most effective and entertaining performance I've heard. 

Rattle's rendition of the Symphony No. 4 "Inextinguishable" invites a special scrutiny among those who love this work.  I've read one critic describe the performance as "fussy", I suppose in reference to Rattle's tendency to deliberately fawn over certain details in sacrifice of momentum. As evidenced here, however, there's certainly much to love and fawn over.  It's true that Rattle takes the middle two movements of this seamless symphony at a pace that elicits a great deal of both loving detail and charm.  Where charm exists and flourishes, however, there's always a most effective countervailing aggression that follows -- this performance never wallows in sweetness and light.  The culminating, all-consuming tympani battle in the final movement is brought to bear with resolute meaning and results in an equally powerful victory, putatively of Man's capacity for creative good over those forces which would usurp it.  To my ears, Rattle's judgments and the orchestra's responses are much more effective than the likes of Karajan and Barbirolli in their likewise expansive and deliberative readings. Instead of "rattling" on, I'll conclude by saying that this lucid performance, as manifested by the young conductor's understanding of Nielsen's multi-fold wartime expression, is worth the "fuss"!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on June 09, 2010, 06:02:39 AM
Today, June 9, is the 145th birthday of the great Dane. I won't have time to listen to anything on the day itself, but last weekend I did spin  the Second and Sixth Symphonies in the fine performances by Blomstedt and the SFS. (I have two complete cycles, by Blomstedt and Schmidt, plus several singles.) Coming back to the Sixth after several years, I have to say I was much more impressed with it than I remember ever having been, or perhaps it was the reading that impressed me so much. It's an underrated work, I think, or would be, if I had ever heard anyone rate it. There are some beautiful moments, such as the end of the third movement, and some astounding ones, such as the pixilated waltz in the Variations. If there's any relation between biography and creativity --- and it's a questionable premise --- something disturbing must have been going on in Nielsen's life at the time he wrote this piece.

So, happy Nielsen day.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on June 09, 2010, 06:07:43 AM
Today, June 9, is the 145th birthday of the great Dane.

I must have felt something in the air . . . I listened to Pan og Syrinx and the Flute Concerto yesterday. And I'll listen to some more today!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 09, 2010, 06:14:56 AM
So, happy Nielsen day.

Thanks for reminding us. I think I'll spin the Sixth too...I love it. Blomstedt's my favorite. I also have Berglund, Kuchar, Ormandy, Salonen, Schonwandt and Rozhdestvensky. Rozh is the new kid on the block and I haven't heard his Sixth yet. Perfect opportunity then.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on June 09, 2010, 06:48:45 AM
Anybody like the chamber music? I should go back and listen again to the pieces for solo violin and the violin sonatas. And the Suite Op. 49 is extraordinary. Too bad John Odgen's great recording was never released on CD. I have the two-volume set of piano music on Naxos, which is perfectly serviceable, but still ...

The there are the songs: Danish is such a beautiful language when sung. like German, but without all the hard consonants. 
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 09, 2010, 06:55:31 AM
Anybody like the chamber music?

I love the Wind Quintet. That's the only chamber work of his I own. Can you recommend recordings of other chamber pieces?

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on June 09, 2010, 06:58:07 AM
If there's any relation between biography and creativity --- and it's a questionable premise --- something disturbing must have been going on in Nielsen's life at the time he wrote this piece.

From what I've been told, the climax in the first mvt. of the 6th supposedly depicts his recent heart attack. His declining health was a factor when he wrote this symphony.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: edward on June 09, 2010, 07:37:12 AM
Anybody like the chamber music? I should go back and listen again to the pieces for solo violin and the violin sonatas. And the Suite Op. 49 is extraordinary. Too bad John Odgen's great recording was never released on CD. I have the two-volume set of piano music on Naxos, which is perfectly serviceable, but still ...
Andsnes has at least done most of the stronger works. An absolute must IMO.

I'd love to get some good recordings of the alternative works.

As for the wind quintet, it's in historic sound but my favourite remains the dedicatees on Clarinet Classics:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/2142KNS9A1L._SL160_AA115_.jpg)

(Pretty good couplings, too: the Clarinet Concerto with Cahuzac and members of the Copenhagen Wind Quintet in Serenata in Vano. Sort of a clarinetist's wet dream, probably.)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Scarpia on June 09, 2010, 07:45:13 AM
I love the Wind Quintet. That's the only chamber work of his I own. Can you recommend recordings of other chamber pieces?

I have this set, but don't remember anything about the music.

(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/full/03/32445.JPG)

I do recall listening to the same ensemble's Kodaly recordings, which were well done.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on June 09, 2010, 08:19:37 AM
My recording the Philadelphia Wind Quintet's recording of the Nielsen Woodwind Quintet, and it doesn't get any better than that. Probably his greatest chamber work. The CD also includes Barber's Summer Music.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on June 09, 2010, 08:22:35 AM
And the Suite Op. 49 is extraordinary.

Oops, that should be Op. 45. My apologies.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on June 09, 2010, 02:06:33 PM
I must have felt something in the air . . . I listened to Pan og Syrinx and the Flute Concerto yesterday. And I'll listen to some more today!

I did, you know: the Sixth Symphony. How I love Nielsen's music!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on June 09, 2010, 02:40:54 PM
How I love Nielsen's music![/font]

Yet he never got  the following Sibelius did. I remember that wretched old Bernard Holland once described him as "north of good, south of great." But then, old Bernard always seemed content to base his judgments on his perceptions of focus groups. If something wasn't a staple of the mainstream concert calendar, he couldn't believe it was any good. his philosophy was, "There must be a reason it isn't played very often."  It was a nice, safe tack to take,  since it never required him to put his  own perceptions on the line. I never got the feeling he was listening very closely. Ives would have called him a Rollo.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Saul on June 10, 2010, 03:39:30 AM
Nielsen's fifth is one of the best symphonies ever written.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on June 10, 2010, 07:29:49 AM
Nielsen's fifth is one of the best symphonies ever written.

'Nuff said.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on June 10, 2010, 07:37:08 AM
My ranking of the Nielsen Symphonies from best to "worst" looks something like this:

#4 - #3 - #5 - #2 - #6 - #1

 
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on June 10, 2010, 08:09:34 AM
My ranking of the Nielsen Symphonies from best to "worst" looks something like this: #4 - #3 - #5 - #2 - #6 - #1

I've always thought of the Third, Fourth and Fifth as the Big Three-- and as equals --- with the others occupying a lesser position, but it's not an opinion I'm prepared to defend to the death. I appreciate the Sixth more and more, and I've always loved the Second, even if it reminds me of Brahms at times. It was Nielsen's  most popular symphony during his lifetime, I believe. The second and fourth movements are outstanding, with the themes so simple and yet so inspired one can't believe they haven't existed forever.

The First is a young man's effort, and I haven't listened to it enough to judge. I should go back to it. Maybe even today. First symphony in history to end in a different key than it sarts in, I believe. There's a word for that, but I can think of it. Something like polydiatonharomicism.

Just listened to the Suite Op. 45, the Three Piano Pieces Op. 59 and a few of the songs. Beautiful stuff is all I can say, though with music so varied, beauty means several different things.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: alkan on June 11, 2010, 02:57:43 AM
Nielsen's fifth is one of the best symphonies ever written.
And Nielsen's "Masquerade" is one of the best overtures ever written !!!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on June 11, 2010, 10:56:26 AM
And Nielsen's "Masquerade" is one of the best overtures ever written !!!

I don't believe this opera has ever been staged in the US. I keep hoping the Philadelphia opera company will do it.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Joe Barron on June 15, 2010, 09:04:29 AM
I have two recording's of CN's Sixth --- Ole Schmidt and Herbert Blomstedt with the SFS. I've listened to both in the past week. Both are great, bu I have to say and I'm particularly  impressed with the Blomstedt. It has clarity, power and drive, and the CD has a very full, "present" sound. the section that caught my attention when i was listening to it last night was the end of the third movement, when the orchestra is slowing down, and the the high strings are playing a haunting, broken, wandering figure over the winds. It never really struck me with such force before, and I've known this piece for more than thirty years.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on June 15, 2010, 09:08:26 AM
Hear, hear.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: drogulus on June 16, 2010, 08:26:43 AM
I have two recording's of CN's Sixth --- Ole Schmidt and Herbert Blomstedt with the SFS. I've listened to both in the past week. Both are great, bu I have to say and I'm particularly  impressed with the Blomstedt. It has clarity, power and drive, and the CD has a very full, "present" sound. the section that caught my attention when i was listening to it last night was the end of the third movement, when the orchestra is slowing down, and the the high strings are playing a haunting, broken, wandering figure over the winds. It never really struck me with such force before, and I've known this piece for more than thirty years.

     These are the 2 cycles I have, and as an inexpert listener they sound authoritative (I guessed as much when I chose them, following leads from here). I'm still working my way through the 2 sets, on the 3rd symphony.

     
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on June 16, 2010, 08:59:32 AM
They are both good, though I believe that Blomstedt has the edge.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on November 24, 2010, 09:38:11 AM
. . . The First is a young man's effort, and I haven't listened to it enough to judge. I should go back to it. Maybe even today.

A young work, but strong.  There are some ways in which I prefer the First to the Second.

Quote from: Joe Barron
First symphony in history to end in a different key than it sarts in, I believe. There's a word for that, but I can think of it. Something like polydiatonharomicism.

Progressive tonality?

Separately . . .

Chorus for the 50th Anniversary of the Danish Cremation Union: has anyone heard it?  Somehow I find myself struck with interest in this.  Not directly related to tomorrow's being Thanksgiving, I think.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: The new erato on November 24, 2010, 09:58:20 AM
Progressive tonality?

I think there are earlier works that start in minor and end in major; i heard such a work a few days ago but cannot for the life of me remember what it was.

Edit: I wonder if it was a Sinfonia by J C Bach.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Scarpia on November 24, 2010, 10:17:46 AM
I think there are earlier works that start in minor and end in major; i heard such a work a few days ago but cannot for the life of me remember what it was.

I believe it was not atypical for minor key symphonies to end in the major during the classical era.   Beethoven's 5th certainly begins in c minor and ends in c major.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Opus106 on November 24, 2010, 10:30:02 AM
Beethoven's 5th certainly begins in c minor and ends in c major.

And Mahler's 2nd (c to Eb). I think it was while reading about that work that I first came across the term.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on November 24, 2010, 11:16:22 AM
I believe it was not atypical for minor key symphonies to end in the major during the classical era.   Beethoven's 5th certainly begins in c minor and ends in c major.

Not the same thing at all as ending in a different tonic (an earlier example of which is the Chopin 2nd Ballade, which begins in F major and ends in A minor - which still is a related key). By placing his finale in the major, Beethoven was using a large-scale version of the Picardy 3rd, very common in minor mode works (including numerous instances in Bach) because the major mode was felt to have greater stability. Much less common is a major mode work ending in its own tonic minor, but the Brahms Eb Rhapsody op. 119/4 qualifies. Even the Mahler 2nd progresses from the nominal minor mode (C minor) to the relative major (Eb) - a closely related key. A more radical procedure is in the Mahler 5, which begins in C# minor and ends in D major, a tonality that is completely unrelated. Same with the Mahler 9th, which begins in D and has its adagio finale in Db.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on November 24, 2010, 11:55:03 AM
Not the same thing at all as ending in a different tonic (an earlier example of which is the Chopin 2nd Ballade, which begins in F major and ends in A minor - which still is a related key).

Chopin was quite a trailblazer in this, even on a small scale . . . the a minor prelude actually begins in e minor.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on November 24, 2010, 12:03:41 PM
And Mahler's 2nd (c to Eb).

That's still a move to the relative major, one of the closest relations.

Nielsen's First opens in g minor . . . second movement in G, the parallel major . . . third movement in the "Schubertian" E-flat major (the flattened submediant).  The fourth movement, like the first, starts in g minor, though with a C major chord . . . which sets up the idea of concluding the piece with C as the tonic.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: The new erato on November 24, 2010, 12:05:28 PM
That's still a move to the relative major, one of the closest relations.

Nielsen's First opens in g minor . . . second movement in G, the parallel major . . . third movement in the "Schubertian" E-flat major (the flattened submediant).  The fourth movement, like the first, starts in g minor, though with a C major chord . . . which sets up the idea of concluding the piece with C as the tonic.

Pity Saul isn't here to explain all this stuff to us.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on November 24, 2010, 01:37:03 PM
Pity Saul isn't here to explain all this stuff to us.

We must soldier on somehow without him.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on November 24, 2010, 01:40:25 PM
Chopin was quite a trailblazer in this, even on a small scale . . . the a minor prelude actually begins in e minor.

Unless you want to think of that e minor as V in a minor. But however you do it, that piece certainly feels like one of Chopin's most harmonically unstable through most of its length. This is an interesting discussion:

http://www.scottdstrader.com/blog/ether_archives/000374.html
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on November 25, 2010, 08:17:33 AM
[ cross-post ]

This Thanksgiving season, I've sort of slouched into a Nielsen revival.  And last night I revisited the “Cantata rarities” Da Capo disc.

This morning, I've just listened (with score) to the First Symphony.  Really a marvelous symphony, especially for a first.  As a first, you expect it to owe something to certain composers as models . . . but Nielsen has already assimilated the craft, and the piece is entirely in his own voice.  He wrote this piece with the lean economies of Brahms, yet the material is by turns buoyant and fiery.

I think I shall likely have time to revisit De fire Temperamenter a little later today.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Superhorn on November 28, 2010, 08:06:01 AM
  Nielsen carried progressive tonality to the point that a movement,particularly in his later works,might end in a totally unrealted key. 
   The first movement of the 3rd begins in d minor,but ends in A major,which is very unorthodox. The 4th has no one key at all, and moves restlessly from one to another,achieving tonal stability only at climaxes.
  The 5th is in two movements,and the tonal center procedes in the first from roughly F to C to G,rising by fifths.
  The second begins in B major,proceding to F minor,F major, resuming B major and ultimately ending in E falt major, a key which had never previously been used !
   In Nielsen's music,tonality is extremely fluid and unfixed.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on December 31, 2010, 07:24:43 PM
Nielsen is one of those great early 20th Century composers who was still shaking off some of that Romantic residue to only, in turn, come up with some of the most incredible and inventive symphonic music of that century. I got into Nielsen the same time I got into Sibelius. Their music is like night and day. It's amusing they're lumped in with each other just because they both hail from Scandinavia. Anyway, Nielsen's six symphonies are masterpieces of the genre I think. They have this certain edginess to them that I find interesting. One of the most interesting aspects of Nielsen's music is how he is almost in constant motion and doesn't linger too long with one idea. It's as almost he has composer's ADD. :D I've really come to love his music and there's a lot of great stuff beyond the symphonies, which has already effectively been covered by other members.
Title: Gilbert and NYPO will record Nielsen
Post by: Brewski on June 10, 2011, 11:25:22 AM
Great news: Alan Gilbert and the NYPO will record Nielsen's six symphonies and three concertos, on Dacapo. From the press release:

"The New York Philharmonic, conducted by Music Director Alan Gilbert, The Yoko Nagae Ceschina Chair, will over several seasons perform and record the six symphonies and three concertos of Carl Nielsen (1865–1931) — the national composer of Denmark for release on Denmark’s Dacapo label. The soloists for the individual concertos — for flute, violin, and clarinet — will be Philharmonic Principal Flute Robert Langevin, Philharmonic Principal Clarinet Designate Ricardo Morales, and violinist Nikolaj Znaider. Each of the four discs will be released separately — the first, in the fall of 2012 — with all being integrated into a set in the fall of 2015 to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Nielsen’s birth; they will be distributed worldwide by the Naxos group."

Complete info (in PDF form) here (http://nyphil.org/newsroom/files/Nielsen%20Project%206.10.11.pdf).

--Bruce
Title: Re: Gilbert and NYPO will record Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 10, 2011, 06:23:21 PM
Great news: Alan Gilbert and the NYPO will record Nielsen's six symphonies and three concertos, on Dacapo. From the press release:

"The New York Philharmonic, conducted by Music Director Alan Gilbert, The Yoko Nagae Ceschina Chair, will over several seasons perform and record the six symphonies and three concertos of Carl Nielsen (1865–1931) — the national composer of Denmark for release on Denmark’s Dacapo label. The soloists for the individual concertos — for flute, violin, and clarinet — will be Philharmonic Principal Flute Robert Langevin, Philharmonic Principal Clarinet Designate Ricardo Morales, and violinist Nikolaj Znaider. Each of the four discs will be released separately — the first, in the fall of 2012 — with all being integrated into a set in the fall of 2015 to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Nielsen’s birth; they will be distributed worldwide by the Naxos group."

Complete info (in PDF form) here (http://nyphil.org/newsroom/files/Nielsen%20Project%206.10.11.pdf).

--Bruce

This is great news indeed. Will this be the first Gilbert-led NY Philharmonic commercial release?
Title: Re: Gilbert and NYPO will record Nielsen
Post by: jlaurson on June 11, 2011, 02:30:24 AM
This is great news indeed. Will this be the first Gilbert-led NY Philharmonic commercial release?

Well... great news for the NYPhil & Gilbert to do something interesting... whether it will improve on existing cycles is another question.
Gilbert has recorded more or less the whole season with the NYPhil, but they're only on-line / iTunes 'recordings', not hard-copy releases... so yes, it would be what we understand a first 'commercial release' to be.
Title: Re: Gilbert and NYPO will record Nielsen
Post by: DavidW on June 11, 2011, 03:22:41 AM
Well... great news for the NYPhil & Gilbert to do something interesting... whether it will improve on existing cycles is another question.
Gilbert has recorded more or less the whole season with the NYPhil, but they're only on-line / iTunes 'recordings', not hard-copy releases... so yes, it would be what we understand a first 'commercial release' to be.

That's terrible.  The majority of classical music listeners still prefer buying cds (actually the majority of music listeners as a whole still buy more cds than digital downloads), offering only downloads is flat out foolish.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on June 11, 2011, 03:40:07 AM
Well... great news for the NYPhil & Gilbert to do something interesting... whether it will improve on existing cycles is another question.

And, love Nielsen's music though I do, he's a composer now faded practically into antiquity.
Title: Re: Gilbert and NYPO will record Nielsen
Post by: jlaurson on June 11, 2011, 04:09:27 AM
That's terrible.  The majority of classical music listeners still prefer buying cds (actually the majority of music listeners as a whole still buy more cds than digital downloads), offering only downloads is flat out foolish.

No... it's not. It's just a different marketing angle and need not necessarily (as the Nielsen project shows) come at the expense of 'proper' distribution/format choices.

Nor is what you say true for all markets; LSO live, for example, sells more in digital format in the US than in hard-copy.

Nor would it be advisable to saturate the market with CDs of 'everything'. Really, who on earth would buy run-of-the-mill NYPhil concerts with Alan Gilbert on CD? No.... prudence on that front is surely warranted... and then release only something that is really thought out, has an angle, and hopefully the quality to withstand the competition while offering an interpretive-something-special.

The important stuff will, for the foreseeable future, still be issued on CDs also. [Which is good for me, because I don't do 'digital' yet. Just can't get excited or attached to files on my computer, even if great music hides behind them. Lack of sense of ownership, I reckon.]
Title: Re: Gilbert and NYPO will record Nielsen
Post by: DavidW on June 11, 2011, 04:41:13 AM
Nor is what you say true for all markets; LSO live, for example, sells more in digital format in the US than in hard-copy.

You've cherry picked a specific case, but overall it's something like 2/3 of the market are still cds.  And the erosion due to digital downloads is most likely less significant in the classical music sector given that arkivmusic still continues to exist and grow even in a recession despite being a cd store with a just few download options.

Quote
Nor would it be advisable to saturate the market with CDs of 'everything'. Really, who on earth would buy run-of-the-mill NYPhil concerts with Alan Gilbert on CD? No.... prudence on that front is surely warranted... and then release only something that is really thought out, has an angle, and hopefully the quality to withstand the competition while offering an interpretive-something-special.

I can say who on earth would buy run-of-the-mill NYPhil concerts with Albert Gilbert period!  If it's not a great performance, another format won't change that.  I don't see why itunes albums at $10 per is more worth it than a cd, it's not the price.  You could still spend that money on better recordings.  And that season pass is $150, that buys many high quality performances on itunes or cd.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DavidW on June 11, 2011, 04:46:01 AM
And I'll add that that itunes albums are not bargains.  Itunes is considered by many to be a cheap option simply because with pop music it allows customers to choose the 2-3 songs they like and pay for only those so that they have paid $2-3 for what they wanted instead of $10-17.  But for classical listeners we want entire albums, and many listeners also desire lossless audio.  And the fact is that amazon marketplace and ebay (and other sites) offer cds cheaper than albums on itunes.  This is why the majority of classical listeners (that pay for their music) are cd buyers.  You don't want to alienate that audience.  Not now at least.
Title: Re: Gilbert and NYPO will record Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 11, 2011, 05:44:56 AM
That's terrible.  The majority of classical music listeners still prefer buying cds (actually the majority of music listeners as a whole still buy more cds than digital downloads), offering only downloads is flat out foolish.

I agree they should have released some recordings already. Like you said, a lot of people still buy CDs, myself included, and would have liked to hear how Gilbert is doing with the NY Philharmonic.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 14, 2011, 05:15:10 PM
My goodness An Imaginary Journey to the Faroe Islands is a killer piece! Whew....
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DavidW on August 21, 2011, 04:58:47 AM
Bumped for Vesteralen. :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Vesteralen on August 21, 2011, 05:12:20 AM
Alex Ross about Nielsen in this week's The New Yorker:

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

I know this is old, but I love this article.  Thanks for linking it.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 21, 2011, 06:27:52 AM
I know this is old, but I love this article.  Thanks for linking it.

What are your favorite Nielsen works?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Vesteralen on August 21, 2011, 06:43:59 AM
What are your favorite Nielsen works?

I think I can truthfully say that I've never heard a Nielsen work I didn't like.  Of the symphonies, the Fifth has always seemed to me to be in a class by itself.  The Sixth is probably the one I have the least affection for at this point, but maybe I need to do some more concentrated listening.

The Maskerade and Helios Overtures, along with the Saga-Drom are special to me, and I love all the concertos.

Of all the Nielsens I've heard so far, only the String Quartets seem to be less than fascinating, but, again, I haven't given them the attention they probably deserve.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 21, 2011, 06:46:49 AM
I think I can truthfully say that I've never heard a Nielsen work I didn't like.  Of the symphonies, the Fifth has always seemed to me to be in a class by itself.  The Sixth is probably the one I have the least affection for at this point, but maybe I need to do some more concentrated listening.

The Maskerade and Helios Overtures, along with the Saga-Drom are special to me, and I love all the concertos.

Of all the Nielsens I've heard so far, only the String Quartets seem to be less than fascinating, but, again, I haven't given them the attention they probably deserve.

Those are all great works. I've never cared much for the 6th either. The 2nd, 4th, and 5th are my favorite Nielsen symphonies. Have you heard An Imaginary Journey to the Faroe Islands?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DavidW on August 21, 2011, 06:56:51 AM
Oh man I can't wait to listen to the Frost recording of the great clarinet concerto I have it on a nml playlist! :)

btw I stand with MI, my favorite symphonies are 2, 4 and 5. :)  But I like the clarinet concerto as much btw.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Vesteralen on August 21, 2011, 07:03:38 AM
Those are all great works. I've never cared much for the 6th either. The 2nd, 4th, and 5th are my favorite Nielsen symphonies. Have you heard An Imaginary Journey to the Faroe Islands?

It's on the 2CD Blomstedt EMI with the Concertos and other orchestral works.  I know I've played this many times, but I need to refresh my memory on this particular track.  I'll pull it out and play it later today after I get done with all the other stuff I have to do in the next few hours.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 21, 2011, 07:29:21 AM
It's on the 2CD Blomstedt EMI with the Concertos and other orchestral works.  I know I've played this many times, but I need to refresh my memory on this particular track.  I'll pull it out and play it later today after I get done with all the other stuff I have to do in the next few hours.

I prefer the Dausgaard performance to Blomstedt's. I have not heard Chung's performance (yet). Do you own this recording?



I highly recommend it. Some very enthusiastic, authentic performances of some of Nielsen's other orchestral works.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on August 21, 2011, 08:15:27 AM
I think I can truthfully say that I've never heard a Nielsen work I didn't like.

Likewise.

If you take the Sixth Symphony on its own terms, which is more like chamber music than like The Last Symphony Culminating a Cycle, I think it is easier to appreciate it as the work of audacious, assured genius that it is.  This is an iconic instance of Nielsen zigging where the expectation is a zag.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: karlhenning on August 21, 2011, 08:16:37 AM
Oh man I can't wait to listen to the Frost recording of the great clarinet concerto I have it on a nml playlist! :)

Truly an outstanding performance of a great, great piece!  You're entirely right: this concerto is as great as or greater than any of the symphonies!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: edward on August 21, 2011, 08:35:54 AM
I find the 6th symphony and the clarinet concerto both to be superlative works, and somewhat of a piece. They're great examples of how a comparatively conservative composer can turn an ambivalent attitude towards more modern styles and techniques into something just as radical as those, merely differently so. And of how the symphonic/chamber music dichotomy can be utterly transcended.

One of these days I'll get the Frost recording--the reviews have been too consistently ecstatic for me to pass it up forever, though the original Cahuzac is a remarkable document in itself.

FWIW, if I absolutely had to choose a favourite symphony, I'd probably choose 5>6>4>3; the first movement of the 5th is an absolutely phenomenal creation--and extremely radical in its own way as well. In fact, my biggest issue with the 5th is a sense that performances of it have to solve the same issue as those of Mahler's 9th--how do you balance the weights of the first and last movements? Good as Bernstein and Tuxen (my favourite recordings thus far) are, I don't feel that the last movement answers all the questions posed in the first. But maybe that's part of the point? The sidestepping of the argument of the first movement of the 6th symphony certainly is.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on August 21, 2011, 12:46:01 PM
I like the 6th Symphony and regard it as one of the greatest of the cycle (with 5 and 4).  In spirit it reminds me of Shostakovich's 15th Symphony - there is a kind of gallows humour in both works.  I think that the opening movement of the 6th Symphony is genuinely tragic. I also love the Faroes Islands piece, Helios and Saga Drom.  there is a fine old Unicorn LP/CD with Horenstein conducting Symphony No 5 (with a great/manic side-drummer) coupled with Saga Drom. I like the Alexander Gibson recordings of Nielsen.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Vesteralen on August 21, 2011, 12:52:46 PM
I prefer the Dausgaard performance to Blomstedt's. I have not heard Chung's performance (yet). Do you own this recording?

I highly recommend it. Some very enthusiastic, authentic performances of some of Nielsen's other orchestral works.

I saw this recording recommended earlier on this thread, but I don't have it.  Yet.  ;)

By the way, just a word of thanks for all the posts, old and new, on this thread.  I have to say that reading this thread (and a related link) has been the most enjoyable experience I've had yet on a classical music forum.  I know that not everybody loves Nielsen, or even gets him, but it's nice to know so many do.

I listened to the 'Imaginary Journey to the Faroe Islands' from the Blomstedt disc, and I'm sort of ashamed to say I didn't recognize it.  I guess I must have overlooked it in the past, for some odd reason.  Very nice.  I'm interested in hearing the version you recommended.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Vesteralen on August 21, 2011, 12:58:23 PM
there is a fine old Unicorn LP/CD with Horenstein conducting Symphony No 5 (with a great/manic side-drummer) coupled with Saga Drom. I like the Alexander Gibson recordings of Nielsen.

Is this the same record that was released in the US in the late sixties or early seventies on the Nonesuch (LP) label?  If so, it was the very first Nielsen work I listened to.  I don't know why it took me another twenty years or so to look into more of his works.

I've seen Horenstein's Fifth recommended earlier on this thread.  I'm guessing there was only the one recording, but I'm not sure.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on August 21, 2011, 01:39:00 PM
I have the studio recording (Unicorn) but there's also a live version on BBC Legends which I don't know (with Mahler Symphony 6).
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: eyeresist on August 21, 2011, 04:20:37 PM
I have yet to take to Nielsen, but I notice here there seems to be a consensus for the 5th as possibly the greatest of the cycle.  I have Jensen (rereleased on Eloquence) and the earlier Blomstedt, neither of which has sold me. Anyone want to play duelling recommendations? ;)
 
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 21, 2011, 06:19:12 PM
I saw this recording recommended earlier on this thread, but I don't have it.  Yet.  ;)

By the way, just a word of thanks for all the posts, old and new, on this thread.  I have to say that reading this thread (and a related link) has been the most enjoyable experience I've had yet on a classical music forum.  I know that not everybody loves Nielsen, or even gets him, but it's nice to know so many do.

I listened to the 'Imaginary Journey to the Faroe Islands' from the Blomstedt disc, and I'm sort of ashamed to say I didn't recognize it.  I guess I must have overlooked it in the past, for some odd reason.  Very nice.  I'm interested in hearing the version you recommended.

Nielsen's music is highly accessible to me. He is always direct and his music has purpose. Imaginary Journey to the Faroe Islands is a recent discovery of mine. I, too, have overlooked this work, but I'm glad I wised up and gave it a thorough listen, because it's become one of my favorite Nielsen pieces.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Lisztianwagner on January 18, 2012, 03:02:26 PM
Carl Nielsen was one of my main discoveries in 2011 and he quickly became one of my favourite composers :) His music sounds rather particular, with a style influenced both by the Russian tradition and the German atonality, but it is also incredibly powerful and passionate, showing a chromatic and expressive harmony, really very beautiful; it certainly touches my heart!
The symphonies, especially No.3 and No.4, are my favourite Nielsen's works, but other compositions I love are the Aladdin Suite, the Violin Concerto and the Maskarade Overture.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DieNacht on January 18, 2012, 10:28:56 PM
Quote
I have yet to take to Nielsen, but I notice here there seems to be a consensus for the 5th as possibly the greatest of the cycle.  I have Jensen (rereleased on Eloquence) and the earlier Blomstedt, neither of which has sold me. Anyone want to play duelling recommendations?
 

Nielsen 5 / Bernstein, NYPO. One of the essential 10 discs of symphonies from the 20th century, IMO. By far the most dramatic version, incredible string and wind playing, I haven´t heard the finale that good elsewhere. Blomstedt has stated that he strived for the string effects in Bernstein´s recording, but couldn´t succeed. Blomstedt´s 4th/decca is very good, though.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: jlaurson on January 18, 2012, 11:37:22 PM
I have yet to take to Nielsen, but I notice here there seems to be a consensus for the 5th as possibly the greatest of the cycle.  I have Jensen (rereleased on Eloquence) and the earlier Blomstedt, neither of which has sold me. Anyone want to play duelling recommendations? ;)

I like Kubelik / Danish RSO / EMI (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0018OAP6G/goodmusicguide-20), but am not sure if that'd be the version to 'wow' someone who doesn't already 'believe' in the symphony. And I've much enjoyed the recent LSO Live recording of it with Colin Davis (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B004DKDO3I/goodmusicguide-20).

I don't really know of an equivalent recording of the Fifth that parallels the one of the 2nd & 4th of Gould & Martinon (RCA) (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2007/01/best-recordings-of-2006.html)...


Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 19, 2012, 03:14:58 AM
I have yet to take to Nielsen, but I notice here there seems to be a consensus for the 5th as possibly the greatest of the cycle.  I have Jensen (rereleased on Eloquence) and the earlier Blomstedt, neither of which has sold me. Anyone want to play duelling recommendations? ;)

Bernstein's is the best Fifth.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 19, 2012, 03:21:19 AM
Is this the same record that was released in the US in the late sixties or early seventies on the Nonesuch (LP) label?

Yes. Horenstein's Nonesuch and Unicorn performances are one and the same.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: edward on January 19, 2012, 10:31:00 AM
I like Kubelik / Danish RSO / EMI (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0018OAP6G/goodmusicguide-20), but am not sure if that'd be the version to 'wow' someone who doesn't already 'believe' in the symphony. And I've much enjoyed the recent LSO Live recording of it with Colin Davis (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B004DKDO3I/goodmusicguide-20).

I don't really know of an equivalent recording of the Fifth that parallels the one of the 2nd & 4th of Gould & Martinon (RCA) (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2007/01/best-recordings-of-2006.html)...
Agree with those who're big admirers of Bernstein in the 5th, though I think the famous Tuxen live recording in Edinburgh may be even more electric. I don't find that either defines my view of the work in the way the CSO/Martinon Inextinguishable does, so I'm still looking for something different in the work--the Kubelik and Horenstein both intrigue me. (I've ended up not buying the Kubelik thus far because I have everything else on the 2-CD set.)

Revisited the Bryden Thomson recording of the 6th last night; I find the coupled 4th to be a bit of a turkey, but this 6th has to be one of the most underrated Nielsen recordings out there--the mix of innocence, nightmarish horror and bizarre humour is superbly projected here. Definitely my favourite reading of this--perhaps my favourite Nielsen symphony--thus far.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Scion7 on April 14, 2012, 03:28:55 PM
And, love Nielsen's music though I do, he's a composer now faded practically into antiquity.
Apparently not in Denmark, at least.

I've recently been giving his chamber pieces a spin again.  Some of them are quite good (and often a bit experimental.)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: lescamil on April 14, 2012, 03:49:11 PM
Saw Nielsen's Clarinet Concerto performed last night in the reduction for clarinet and piano in a brilliant performance by a few of my peers at my university. I am normally not a fan of reductions at all, but this gave a brand new perspective on the piece. The interplay between clarinet and piano was excellent and was more exciting than the version with orchestra we all know and love. I still like the orchestral version more (that's how it should be), but I have a new appreciation for what Nielsen did in that piece. Almost makes me wish he wrote a piano concerto.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 15, 2012, 05:22:47 AM
Yes, I've played it in that reduction. Great piece!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: calyptorhynchus on April 15, 2012, 03:11:50 PM
I have yet to take to Nielsen, but I notice here there seems to be a consensus for the 5th as possibly the greatest of the cycle.  I have Jensen (rereleased on Eloquence) and the earlier Blomstedt, neither of which has sold me. Anyone want to play duelling recommendations? ;)

The one I have in my collection is the Horenstein, which I think is very great. However, I had an LP recoridng from EMI Classics backs in the 80s with Paavo Berglund and the Bornemouth Symphony Orchestra that sold me on the symphony (and Nielsen) (+Robert Simpson's Radio Three talks). I assume it was released on disk at some stage.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on April 15, 2012, 10:22:57 PM
I have yet to take to Nielsen, but I notice here there seems to be a consensus for the 5th as possibly the greatest of the cycle. 

I'm not part of that consensus. For me Nielsen's fourth is the greatest of his symphonies.

From my point of view symphonies #2 and especially #3 are generally undervalued and symphony #5 is a bit overvalued if that is even possible with a symphonist as fine as Nielsen.

I have only one cycle (Leaper on Naxos). Other cycles might put these works in different light and even change the order. 
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: calyptorhynchus on April 23, 2012, 02:07:56 PM
Just listening to Maskarade, and remembering what a wonderful opera that is. I was listening to it late at night and unfortunately fell asleep at the end of Act 2 (a comment on my tiredness, not the music). Have to listen to Act 3 tonight.

 :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Scion7 on April 23, 2012, 11:36:52 PM
The best thing from Denmark since the cheese dessert!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: The new erato on April 24, 2012, 12:05:11 AM
For me Nielsen's fourth is the greatest of his symphonies.

For me too.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: calyptorhynchus on April 24, 2012, 02:56:57 PM
Ok, finished Maskarade and I remembered that when I have listened to it before I noticed that the third act has a problem. Found this again.

I know Nielsen himself was dissatisfied with the third act and wanted to revise it, but I don't think the problem is the music, it' s the libretto. I don't think there's enough wrapping up at the end, I want to know how Jeronimos, Magdelone and Leonard sort things out, I want to see more of the happy couples (Leander and Leonora, Herik and Perille), I want to see what happens to Arv.

Could this be be the only opera in the world that's too short?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Superhorn on April 25, 2012, 05:36:06 AM
  You have to get the terrific DVD of Maskarade from the Royal Danish opera in Copenhagen,
which fortunately has English substitles.  The production sets the action in the present day,
but with no damage to the opera .In fact, there are lots of clever bits made possible by
updating .  The entire cast seems to be having a ball , including the audience .
There's another DVD version, but it's from Austria and is in German, which I haven't seen.
   There are no international superstars in the Copenhagen performance, but the cast is
all Danish ,with one Norwegian, and still excellent. The conductor is Michael Schonwandt,
one of Denmark's leading conductors , and he does a terrific job .









 8)                                                          8)                                           8)                                                   8)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: eyeresist on April 25, 2012, 07:36:26 PM

So. The 6th symphony. Whose is best?

 Chung
 Blomstedt
 Schmidt
 Kuchar
 Saraste
 Jarvi
 Rozhdestvensky
 Etc. ...
 
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 25, 2012, 07:47:57 PM
So. The 6th symphony. Whose is best?

 Chung
 Blomstedt
 Schmidt
 Kuchar
 Saraste
 Jarvi
 Rozhdestvensky
 Etc. ...

For me, it's a toss-up between Blomstedt and Schonwandt. You can't go wrong with either IMHO.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen - Unicorn, Nonesuch vinyl LP's
Post by: Scion7 on April 25, 2012, 08:12:05 PM
(http://s14.postimage.org/m12kwx4zl/r_Nielsen_5th_Nonesuch_2_Unicorn.jpg)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: starrynight on April 26, 2012, 12:55:58 AM
Just my opinion but the problem with posting images alone with things is that the links eventually won't work and they won't convey any information at all.  Just a personal annoyance of mine.  :D
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Scion7 on April 26, 2012, 01:35:07 AM
(http://youknowyoucare.com/wp-content/gallery/queen/queen_elizabeth_ii.jpg)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DaveF on April 26, 2012, 01:41:53 AM
Well, I think you've managed to insult everyone by posting that image on a forum dedicated to matters of culture and taste!

And so as not to go completely off-message, I'd be interested in anyone's recommendations for a good Commotio (my fave, btw, is an old LP by Grethe Krogh Christensen).

DF
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: edward on April 26, 2012, 03:41:33 AM
So. The 6th symphony. Whose is best?

 Chung
 Blomstedt
 Schmidt
 Kuchar
 Saraste
 Jarvi
 Rozhdestvensky
 Etc. ...
I think the two 6ths I come back most to are two recordings from perhaps slightly surprising sources: Eugene Ormandy and Bryden Thomson. Both really bring home to me the intensity and taut structures of the first and third movements but are also fully alive to the bizarre humour that runs through the second and some of the fourth movement.

Re: Commotio, I'd be interested too; I've got the Kevin Bowyer recording on Nimbus which I've found very satisfying, but I don't know if there is better to be had.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: eyeresist on April 26, 2012, 04:41:25 PM
Listening to the Blomstedt Danish cycle while waiting for my Kuchar set to be delivered (if it ever is). I've read the 1st described as Brahms's 5th, but that only really works if you've never heard any other 19th century symphonies. It's more like Franck x Dvorak x Balakirev.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: calyptorhynchus on April 26, 2012, 08:01:47 PM
Listening to the Blomstedt Danish cycle while waiting for my Kuchar set to be delivered (if it ever is). I've read the 1st described as Brahms's 5th, but that only really works if you've never heard any other 19th century symphonies. It's more like Franck x Dvorak x Balakirev.

And don't forget Svendsen and Gade as influences.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: eyeresist on April 26, 2012, 08:23:31 PM
And don't forget Svendsen and Gade as influences.

I confess I don't know their symphonies.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DaveF on April 26, 2012, 11:06:18 PM
I've always heard the 1st as Berwald's 5th, with a dash of Svendsen's 3rd - the latter of which I believe really did exist, before becoming another of those Nordic symphonies that got chucked on the fire.
Title: Re: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 27, 2012, 02:15:41 AM
I confess I don't know their symphonies.

Leave it that way, is my opinion.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: The new erato on April 27, 2012, 02:19:53 AM
For those with and interest beyond the symphonies, this set is now cheaply available (cheapest on an ongoing offer on europadisc):



6 discs for the price of two midprice discs.

Believe me. There's plenty of wortwhile things here!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 27, 2012, 02:24:59 AM
For those with and interest beyond the symphonies, this set is now cheaply available (cheapest on an ongoing offer on europadisc):



6 discs for the price of two midprice discs.

Believe me. There's plenty of wortwhile things here!

Many thanks! I'm in.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Scion7 on April 27, 2012, 02:31:22 AM
Yes, Nielsen's chamber pieces are very good.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 27, 2012, 02:44:46 AM
The Wind Quintet was an instant classic, of course; the quartets I have long wanted to investigate, and this is an undeniably ripe opportunity.  I have a curious idea that I have heard one or more of the violin sonatas, but orchestrated . . . should investigate that, and may do so to-day . . . .
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: The new erato on April 27, 2012, 02:50:36 AM
There are also some works for solo violin that is very god - suprisingly so given that nobody seems to know them (I have that particular single disc from this set; exceedingly fine disc); and I really do like some of the piano works; unpretentious mainly, but utterly charming in the Springtime in Funen mould. I have the Roscoe set on Hyperion and like it a lot.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 27, 2012, 03:42:48 AM
Well, the composer was a violinist himself, and as the Concerto shows, he writes in strength there, especially.
 
Vol. I is on my wish list, but I am sow to act there, wondering if I really need another set of symphonies.  Vol. II, though, was clearly value added, so that was an easy button to mash : )
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DieNacht on April 27, 2012, 03:49:14 AM
I have a curious idea that I have heard one or more of the violin sonatas, but orchestrated . . . should investigate that, and may do so to-day . . . .
Correct, Nielsen´s fellow countryman Bo Holten has orchestrated the 2nd Violin Sonata; CD issue by Danacord
http://odensesymfoni.dk/Webnodes/da/Web/Odense+Symfoniorkester/SHOP/CD+Nielsen/Nielsen+Commotio+m.m.

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2002/Aug02/nielsencommotio.htm
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 27, 2012, 04:03:27 AM
Aye, that's a nice disc!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: eyeresist on April 30, 2012, 04:38:19 PM
Listening to a bit more Nielsen. I find it helps me to think of him as proto-Shostakovich - certainly for the late symphonies and clarinet concerto.


I have a question for the panel!

What do we think of Bostock's cycle? I understand that no-one considers it a first choice, but the Third Ear guide rates him well ahead of Schonwandt (much loved of MI and Classics Today).

I ask because I've discovered the set below, which includes not only the symphonies but also the concertos and major orchestral works, songs and some piano works, and it can be had for as little as $20 (inc. shipping).



(I will also mention this in the "Stuff I am thinking of buying" thread.)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 01, 2012, 03:01:42 AM
Never heard any of it, though such a box strikes me as a worthwhile risk at that price-point.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 01, 2012, 03:08:28 AM
In fact, that one practically belongs on The Super-Duper Cheap Bargains Thread. : )
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 01, 2012, 03:15:27 AM
Never heard any of it, though such a box strikes me as a worthwhile risk at that price-point.

I only know of it from the Hurwitzer's negative reviews of the symphonies (although he liked much of the "filler"--and it might be worth the price just for those short works--only 13 bucks! from a couple of Amazon sellers).

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 01, 2012, 03:24:40 AM
My thought exactly, Sarge! For $16, perfectly happy to fetch in such an abundance of Nielsen filler!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: eyeresist on May 10, 2012, 12:29:18 AM
Listening now to Bostock conducting the 1st symphony. I must say, this sounds so much more "right" than Blomstedt EMI, Schmidt or - dare I say it - Jensen. And the sound is lovely! Hopefully I have got my hands on what Hurwitz would call a "sleeper" :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 10, 2012, 12:54:54 AM
Listening now to Bostock conducting the 1st symphony. I must say, this sounds so much more "right" than Blomstedt EMI, Schmidt or - dare I say it - Jensen. And the sound is lovely! Hopefully I have got my hands on what Hurwitz would call a "sleeper" :)

I've heard two discs (the one with the Third and Fourth; and the one with the Flute Concerto) and my reaction is the same as yours. Loved both. Here's what I wrote in the Listening thread, a reply to Karl:

Good news, Karl. The two symphonies I've heard so far, Espansiva and Inextinguishable, are quite good...well, different anyway, and to me, different often means good 

As sometimes happens, what the Hurwitzer considers a negative, I consider a positive. This for example:

"His hasty accelerando over the powerful repeated chords leads to a main tempo that is apparently too fast for the orchestra to negotiate successfully. Consequently, the remainder of the movement is riddled with blurred articulation, hesitant entrances and insecure rhythms."

I didn't hear it that way. What I heard was a fascinating new way to play those opening chords. Something shockingly different. Yeah, the chords become a bit blurred as the acceleration reaches an insane pace, but man, does that launch the Allegro in a thrilling fashion. Too fast for a desert island pick or a library choice, maybe, but great fun to hear. Bostock has to brake pretty hard for the second subject but I like the extreme contrast. Gramophone noticed a lack of body in the strings and that too is a negative that I can turn into a positive: the strings don't swamp the rest of the orchestra (like in some Espansivas I know); there is great clarity in the other sections of the orchestra, especially the brass, which really pack a punch. The climax of the development, that fantastic waltz, is almost as good as Bernstein's or Kuchar's (even though at Bostock's tempo it would create chaos on the ballroom floor  ;D ). Both Andantes are on the CD: the original with soprano and tenor, and Nielsen's alternative orchestration for clarinet and trombone. That should interest you! I thought the tempo for the Finale utterly perfect.

So, 13 bucks already well spent, and I've only heard the first CD of ten

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: (: premont :) on May 10, 2012, 02:05:30 AM
Just my opinion but the problem with posting images alone with things is that the links eventually won't work and they won't convey any information at all.  Just a personal annoyance of mine.  :D


(http://youknowyoucare.com/wp-content/gallery/queen/queen_elizabeth_ii.jpg)

So this was meant to be the missing link?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: eyeresist on May 10, 2012, 05:31:21 PM
Just after my last post, I did worry that I may have been premature. Yep... I still haven't found the performances to convince me of these works, particularly 4 and 5. Next is a toss-up between Kuchar and Rozhdestvensky.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 15, 2012, 05:06:02 AM
I do not deny that the Sixth Symphony is somewhat enigmatic.  And yet, I've always liked it.

That said, one net result of those two proposals is, that I like the piece better with each hearing.  The theme and variations final movement is perhaps his most outrageous touch.  I am not sure just which I like better: the spare, almost Shostakovichian snare drum / xylophone / triangle / tuba variation, or the incongruously festive brass fanfare which breaks it up.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 15, 2012, 05:26:20 AM
Just after my last post, I did worry that I may have been premature. Yep... I still haven't found the performances to convince me of these works, particularly 4 and 5. Next is a toss-up between Kuchar and Rozhdestvensky.

The Fourth (the favorite of so many) didn't click with me for many, many years even though I tried all the recommended versions. It was the "unrecommended" Salonen that finally did it for me. Have you tried Bernstein's Fifth? If that doesn't convince you, you probably can't be convinced  ;D

Of course there is the possibility that you simply don't like the symphonies of Nielsen. I have nine cycles. If I only had one, and that one being my least favorite, I would still love the music. Even a bad performance wouldn't change that. That you remain unconvinced, even after so many attempts, says something, I think.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 15, 2012, 05:42:56 AM
I'm not sure why The Four Temperaments was an early "least fave" of the six.  Now, I still probably like most of the others better, arguably, but I've at last reached a place where I can let the second of the six be itself ; )
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 15, 2012, 05:57:22 AM
Listening to a bit more Nielsen. I find it helps me to think of him as proto-Shostakovich - certainly for the late symphonies and clarinet concerto.


I have a question for the panel!

What do we think of Bostock's cycle? I understand that no-one considers it a first choice, but the Third Ear guide rates him well ahead of Schonwandt (much loved of MI and Classics Today).

I ask because I've discovered the set below, which includes not only the symphonies but also the concertos and major orchestral works, songs and some piano works, and it can be had for as little as $20 (inc. shipping).



(I will also mention this in the "Stuff I am thinking of buying" thread.)

I only just got my feet wet, so to speak, with this set yesterday, with the admittedly modest, yet (as I find it) curiously touching Paraphrase on “Nearer, My God, to Thee”. Not surprisingly, just from the composer's piece, I picked up on the fact that the piece is meant as a reference to the Titanic . . . that fact, plus its being for wind band, a sound which plays upon the faint strings of early musical memory for me, has pried this miniature right in amongst me.

Quote from: Foreword to the Carl Nielsen Edition
On 14 April 1912 the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic after hitting an iceberg. The news shook the world, and the tale of how the ship’s small eight-member band played the hymn Nearer my God to Thee as the vessel sank went all around the globe. The Copenhagen Orchestral Society (Københavns Orkesterforening) quickly decided to mount a benefit concert for the families of the drowned musicians, and Nielsen agreed to compose a paraphrase of Nearer my God to Thee and to conduct the concert. He drew up a short score in pencil with a few indications for the instrumentation, which he then left to Julius Reesen to carry out. It is evident from the score that it was finished on 18 May. The concert should have taken place on 21 May in the old railway hall in Copenhagen, which the Falck emergency service had promised to convert for the occasion into a brand new concert hall, but the concert was cancelled because of the sudden death of King Frederik VIII on 14 May. At first the plan was simply to postpone the concert for about ten days, but afterwards the whole enterprise was shelved until further notice.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 15, 2012, 08:10:15 AM
Has anyone heard the g minor viola quintet (FS5)? Very early work, 1888 . . . .
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 15, 2012, 12:03:11 PM
I recently purchased this set:

(http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2002/Nov02/Nielsen_Jarvi.jpg)

I'm really, really looking forward to hearing these performances as this set has been under my radar for quite some time. It will be nice to have all of the concerti together as well. I've heard nothing but good things about these performances from Chung/Jarvi. Will this become my preferred cycle? Who knows.

Nielsen cycles I already own:

Blomstedt - Decca
Schonwandt - Dacapo
Kuchar - Brilliant Classics
Rozhdestvensky - Chandos
Salonen - Sony
Vanksa - BIS
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: The new erato on May 15, 2012, 12:16:09 PM
Has anyone heard the g minor viola quintet (FS5)? Very early work, 1888 . . . .
I'm waiting for the Danacord box where this is included. Shipped from europadisc in the UK today. :D
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: madaboutmahler on May 15, 2012, 12:29:04 PM
I shall be getting this as soon as possible!



My Nielsen collection is rather small, which is surprising considering that he is one of my favourite composers. So I am very keen to expand it.... and this recording has been recommended to me many times now! So I must get! :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: madaboutmahler on May 15, 2012, 12:31:09 PM
Salonen - Sony
Vanksa - BIS

What are these two like, John?

And, I do hope you enjoy the Chung! I remember now hearing an excerpt from his 5th, to be specific, it was the fugue from the finale, which sounded particularly excellent. I'd be interested to know what the whole set overall is like! :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: The new erato on May 15, 2012, 12:39:12 PM
I shall be getting this as soon as possible!



My Nielsen collection is rather small, which is surprising considering that he is one of my favourite composers. So I am very keen to expand it.... and this recording has been recommended to me many times now! So I must get! :)
Buy the same box as Karl Henning. For the price of two discs you get this + 5 others.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 15, 2012, 01:57:51 PM
What are these two like, John?

And, I do hope you enjoy the Chung! I remember now hearing an excerpt from his 5th, to be specific, it was the fugue from the finale, which sounded particularly excellent. I'd be interested to know what the whole set overall is like! :)

I liked the Salonen, disliked the Vanska. I can't remember the specifics of why I disliked the Vanska, but it seemed to me the performances weren't that energetic at all. The sound quality was also not as good as some of BIS' other productions, which, to me, was pretty surprising and disappointing.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 15, 2012, 01:59:04 PM
Looks like the Gilbert Nielsen cycle is in full-swing now:

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 15, 2012, 02:02:32 PM
I shall be getting this as soon as possible!



My Nielsen collection is rather small, which is surprising considering that he is one of my favourite composers. So I am very keen to expand it.... and this recording has been recommended to me many times now! So I must get! :)

Like Erato mentioned, you might as well buy the Dacapo Nielsen box set now. You'll not only have this Dausgaard recording, but also Schonwandt's fine Nielsen symphony cycle (on 4 CDs and 2 DVDs). If I had known Dacapo was coming out with this box set, I would have bought it instead of buying all the recordings individually. Now, you have the advantage of buying the box set.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: eyeresist on May 16, 2012, 12:50:38 AM
Of course there is the possibility that you simply don't like the symphonies of Nielsen. I have nine cycles. If I only had one, and that one being my least favorite, I would still love the music. Even a bad performance wouldn't change that. That you remain unconvinced, even after so many attempts, says something, I think.

That is the conclusion I have reached for the moment, I'm afraid. I listened through most of the Bostock box yesterday, becoming more and more irritated. Too much coffee didn't help, and Bostock may be partly to blame, but my current impression is that even in his inventive late stage I find Nielsen mostly dull and provincial. He has a small soul!  I'll try again in a couple of years....
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 16, 2012, 12:58:08 AM
....but my current impression is that even in his inventive late stage I find Nielsen mostly dull and provincial. He has a small soul!

Harsh!

But if that's the way you feel, yes, no point spending more money in a futile attempt to hear what the rest of us hear. Sorry it didn't work out for you.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 16, 2012, 01:17:14 AM
I'm waiting for the Danacord box where this is included. Shipped from europadisc in the UK today. :D

Of course! I should have guessed.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 16, 2012, 03:33:21 AM
. . . but my current impression is that even in his inventive late stage I find Nielsen mostly dull and provincial.

Well, along with Sarge, I am well content to give you space, and you’ve certainly made effort.

But on the lines of Benedick’s Postulate (Doth not the appetite alter?) . . . at some point, try not by assaying the whole box, but with, say, the Clarinet Concerto (a piece to which I hardly think the descriptors dull or soulless gain any purchase), whcih is particularly good in the Bostock box.

How I think of Nielsen is a little bit like:  If you took Bartók, and removed the paprika and the tendency to Romanticism, and substituted some of Ravel’s Swiss watch-making and some salted herring . . . .
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: snyprrr on May 16, 2012, 06:27:15 AM

How I think of Nielsen is a little bit like:  If you took Bartók, and removed the paprika and the tendency to Romanticism, and substituted some of Ravel’s Swiss watch-making and some salted herring . . . .[/font]

good one
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 16, 2012, 06:28:31 AM
The First Symphony, now . . . if Nielsen had been a one-symphony composer, and this one was it, I probably should not think nearly so highly of him. Or, if he'd written (say) four symphonies, and this was his peak.
 
But for the first of a set of six: what a jaw-droppingly strong piece!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DavidW on May 16, 2012, 06:38:20 AM
So favorite cycle now?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 16, 2012, 06:42:28 AM
The First Symphony, now . . . if Nielsen had been a one-symphony composer, and this one was it, I probably should not think nearly so highly of him. Or, if he'd written (say) four symphonies, and this was his peak.
 
But for the first of a set of six: what a jaw-droppingly strong piece!

Yeah, I remember Symphony No. 1 being very good for a first symphony. I think Nielsen was 22 or 23 years old when he composed it. I'm getting a kick out of Nielsen's non-symphonic works too like Imaginary Journey to the Faroe Islands, Helios Overture, Pan and Syrinx, the concerti, and Saga-drom. What cool works. When my Chung set arrives, I'm definitely going to be in a Nielsen phase.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 16, 2012, 06:43:23 AM
So favorite cycle now?

Don't know if you're talking to me, but, right now, mine are Blomstedt (Decca) and Schonwandt.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 16, 2012, 06:44:52 AM
So favorite cycle now?

The front rank is stiff with good ones! I've not yet finished my first survey through the Schønwandt, but that box is close to obligatory.  My ears' fondness for Blomstedt/SFSO and Thomson/RSO is undimmed.  Schmidt/LSO is not far behind.  I've not yet dug into the Bostock symphonies.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 16, 2012, 06:52:21 AM
So favorite cycle now?

Bernstein/Ormandy on the strength of their 2, 3, 5, and 6, followed by Kuchar and Schmidt. I have nine cycles. Haven't heard much of Chung/Järvi and none of Thomson's.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 16, 2012, 06:52:42 AM
That is the conclusion I have reached for the moment, I'm afraid. I listened through most of the Bostock box yesterday, becoming more and more irritated. Too much coffee didn't help, and Bostock may be partly to blame, but my current impression is that even in his inventive late stage I find Nielsen mostly dull and provincial. He has a small soul!  I'll try again in a couple of years....

One of the things I admire about Nielsen, besides the inventiveness of his melodies, harmonies, and rhythms,  is how structurally sound his music is. One wrong or misplaced note and the whole structure is screwed up! I admire his sense of 'symphonic architecture' for lack of a better term. If you don't care for his music, then nobody can really help you. Don't worry I've had the same reaction with a lot of composers most notably Holmboe and Weinberg. Their music does absolutely nothing for me. Nielsen was also known for his 'progressive tonality' which means starting in one key and ending in another if I can summarize it. This is why every symphony after the first isn't given a key. Anyway, he's a fascinating composer and one that I always end up returning to time and time again.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DieNacht on May 16, 2012, 07:04:12 AM
Chung is very good in Symphonies 2 & 3, my preferred recordings of those.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 16, 2012, 07:14:51 AM
Chung is very good in Symphonies 2 & 3, my preferred recordings of those.

I'm looking forward to hearing these. I've heard nothing but good things about all of Chung's Nielsen performances.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 16, 2012, 07:23:08 AM
Chung is very good in Symphonies 2 & 3, my preferred recordings of those.

Agree about 3 (the only one I've heard). It doesn't quite displace my favorites but it's definitely a great Espansiva.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DieNacht on May 16, 2012, 08:00:54 AM
Quote
Chung is very good in Symphonies 2 & 3, my preferred recordings of those.

In 2, there is of course also Morton Gould 8) but the slow movement with Chung for instance is great.
In 3, I like the monumental broadness of Chung.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 16, 2012, 08:06:25 AM
This recording looks interesting and it's one I've been looking at for years:



But the question is: how are the performances?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DieNacht on May 16, 2012, 08:11:42 AM
Both are really great and unusually passionate, quite unmissable, but one needs broader versions of the works as well (especially the 1st movement of the 4th Symphony and the slow of the 2nd, IMO).
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: madaboutmahler on May 16, 2012, 08:45:27 AM
I liked the Salonen, disliked the Vanska. I can't remember the specifics of why I disliked the Vanska, but it seemed to me the performances weren't that energetic at all. The sound quality was also not as good as some of BIS' other productions, which, to me, was pretty surprising and disappointing.

Sounds the complete opposite to what I have heard of his Sibelius cycle then! Thanks for the feedback, John. :)

Looks like the Gilbert Nielsen cycle is in full-swing now:



Heard about this cycle last summer, looks exciting!

Like Erato mentioned, you might as well buy the Dacapo Nielsen box set now. You'll not only have this Dausgaard recording, but also Schonwandt's fine Nielsen symphony cycle (on 3 CDs and 2 DVDs). If I had known Dacapo was coming out with this box set, I would have bought it instead of buying all the recordings individually. Now, you have the advantage of buying the box set.

I would love to own that set, as I also want those Schonwandt symphony recordings. As it's a little more expensive, I might have to wait a little longer.....

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: madaboutmahler on May 16, 2012, 08:46:49 AM
Yeah, I remember Symphony No. 1 being very good for a first symphony. I think Nielsen was 22 or 23 years old when he composed it. I'm getting a kick out of Nielsen's non-symphonic works too like Imaginary Journey to the Faroe Islands, Helios Overture, Pan and Syrinx, the concerti, and Saga-drom. What cool works. When my Chung set arrives, I'm definitely going to be in a Nielsen phase.

I have always loved the 1st symphony too, an extremely enjoyable piece.

Oh, I love those non-symphonic pieces you mention too. They show exactly how imaginative a composer Nielsen was. :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 16, 2012, 12:16:53 PM
I haven't listened to Nielsen much lately, in fact I think it has been years since I listened to the symphonies.  ??? I did listen to his String Quartets some time ago.

Nothing wrong with Carl Nielsen (one of my favorite composers). There is just so much music to listen to and so little time for it. Tangerine Dream, King Crimson and Carly Simon have "robbed" a lot listening time from other music!

Nielsen's violin, clarinet and flute concertos could be nice works to re-visit in the near future...
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: eyeresist on May 16, 2012, 06:25:14 PM
But on the lines of Benedick’s Postulate (Doth not the appetite alter?) . . . at some point, try not by assaying the whole box, but with, say, the Clarinet Concerto (a piece to which I hardly think the descriptors dull or soulless gain any purchase), whcih is particularly good in the Bostock box.

I certainly will return to Nielsen at some point, but in the meantime - there's Hartmann!

So I'll see you fellows in a couple of years....


* Receding footsteps. Door opens and shuts. Silence. *
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DieNacht on May 16, 2012, 11:09:26 PM
Quote
Chung is very good in Symphonies 2 & 3, my preferred recordings of those.

Re-heard the Nielsen 2nd with Chung and Morton Gould. I must say that Gould is now my favourite, but that the "Andante Malincolico" should be slower at times, IMO. 

Chung in the 3rd "Espansiva" however remains my favourite, a monumental and broad reading, yet with plenty of drive and sense of line, with great sound and playing. He has also recorded a very good "Aladdin"-suite and a great Clarinet Concerto with Schill.



Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 17, 2012, 04:34:47 AM
I certainly will return to Nielsen at some point, but in the meantime - there's Hartmann!

Hartmann? I'm in! (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,9.msg630115.html#msg630115)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 17, 2012, 04:47:50 AM
Chung in the 3rd "Espansiva" however remains my favourite, a monumental and broad reading, yet with plenty of drive and sense of line, with great sound and playing. He has also recorded a very good "Aladdin"-suite and a great Clarinet Concerto with Schill.

I'll have to give Chung a listen...it's been a few years.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 01, 2012, 10:05:01 AM
TTT
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DieNacht on June 02, 2012, 12:40:41 AM
I might be wrong, but there hasn´t been much discussion of the piano works here, has there ?

The "Chaconne" for instance is a fine work, and performances are very different from each other; the "Symphonic Suite", "Theme and Variations", and "Humoresque Bagatelles" are likewise fine, whereas I haven´t digged much into the late "3 Piano Pieces" yet, apparently some of his most experimental works ...

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: edward on June 03, 2012, 06:42:29 AM
I might be wrong, but there hasn´t been much discussion of the piano works here, has there ?

The "Chaconne" for instance is a fine work, and performances are very different from each other; the "Symphonic Suite", "Theme and Variations", and "Humoresque Bagatelles" are likewise fine, whereas I haven´t digged much into the late "3 Piano Pieces" yet, apparently some of his most experimental works ...
The Andsnes disc of solo piano works is essential listening as far as I'm concerned (particularly for the "Lucifer-Suite" and the late Three Piano Pieces). Also on this disc are the Chaconne and some early works. I'm in the dark as to the best recording of the Theme and Variations, though (I've been at least vaguely interested by Roscoe on Hyperion and the reiussed Koppel in the new DaCapo box set). I don't think the Naxos recordings with Peter Seivewright can be regarded as competitive, though.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 04, 2012, 09:48:51 AM
Hm, I know I've got a disc of piano works at home, not sure who the pianist is.
 
Nor have I yet gotten to the piano discs in The Masterworks, Vol. 2 box — a stunner so far (I inhaled the vn-&-pf and vn solo disc, and just started in on the string quartets).
 
When I pre-ordered Vol. 2, the price was $28.82, which had been perfectly fair.  In the event, I was charged $14.50 for the box — and since the pre-order price qualified for the free shipping, Amazon honored that.
 
What the performances in this box demonstrate, is that Nielsen was an artist somewhat in the technical mold of Brahms — I mean, that even his earliest works (allowing for the fact that the first quartet [FS4] underwent some revision a decade after originally composed, and was subsequently published as his Op.13 [the second quartet had been published as Op.5]) show not merely assurance, but mastery.  It is exciting to hear the players treat this music as 'seriously' as the later oeuvre.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Leon on June 04, 2012, 10:39:59 AM
The Andsnes disc of solo piano works is essential listening as far as I'm concerned (particularly for the "Lucifer-Suite" and the late Three Piano Pieces). Also on this disc are the Chaconne and some early works. I'm in the dark as to the best recording of the Theme and Variations, though (I've been at least vaguely interested by Roscoe on Hyperion and the reiussed Koppel in the new DaCapo box set). I don't think the Naxos recordings with Peter Seivewright can be regarded as competitive, though.

There are several complete recordings of the piano music on Spotify - one by Christina Bjorkoe, another one by Elizabeth Westenholz, a third by Anne Oland, and the one  by Herman Koppel.

I plan on listening to works from these four sets.

 :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: nico1616 on June 04, 2012, 01:01:22 PM
As much as I would like to be enthousiastic about Nielsen, I can not find the key to his music. I have tried some movements of his symphonies (Blomstedt's 5th and 6th on Decca), but I can not get a grip on the overall structure. The music seems so fragmented, and I can not find any big tune nor an attractive melodic figure.
Loving the symphonies of Sibelius, I had always thought Nielson could be something for me. Or are there no similarities whatsoever between the two composers?

Any recommendation where I should start, my preference would be a symphony. Which of them is the most accessible for a newbie?

Thanks in advance,
Nico
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 04, 2012, 04:18:50 PM
As much as I would like to be enthousiastic about Nielsen, I can not find the key to his music. I have tried some movements of his symphonies (Blomstedt's 5th and 6th on Decca), but I can not get a grip on the overall structure. The music seems so fragmented, and I can not find any big tune nor an attractive melodic figure.
Loving the symphonies of Sibelius, I had always thought Nielson could be something for me. Or are there no similarities whatsoever between the two composers?

Any recommendation where I should start, my preference would be a symphony. Which of them is the most accessible for a newbie?

Thanks in advance,
Nico

I don't think Nielsen is all too difficult to understand. I guess it's all a matter of if you're in-tune with his overall aesthetic or not. I would start with Symphony No. 2 "The Four Temperaments" or Symphony No. 4 "The Inextinguishable". I like all of Nielsen's symphonies, but these seem like approachable works for the newcomer. Also, the Violin Concerto and Imaginary Journey to the Faroe Islands are great places to start. I don't think Nielsen and Sibelius share that many similarities, but then again these are the same people lump Bruckner with Mahler or Debussy with Ravel. These composers couldn't be any more different from the other.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 05, 2012, 05:08:46 AM
Nico, you've got me a bit confused: I find attractive melody a-plenty in all of Nielsen's work!
 
But in a sense you are certainly right:  he isn't a Big Tune guy in the way that either Sibelius or Rakhmaninov is; he is more a Motive-and-Unfolding-Development composer, more like Beethoven or (better) Brahms.
 
Have you tried the Fourh Symphony, Det uudslukkelige?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 05, 2012, 05:13:35 AM
The Andsnes disc of solo piano works is essential listening as far as I'm concerned (particularly for the "Lucifer-Suite" and the late Three Piano Pieces). Also on this disc are the Chaconne and some early works.

My disc at home is Enid Katahn (http://www.amazon.com/Carl-Nielsen-Music-Solo-Piano/dp/B00005YO28/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1338905421&sr=1-1-catcorr):

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/610ElEkAcuL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

A bit annoying that the CD is just six tracks: one big track for (e.g.) the Theme & Variations, Op.40.

Andsnes is certainly a ready temptation . . . .
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on June 05, 2012, 08:39:18 AM
Loving the symphonies of Sibelius, I had always thought Nielson could be something for me. Or are there no similarities whatsoever between the two composers?

To me Nielsen and Sibelius are quite different composers. Nielsen's Helios Overture, Op. 17 is perhaps a bit Sibelius-like...

Any recommendation where I should start, my preference would be a symphony. Which of them is the most accessible for a newbie?

Hard to know what you find accessible but number 4 is my favorite of Nielsen's symphonies and the first one I heard. My jaw dropped on the floor when I heard it.

Number 2 recommended by Mirror Image is a good starting point too but number 4 is a better symphony.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 05, 2012, 09:50:48 AM
I probably need a Nielsen opera fête.
Title: Re: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 05, 2012, 09:52:29 AM
Number 2 recommended by Mirror Image is a good starting point too but number 4 is a better symphony.

FWIW, I took to N° 4 right away; it was a while before I really warmed to N° 2.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: The new erato on June 05, 2012, 10:08:34 AM
I probably need a Nielsen opera fête.
If you haven't heard them, ou do. They are both very fine - and totally Nielsenesque.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: nico1616 on June 05, 2012, 12:07:50 PM
Thanks for all the information and recommendations  :)
I will go for symphony n°4. conducted by Bernstein as it is included in my 60cd symphony boxset.

I will let you know if I get it this time :D


Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 05, 2012, 12:19:57 PM
Thanks for all the information and recommendations  :)
I will go for symphony n°4. conducted by Bernstein as it is included in my 60cd symphony boxset.

I will let you know if I get it this time :D

Since you have that Bernstein symphony set, listen to his other Nielsen symphony performances. He did the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th. All exemplary performances.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 06, 2012, 08:12:44 AM
There are several complete recordings of the piano music on Spotify - one by Christina Bjorkoe, another one by Elizabeth Westenholz, a third by Anne Oland, and the one  by Herman Koppel.

Koppel is the one included in this box:



I listened yesterday to Enid Katahn (http://www.amazon.com/Carl-Nielsen-Music-Solo-Piano/dp/B00005YO28/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1338905421&sr=1-1-catcorr), and was enchanted. What took me so long to listen to this disc?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/610ElEkAcuL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I had meant to listen to Koppel to-day, for comparison . . . only it has become a Dvořák day for me . . . .
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 06, 2012, 11:26:45 AM
Must say that my impression of Koppel in the Th & Vars, Op.40 is, that he plays it rather stiff and mannered, compared to the at times delicate, and always lyrical account that Katahn gives out.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: nico1616 on June 06, 2012, 12:48:37 PM
Since you have that Bernstein symphony set, listen to his other Nielsen symphony performances. He did the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th. All exemplary performances.

I will certainly do that! Until now I only explored the Beethoven and Mahler symphonies in that Bernstein box set.
My first listenings to Nielsen's 4th leave a very positive impression, certain passages remind me of the interludes in Britten's Peter Grimes, which I love.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 06, 2012, 01:48:23 PM
I will certainly do that! Until now I only explored the Beethoven and Mahler symphonies in that Bernstein box set.
My first listenings to Nielsen's 4th leave a very positive impression, certain passages remind me of the interludes in Britten's Peter Grimes, which I love.

Good to hear, Nico. My suggestion is keep on listening. 8)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 08, 2012, 05:14:00 AM
Overall, my only complaint with the piano music is, that there is so little of it.

Some of it is, necessarily, teaching music, or trifling, or just plain early; but the best of it is rich and masterly.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DieNacht on June 08, 2012, 06:21:06 AM
I agree about the Koppel Dacapo set of the piano works being not among the best. There are some earlier recordings by Koppel from his younger years too, and they might be better, though sonically poor; it´s been a long time since I heard a bit of those, and my taste is no doubt different now. Koppel studied briefly with Nielsen.

Am giving an old LP with Ogdon a listen, from 1968 and apparently not released on CD (?). The sound is very good, and he has managed to put 4 of the 5 most important works on just one LP.

(http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NzY4WDEwMjQ=/$(KGrHqZHJCEE63(UScHEBO3YpBQ,+Q~~60_35.JPG)

He has plenty of ideas in the Suite op.45 which is very fine, varied and quite modernistic in Ogdon´s version. As a pianist, he can be too hard-punching now and then (as heard in Liszt IMO), but not here, where he is being poetic and enigmatic. The Finale could be a bit faster perhaps. In the Chaconne op.32, he lacks the hypnotic and melodical intensity found in some other recordings, IMO. The Suite op.8 and the late 3 Piano Pieces next ...
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DieNacht on June 08, 2012, 09:40:59 PM
(http://a3.mzstatic.com/us/r1000/043/Music/34/60/35/mzi.mcypjwkq.170x170-75.jpg)

This is a fine release by the sprawling, unpredictable Classico label, "Carl Nielsens Lys" / "The Light of Carl Nielsen". Here they can often be found on sales at very modest prices & I can heartily recommend it. Allegedly the pianist, Tomoko Takanashi, travelled to Odense in Denmark from Japan to study Nielsen, and she has since then made a career as a performer of contemporary musc. The programme is varied and includes some Ruders, Abrahamsen (whose 7 studies have since been expanded as a set), and the lesser known Rovsing Olsen.
By Nielsen there is a superb Chaconne, one of the absolutely best I´ve heard, very idiomatic yet emotional. It only lasts 9:30 as opposed to Ogdon´s 10:15. Also the 3 Piano Pieces show a lot of technical surplus from the pianist, making the music even more interesting and structured.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DieNacht on June 09, 2012, 12:38:01 AM
(http://www.shugarecords.com/images/products/large/21a2daa0-92d7-4683-8e2a-b28908286c99-0.JPG)

Due to a traffic accident, I have plenty of listening time ...

The old Koppel mono LP on the local Odeon label has Nielsen´s "Symphonic Suite" op.8 and the "Theme & Variations" op.40. Overall I find it quite good. Koppel´s piano playing style was often a bit sketchy, but vital (his recording of his 3rd piano Concerto on an old DMA stereo LP with Neumann/DNRSO is probably the highlight of his discography, though). In the "Theme & Variations", he is quick too; the piece lasts only 15:20. But he is able to make the piano sing, and the often swift tempi give some unusual facets to the work. In the "Symphonic Suite", his sense of momentum in such a heavy, Brahms-sounding work probably makes the work more attractive than with Ogdon.

The LP also contains "The Fog is lifting" with Gilbert Jespersen, and "2 Phantasy Pieces" for oboe and piano, with Koppel and Valdemar Wolsing, a member of the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra who frequented a record shop I was once working in - with a distinguished, very Alec Guinness/George Smiley like appearance, buying only Schubert and Schumann LPs.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DieNacht on June 10, 2012, 01:26:23 AM
(http://i.ebayimg.com/t/NIELSEN-Piano-Works-vol-1-2-ARNE-SKJOLD-RASMUSSEN-Fona-TF-115-116-Danish-2-LP-/00/s/NjgwWDEwMjQ=/$(KGrHqJ,!jgE6mDoy!InBOvl9JCGGw~~60_35.JPG)

The Skjold Rasmussen LP set (1968) was for long the only "complete piano works" set and was widely recommended in various comparative reviews. The original release on the local Fona LP label (2 LPs) was supplemented with a Vox Box release on 3 LPs; perhaps the sound is a bit more spacious there. Generally, the sound lacks some subtlety if compared to later recordings, but Skjold Rasmussen (1921-1980) plays in a thoughtful and often nuanced way, more interesting than I remember from my hearings long time ago.

(http://www.lpcorner.com/img/p/1/5/4/0/1540-thickbox.jpg)
 
(http://www.lpcorner.com/img/p/1/5/4/2/1542-thickbox.jpg)

The decca 2LP set with the complete piano works played by the composer-pianist John McCabe (1975) is my overall favourite among the versions I know. The lovely photos are from the "Den Gamle By" open-air-museum in Århus. The piano sound is better than with Skjold Rasmussen, and McCabe has a lot to say, both s regards lyricism, humour ("Humoresque Bagatelles") and dramatic contrasts. The set also includes the charming, tiny "Dance of the Lady´s Maidens" (1910) for piano. I find it strange that such a good version hasn´t been released on CD (?), also considering Nielsen´s relative popularity in Great Britain. There´s a fine article on McCabe at music-web also referring to his Nielsen experiences:

http://www.musicweb-international.com/SandH/2009/Jul-Dec09/mccabe_interview.htm

(...I discovered Nielsen because I used to go and stay with an Uncle and some cousins (...) He had some LPs and one of them was a 10” Decca LP of Nielsen’s Chaconne (...) ... played by France Ellegaard on DECCA LW 5051 – recorded in June 1953 (...). ... I played the Chaconne and I was hooked. Chaconne’s a great piece, I played it again this year. I did it for my degree, against protests from the authorities, who wanted a romantic piano piece. What they meant was a Chopin Ballade, or something like that, but I always said that I wanted to do the Nielsen. My piano teacher, Gordon Green, borrowed my copy for a week and said “Yes, I think this would suit you, and be good for you, and I’ll support you”. He learned it in that week, not well enough to perform it but he understood it and that’s a great teacher. He just didn’t rely on the stuff that was already known, as a lot of them do.")
 


I haven´t heard Øland´s set; she may have produced some good recordings, but everything I´ve heard with her I found very uninspired; Seivewright on naxos generally had poor reviews. Bjørkøe is one of the best and most ambitious among the younger Danish pianists and better than Gislinge IMO. I haven´t heard Martin Roscoe or Nina Miller either, and the above-mentioned Enid Katahn was even totally unknown to me. I do have Andsnes and will give it a spin later on.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: edward on June 10, 2012, 07:24:25 AM
From what I've heard of McCabe--another of those underrated British pianists--as performer, I'm not surprised he'd be your favourite integrale. It's a great shame that it's not available on CD.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DieNacht on June 10, 2012, 08:09:08 AM
It turns out that some Ogdon and Skjold Rasmussen is on you-tube, among others.

Should someone find merits in other recordings - including Øland - it would be interesting to hear.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: The new erato on June 25, 2012, 03:22:40 AM
Interesting views on the Nielsen 3rd:

http://www.gramophone.co.uk/blog/the-gramophone-blog/re-thinking-nielsen%E2%80%99s-centennial-symphony?utm_source=Silverpop&utm_medium=EMAIL&utm_campaign=GRAM%20ENews%20Bulletin%20(25.06.2012)&utm_content=article8_headline (http://www.gramophone.co.uk/blog/the-gramophone-blog/re-thinking-nielsen%E2%80%99s-centennial-symphony?utm_source=Silverpop&utm_medium=EMAIL&utm_campaign=GRAM%20ENews%20Bulletin%20(25.06.2012)&utm_content=article8_headline)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Superhorn on June 26, 2012, 05:49:57 AM
    I got to know the piano music of Nielsen long ago  on a Vox  LP set by  a now  obscure  Danish pianist by the name of
 Arne Skjold Rasmussen , who knew and worked with the composer himself.    He appears to have been a tererific pianist
and an authoritative interpreter of his piano works.  This set should be reissued on CD as soon as possible, and if it does, grab it !
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 26, 2012, 06:27:07 AM
Interesting views on the Nielsen 3rd:

http://www.gramophone.co.uk/blog/the-gramophone-blog/re-thinking-nielsen%E2%80%99s-centennial-symphony?utm_source=Silverpop&utm_medium=EMAIL&utm_campaign=GRAM%20ENews%20Bulletin%20(25.06.2012)&utm_content=article8_headline (http://www.gramophone.co.uk/blog/the-gramophone-blog/re-thinking-nielsen%E2%80%99s-centennial-symphony?utm_source=Silverpop&utm_medium=EMAIL&utm_campaign=GRAM%20ENews%20Bulletin%20(25.06.2012)&utm_content=article8_headline)

Thank you for that article. I feel vindicated  ;D  It's not often I find someone who agrees with me about Blomstedt's Third. Worst interpretation I know. He just smashes his way through the first movement with no feeling.

On the other hand, I'm not of fan of Schonwandt's Third either. Salonen's not bad (and I don't know Saraste or Horenstein...didn't even realize there was a Horenstein recording although his Fifth is a favorite). The Thirds I like best are Bernstein, Kuchar, Schmidt, Frandsen and, surprisingly, Bostock. Rozhdestvensky is interesting too; massive...as if Celi or old Klemp were conducting.

Sarge
.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 26, 2012, 06:34:35 AM
. . . The Thirds I like best are Bernstein, Kuchar, Schmidt, Frandsen and, surprisingly, Bostock.Sarge

But the Bostock substitutes instruments for the soli voices, yes, Sarge? (A bit strange that I've not yet visited the symphonies in this box.)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 26, 2012, 06:38:39 AM
But the Bostock substitutes instruments for the soli voices, yes, Sarge? (A bit strange that I've not yet visited the symphonies in this box.)

Yes and no. He gives both versions. The instrumental version is included after the last movement as a supplement and bonus.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 26, 2012, 07:55:31 AM
Yes and no. He gives both versions. The instrumental version is included after the last movement as a supplement and bonus.

Sarge

Perfect! For I am curious to hear the senza voci version, and yet, felt that taking away the voices was robbery . . . . : )
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DavidRoss on June 28, 2012, 05:31:46 AM
A contrarian note: I like Blomstedt's 3rd and prefer it and Salonen's to Bernstein's. Lenny's much too pumped up for my tastes.

And I like Schønwandt's, too. Perhaps there's a reason "the crowd of experienced Nordic music professionals gathered at the offices of Denmark’s state broadcaster" disagreed with the Englishman Mellor's assessment, along with his friend "Mats Engström (who has actually played the piece)" -- they're Scandinavians, like Nielsen, Schønwandt, and Blomstedt (despite his American birth). What might seem underplayed to some could well seem excessive to Scandinavian sensibilities. (Fair disclosure, FWIW: one of my grandparents was Swedish, another a Dane. ;^) ).
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 28, 2012, 05:48:02 AM
A contrarian note: I like Blomstedt's 3rd and prefer it and Salonen's to Bernstein's. Lenny's much too pumped up for my tastes.

Why am I not surprised? :D ;)

Edit: although now that I think about it, you're really not a contrarian here, David. Lenny's Espansiva isn't mentioned often by anyone but me. The author of the article ignores it. Most of the comments ignore it. In this forum Karl has spoken disparagingly of it. If I didn't know better, I would think Blomstedt is the only conductor who's done decent Nielsen in that it's so often mentioned as the best with little disagreement. You are firmly with the majority. (For the record: I like his 1, 2, and 6; 4 & 5, not so much; and really dislike 3).

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 28, 2012, 06:28:37 AM
Oh, gosh, have I heard and disparaged Lenny's Espansiva, and I forgot? Eek.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 28, 2012, 06:31:52 AM
Oh, gosh, have I heard and disparaged Lenny's Espansiva

Alas, yes  :'(  You didn't like it from the get go, literally  :D : you thought the opening chords sloppily played, not in unison.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on September 28, 2012, 02:29:55 PM
Bought this one today:



Looks like this will be a promising Nielsen series. We need another cycle. I agree with Gilbert when he said "Nielsen isn't a household name, but should be."
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DavidRoss on September 29, 2012, 04:52:59 AM
Now released as a set including other orchestral music, this is a steal!

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DavidRoss on September 29, 2012, 04:55:36 AM
And this is none too shabby!

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Scarpia on October 24, 2012, 10:30:52 AM

The one item I did receive in the i-Deals incident was Vanska's Nielsen cycle.  I had no idea it existed.



For some reason, the Amazon listing seems incomplete and gets lost in searches.  It looks like this:

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_250/MI0003/120/MI0003120862.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

Most of it is with the BBC, but it strikes me as being very similar in character to the Vanska Sibelus cycle.  So far I've listened to the recording of the 1st symphony, and found it very satisfying.




Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: ChamberNut on February 18, 2013, 03:56:53 PM
All Maiden Monday Listens! (works and recordings)

Nielsen

Aladdin Suite
Symphonic Rhapsody
Overture "Helios", Op. 17
Cupid and the Poet: Orchestral Suite
Paraphrase on "Nearer, My God, To Thee"
Andante Tranquillo E Scherzo for String Orchestra


Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

*Concerto for Flute and Orchestra
Pan and Syrinx, Op. 49
Suite for String Orchestra, Op. 1
At The Bier of A Young Artist
Bohemian-Danish Folk Songs

Rune Most, flute

Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice

Douglas Bostock, conducting

Membran Music



Impressions:  Outstanding.  I'm floored!  Terrific music.  And I was shocked by the loud crash about 3 minutes in "Paraphrase on 'Nearer, My God, To Thee'"  :o
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 18, 2013, 04:19:15 PM
Outstanding, Ray!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 20, 2013, 08:38:43 AM
Cor, and you're reminding me, Ray, that I've not yet listened to the symphonies from that Bostock box . . . .
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: ChamberNut on February 20, 2013, 10:05:42 AM
Based on my recent interest in Nielsen's music, can someone send forth recommendations for Nielsen's complete string quartets?

Merci bien!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 20, 2013, 10:08:46 AM
Based on my recent interest in Nielsen's music, can someone send forth recommendations for Nielsen's complete string quartets?

Merci bien!

Included in this table-pounder:

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: ChamberNut on February 20, 2013, 10:09:59 AM
Included in this table-pounder:



Fast work, Karl.  Many thanks!  :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: calyptorhynchus on August 10, 2013, 03:58:30 PM
I'm looking for a recommendation for a CD or two of Nielsen's songs. What is the best recital (in terms of which songs and best singing) available? NB must have the lyrics and translations.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: snyprrr on August 12, 2013, 04:49:27 AM
Based on my recent interest in Nielsen's music, can someone send forth recommendations for Nielsen's complete string quartets?

Merci bien!

Too late?

Frankly, the last one is the only one that does anything for me really. Why not just start with the Oslo SQ (Naxos) Vol.1,... otherwise,... get Vol.2 also!!! 8) So,... I'm saying the Oslo SQ is the way to go... I'd pick up their Naxos of 'Norwegian String Quartets' too, which I do like better than the Nielsen (Nielsen just sounds like Haydn to me here... no offence, he just straddles that place between conservative/modern with a nod to the conservative (he's not Janacek here!!).
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 12, 2013, 04:58:57 AM
Well, he needn't be Janáček, of course.

And as far as I am concerned, likening him to Haydn is essentially praise.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: snyprrr on August 12, 2013, 01:14:48 PM
Well, he needn't be Janáček, of course.

And as far as I am concerned, likening him to Haydn is essentially praise.

I kneeew you would! ;)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: ChamberNut on August 12, 2013, 02:00:11 PM
I've been really digging (first listens) to some of Nielsen's solo piano music.  Terrific music!
Title: Re: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 12, 2013, 03:13:17 PM
I've been really digging (first listens) to some of Nielsen's solo piano music.  Terrific music!

Yes! Especially the Chaconne.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: The new erato on August 12, 2013, 09:22:10 PM
I'm looking for a recommendation for a CD or two of Nielsen's songs. What is the best recital (in terms of which songs and best singing) available? NB must have the lyrics and translations.
There's not many. DaCapo has an Inga Nielsen (IIRC) disc that is good and very well documented. It has been seen on various sales the last years, I bought mine around 2 years ago for around 5 £ on a Danish music buying binge.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: calyptorhynchus on August 13, 2013, 01:12:02 PM
Thanks Erato, I'll give it a try.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: ChamberNut on June 12, 2014, 02:40:49 PM
Having me a some Nielsen!  :)

Nielsen

Aladdin Suite
Symphonic Rhapsody
Overture "Helios", Op. 17
Cupid and the Poet: Orchestral Suite
Paraphrase on "Nearer, My God, To Thee"


Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Douglas Bostock, conducting

Piano Music

Five Piano Pieces, Op. 17
Symphonic Suite, Op. 8
Humoresque Bagatelles, Op. 11
Festive Prelude
Drommen Om "Glade Jul"
Chaconne, Op. 32
Theme with Variations, Op. 40


Anne Oland, piano

Membran Music


Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 13, 2014, 03:49:28 AM
Excellent, Ray!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on March 19, 2015, 02:07:31 PM

I have not heard a better performance of Nielsen's 5th Symphony, arguably one of the very greatest symphonies of the 20th Symphony. In particular the climax of the first movement, with its dramatically anarchic rogue side drum, has never sounded more exciting and the resolution of the first movement has a sense of triumphant catharsis unlike any other recorded performance known to me ( and I have multiple copies of this work). The woodwind solos are beautifully realised throughout the disc and this is one of the most exciting Nielsen discs known to me. Initially I was a little underwhelmed at the start of the tragic and enigmatic 6th Symphony and I felt a lack of urgency compared to my favourite Ormandy version but as the tragic first movement developed I became increasingly moved. I think that the first movement of the Sixth Symphony is perhaps Nielsen's finest creation. In my view this symphony is worthy to stand alongside the most tragic utterances of Shostakovich. A wonderful disc, beautifully performed and recorded:


Orchestra is the New York Philharmonic conducted by Alan Gilbert (live performances)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on March 19, 2015, 09:31:18 PM
I have not heard a better performance of Nielsen's 5th Symphony, arguably one of the very greatest symphonies of the 20th Symphony. In particular the climax of the first movement, with its dramatically anarchic rogue side drum, has never sounded more exciting and the resolution of the first movement has a sense of triumphant catharsis unlike any other recorded performance known to me ( and I have multiple copies of this work). The woodwind solos are beautifully realised throughout the disc and this is one of the most exciting Nielsen discs known to me. Initially I was a little underwhelmed at the start of the tragic and enigmatic 6th Symphony and I felt a lack of urgency compared to my favourite Ormandy version but as the tragic first movement developed I became increasingly moved. I think that the first movement of the Sixth Symphony is perhaps Nielsen's finest creation. In my view this symphony is worthy to stand alongside the most tragic utterances of Shostakovich. A wonderful disc, beautifully performed and recorded:


Orchestra is the New York Philharmonic conducted by Alan Gilbert (live performances)

I still have this recording sitting in the to-listen-to pile. Will definitely give it a listen this weekend. Thanks for the report. 8)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on March 19, 2015, 11:52:03 PM
 8)
I still have this recording sitting in the to-listen-to pile. Will definitely give it a listen this weekend. Thanks for the report. 8)

Let us know what you think John.  :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DaveF on June 08, 2015, 12:56:01 PM
A bump for his 150th birthday tomorrow, and a link: http://www.carlnielsen.org/en (http://www.carlnielsen.org/en) to a site including lots of pictures I'd never seen before - including one of the great man knitting!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 08, 2015, 01:52:24 PM
Thanks for the link! That's a great site.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Moonfish on June 20, 2015, 05:14:57 PM
Nielsen:
Symphony No 4
Helios Overture

Chicago SO/Martinon


Intriguing! The Helios Overture is a graceful experience full of light and reverence so I had to listen to it twice!  :)  I think I need some more time with the 4th, but it definitely had a unique soundscape. I really liked Nielsen's vision of nature and man in relation to this work as put forward on the back cover.  Very primal!

"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." [Wikipedia]


(https://www.dustygroove.com/images/products/n/nielsen~~~~_symphony4_101b.jpg)(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_400/MI0003/835/MI0003835538.jpg)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 20, 2015, 07:37:52 PM
I have to ask you, Peter: is this your first foray into Nielsen's music?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Moonfish on June 20, 2015, 08:51:47 PM
I have to ask you, Peter: is this your first foray into Nielsen's music?

No, but it was a year or two ago. At that point I was not very excited about it. This time I felt quite different with the 4th (and especially with the Helios Overture).  Perhaps it is extended exposure to more compositions from the 20th century? 8)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 21, 2015, 05:04:01 AM
No, but it was a year or two ago. At that point I was not very excited about it. This time I felt quite different with the 4th (and especially with the Helios Overture).  Perhaps it is extended exposure to more compositions from the 20th century? 8)

That's quite interesting. Nielsen was one of the first composers that I got into (along with Sibelius). In fact, I discovered Nielsen at the same time I discovered Sibelius, which I suppose is quite a natural progression as it really does seem one leads to another. They are the two top Nordic composers of their time and obviously still have quite a foothold in the musical world. Yes, I think you being more and more exposed to other 20th Century composers has allowed you to come back around to Nielsen with 'different ears.' This has happened with me on numerous occasions with Holmboe perhaps being the greatest example.

So what works of Nielsen's are you going to explore next?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 21, 2015, 05:09:29 AM
The symphonies didn't grab me the first time I listened to them.  (Same story with the RVW symphonies, FWIW.)  Years later, they clicked with me, big time.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 21, 2015, 05:14:58 AM
Strange how different we all are. I took to Nielsen's symphonies pretty easily, but when it came to Sibelius I did struggle a bit at first even though nothing was ever displeasing to me. I just didn't understand his musical language yet. RVW clicked with me instantly, although I do recall having some problems with the 4th symphony.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 21, 2015, 05:22:56 AM
It's a bit of a puzzle to me, as well;  for I had played the Clarinet Concerto, so I already had a high opinion of Nielsen.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 21, 2015, 05:31:30 AM
It's a bit of a puzzle to me, as well;  for I had played the Clarinet Concerto, so I already had a high opinion of Nielsen.

Well, his concerti are different beasts altogether. His musical language in his symphonies does take some time to sink in. Even though I mentioned I had no problems with his symphonies, the only one that through me through a loop was the 6th. Now, I think a good deal of this symphony and appreciate it even more. His symphonic swan song.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 21, 2015, 05:34:52 AM
8)
Let us know what you think John.  :)

Better late than never. ;) I didn't enjoy Gilbert's cycle that much. I thought many of the performances were 'forced' sounding and Gilbert really didn't make much of a difference on the podium. I felt that he simply was 'going through the motions' and didn't add anything to the music interpretatively. As for more recent cycles, Oramo is my man in Nielsen. Outstanding cycle from him.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Moonfish on June 21, 2015, 11:01:14 AM
The symphonies didn't grab me the first time I listened to them.  (Same story with the RVW symphonies, FWIW.)  Years later, they clicked with me, big time.

That's quite interesting. Nielsen was one of the first composers that I got into (along with Sibelius). In fact, I discovered Nielsen at the same time I discovered Sibelius, which I suppose is quite a natural progression as it really does seem one leads to another. They are the two top Nordic composers of their time and obviously still have quite a foothold in the musical world. Yes, I think you being more and more exposed to other 20th Century composers has allowed you to come back around to Nielsen with 'different ears.' This has happened with me on numerous occasions with Holmboe perhaps being the greatest example.

So what works of Nielsen's are you going to explore next?

I read on the Martinon back cover that Nielsen was regarded as Scandinavia's greatest composer ( ??? ??? ???) when the 4th Symphony premiered! It is hard to imagine that Sibelius was viewed as secondary (at least in my mind).  Sibelius has been in my life since I was a little kid. Finlandia impressed me greatly as a ten-year old! I listened to it over and over.  In contrast I had didn't hear about Nielsen until I was in my 30s. Somehow he seems to be a very specific niche within classical music (unless one is Danish of course).   Like Karl and yourself I noticed Nielsen years ago, but never took a liking to his works as I sampled them.  I think the 5th with its snare drum was the nail in the coffin at the time.    :'(     

I think I will dig up Bernstein's partial cycle from the Symphony box for my next few Nielsen sessions. Probably the 2nd...   :P
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 22, 2015, 12:53:27 PM
Okay, so right now I have my eyes on the Ole Schmidt cycle with the LSO on the Alto label. The only thing that's holding me back is what someone on Amazon referred to as a recessed/reverberant audio quality. For those that know this set, would you say this is true? One problem I have with something that's overly reverberant is the lack of clarity in the interworking of the various instrumental sections. Any feedback would be great. Thanks in advance.

P.S. It's not like I need another Nielsen symphony cycle as I own most of them already, but this Schmidt cycle is highly revered.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: jlaurson on June 22, 2015, 12:59:14 PM
Okay, so right now I have my eyes on the Ole Schmidt cycle with the LSO on the Alto label. The only thing that's holding me back is what someone on Amazon referred to as a recessed/reverberant audio quality. For those that know this set, would you say this is true? One problem I have with something that's overly reverberant is the lack of clarity in the interworking of the various instrumental sections. Any feedback would be great. Thanks in advance.

P.S. It's not like I need another Nielsen symphony cycle as I own most of them already, but this Schmidt cycle is highly revered.

Get it! I have it... I've never been moved by Nielsen like I have by Schmidt (Gilbert comes close). It's really quite amazing how the oldest cycle out there is still so darn awesome and, arguably / in some ways, the best.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 22, 2015, 01:02:48 PM
Get it! I have it... I've never been moved by Nielsen like I have by Schmidt (Gilbert comes close). It's really quite amazing how the oldest cycle out there is still so darn awesome and, arguably / in some ways, the best.

But what about the sound quality, Jens? FYI, I didn't like Gilbert's Nielsen cycle, although I haven't heard the concerti recording (yet). :) For modern cycles, Oramo is my man in these symphonies right now.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Moonfish on June 22, 2015, 01:05:19 PM
3x
Nielsen: Symphony No 1        Royal Liverpool PO/Bostock

A "relatively" first listen (i.e. I have heard it before but paid more attention this time around). I guess I should blame the recent listening activity here as well as Nielsen's birthday on June 9. The theme of the first movement really stays in the mind. Such a playful tune! The second movement has such serene and nostalgic qualities conjuring up all kinds of pastoral images and a fair amount of sadness in my mind. It builds very nicely as well. The final movement kind of falls flat in my ears. Overall, a very enjoyable and eloquent symphony well worth listening to. It made a definite impression after listening to it three times in a row. Bostock and the RLPO seem to have received mixed reviews, but I found the performance and the sound quality quite satisfying in this recording of Nielsen's first symphony.

I'm not quite sure why I haven't paid much attention to it (and Nielsen's other works). After all he is Denmark's greatest composer. When I grew up Grieg and Sibelius were always mentioned, but Nielsen's name remained in obscurity (actually - he wasn't mentioned at all  :o).  I guess I will have to make up for lost time!   8)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61ib6dmbegL.jpg)(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/713bxDAK1OL._SL1500_.jpg)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 22, 2015, 01:10:24 PM
Nielsen is always worth your time, Peter. As I may have mentioned to you before, Nielsen was one of the first composers I was exposed to when I was just getting into classical music six years ago. Everything I've heard from has never been less than inspired and there's always a purpose to his music. He doesn't sugarcoat anything. ;D
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Moonfish on June 22, 2015, 01:11:12 PM
Okay, so right now I have my eyes on the Ole Schmidt cycle with the LSO on the Alto label. The only thing that's holding me back is what someone on Amazon referred to as a recessed/reverberant audio quality. For those that know this set, would you say this is true? One problem I have with something that's overly reverberant is the lack of clarity in the interworking of the various instrumental sections. Any feedback would be great. Thanks in advance.

P.S. It's not like I need another Nielsen symphony cycle as I own most of them already, but this Schmidt cycle is highly revered.

Yeah, I have been reading up on this as well and it seems like the Schmidt cycle is a must. Everybody refers to it as a core performance (it reminds me how everybody refers to Solti's Ring  ;D). Raw and archaic Nielsen Power!!!   ;)   Was the Schmidt cycle OOP for a while and just recently reissued?  I have my eyes on the Blomstedt cycle as well (with the Danish NO), which seems to be the most common recommendation.  Ah, clearly plenty to choose from. I wish Martinon recorded additional symphonies...    Regardless, would you recommend Blomstedt?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 22, 2015, 01:16:53 PM
Yeah, I have been reading up on this as well and it seems like the Schmidt cycle is a must. Everybody refers to it as a core performance (it reminds me how everybody refers to Solti's Ring  ;D). Raw and archaic Nielsen Power!!!   ;)   Was the Schmidt cycle OOP for a while and just recently reissued?  I have my eyes on the Blomstedt cycle as well (with the Danish NO), which seems to be the most common recommendation.  Ah, clearly plenty to choose from. I wish Martinon recorded additional symphonies...    Regardless, would you recommend Blomstedt?

I'm still awaiting to hear more about the Ole Schmidt's cycle audio quality. Again, the overly reverberant sound has me a bit worried as this could be a hinderance for me. I like hearing clarity in a performance. Anyway, I do not own Blomstedt's Danish cycle on EMI surprisingly. I don't know why exactly I don't own it, but I suppose I liked his later San Francisco cycle so much that I always thought how could he ever possibly top it even with an earlier cycle behind him? This is the only reason why I avoided his earlier cycle I can think of and I suppose I'm not too sure about the audio quality in that Danish cycle. But if you don't own the SFSO cycle, Peter, than it receives my warmest recommendation. Not to be missed.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 22, 2015, 01:20:55 PM
BTW, this is a smoking performance of The Inextinguishable:

https://www.youtube.com/v/NYrCiE7U0_0

People have said plenty of negative things about Mr. Fuzzy Top (Rattle), but I think in some music, he simply is one of the best out there. Always a sensitive conductor and knows how to bring out certain musical phrases that other conductors may just glide through. This Nielsen performance is definitely a fine one.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Moonfish on June 22, 2015, 01:22:27 PM
I'm still awaiting to hear more about the Ole Schmidt's cycle audio quality. Again, the overly reverberant sound has me a bit worried as this could be a hinderance for me. I like hearing clarity in a performance. Anyway, I do not own Blomstedt's Danish cycle on EMI surprisingly. I don't know why exactly I don't own it, but I suppose I liked his later San Francisco cycle so much that I always thought how could he ever possibly top it even with an earlier cycle behind him? This is the only reason why I avoided his earlier cycle I can think of and I suppose I'm not too sure about the audio quality in that Danish cycle. But if you don't own the SFSO cycle, Peter, than it receives my warmest recommendation. Not to be missed.

Interesting! I think I read somewhere that his SFSO cycle was inferior to the Danish one.  It is kind of funny how reviews vary so much. I suspect that the SFSO certainly must have better sound.  Regardless, the ultimate test is taking it in with our own minds and not worrying too much about the gadfly reviews. 
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 22, 2015, 01:23:45 PM
But what about the sound quality, Jens?

It's always dangerous discussing sound quality with you, John (remember our Slatkin/VW "debate"  ;D ) but to my ears Schmidt sounds great...well, maybe just very good. The all-important (to me) brass detail is there (if not in quite the startling clarity of Kuchar). But sound be damned: it's Schmidt's way with the music that's important. Schmidt was my first Nielsen cycle (LP boxes in the 70s) and after the acquisition of nine more cycles, it's still number one. One caveat: I have not heard Oramo yet. Schmidt may have finally been superceded.

I didn't enjoy Gilbert's cycle that much.

Neither did I. The Third was especially disappointing.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Moonfish on June 22, 2015, 01:24:28 PM
This one?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71dC8L1yVKL._SL1194_.jpg)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: jlaurson on June 22, 2015, 01:24:49 PM
But what about the sound quality, Jens? FYI, I didn't like Gilbert's Nielsen cycle, although I haven't heard the concerti recording (yet). :) For modern cycles, Oramo is my man in these symphonies right now.

I can only tell you that I don't remember being let down by the SQ... and that it obviously didn't prevent this effect on me... and that it was also of a kind that made nothing negative stick out about it. But I would lie, if I could tell you that I actually recall the actual sound. (And I haven't got it handy to check just now.) But it was absolutely, absolutely ear-opening for me, despite *wanting* to love Nielsen for many years.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 22, 2015, 01:33:13 PM
This one?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71dC8L1yVKL._SL1194_.jpg)

I only like half of Blomstedt's SF cycle (1, 2, 6). Really hate his Third. But don't pay attention to me: mine's a minority opinion.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 22, 2015, 01:51:14 PM
Interesting! I think I read somewhere that his SFSO cycle was inferior to the Danish one.  It is kind of funny how reviews vary so much. I suspect that the SFSO certainly must have better sound.  Regardless, the ultimate test is taking it in with our own minds and not worrying too much about the gadfly reviews.

I seem to recall many people preferring the SFSO cycle to the Danish one, but, yes, a great performance is something that varies from listener to listener, but every now and again, there seems to be an almost unanimous consensus on performances, but, there's always someone that doesn't like something. It's just the nature of this music.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 22, 2015, 01:57:25 PM
It's always dangerous discussing sound quality with you, John (remember our Slatkin/VW "debate"  ;D ) but to my ears Schmidt sounds great...well, maybe just very good. The all-important (to me) brass detail is there (if not in quite the startling clarity of Kuchar). But sound be damned: it's Schmidt's way with the music that's important. Schmidt was my first Nielsen cycle (LP boxes in the 70s) and after the acquisition of nine more cycles, it's still number one. One caveat: I have not heard Oramo yet. Schmidt may have finally been superceded.

Neither did I. The Third was especially disappointing.

Sarge

Stop everything. Quit rolling the tape. The Sarge and I agree on something?!?!? Holy shit! There's an imbalance in the universe. ;) ;D But seriously, it seems you, Jeffrey Smith, and myself are in full agreement about Gilbert's Nielsen so far. I wonder if we can form a club or something? :) Anyway, thanks for your feedback regarding the Schmidt cycle (Jens too).  Much appreciated. Sounds like a cycle I'll need. IMHO, Oramo is outstanding and very much closer to what I feel is the spirit of this music. I would try the recording with Symphonies 1 & 3 first.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 22, 2015, 01:58:20 PM
I can only tell you that I don't remember being let down by the SQ... and that it obviously didn't prevent this effect on me... and that it was also of a kind that made nothing negative stick out about it. But I would lie, if I could tell you that I actually recall the actual sound. (And I haven't got it handy to check just now.) But it was absolutely, absolutely ear-opening for me, despite *wanting* to love Nielsen for many years.

Thanks a lot, Jens. Your feedback is very helpful.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 22, 2015, 01:58:56 PM
This one?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71dC8L1yVKL._SL1194_.jpg)

Yep, that's the one. :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 22, 2015, 02:01:56 PM
I only like half of Blomstedt's SF cycle (1, 2, 6). Really hate his Third. But don't pay attention to me: mine's a minority opinion.

Sarge

Yes, his 6th is especially noteworthy I feel. Don't recall how I feel about his Espansiva, but I'll have to plan a revisit soon. Temperaments is especially fine as well in this SFSO cycle.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Camphy on June 22, 2015, 11:54:58 PM
Okay, so right now I have my eyes on the Ole Schmidt cycle with the LSO on the Alto label. The only thing that's holding me back is what someone on Amazon referred to as a recessed/reverberant audio quality. For those that know this set, would you say this is true? One problem I have with something that's overly reverberant is the lack of clarity in the interworking of the various instrumental sections. Any feedback would be great. Thanks in advance.

P.S. It's not like I need another Nielsen symphony cycle as I own most of them already, but this Schmidt cycle is highly revered.

Thanks for enticing me to listen to Nielsen's Fourth yet again! ;) I'm growing very fond of it.
Although I can't offer you much in the way of comparison, I will say that to me the Schmidt set sounds very good and has great clarity. No difficulties in perceiving the various instrumental sections. I certainly wouldn't call it "overly reverberant". Hope you'll enjoy it!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 23, 2015, 04:14:42 AM
Thanks for enticing me to listen to Nielsen's Fourth yet again! ;) I'm growing very fond of it.
Although I can't offer you much in the way of comparison, I will say that to me the Schmidt set sounds very good and has great clarity. No difficulties in perceiving the various instrumental sections. I certainly wouldn't call it "overly reverberant". Hope you'll enjoy it!

Thank you, Camphy! I'm getting quite excited about Schmidt's Nielsen now. :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 25, 2015, 05:26:05 AM
I finally got around to listening to Vilde Frang's recording of the Violin Concerto and I have no words right now other than WOW!!!!

(http://www.israbox.com/uploads/posts/2012-11/1353530934_folder.jpg)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 25, 2015, 05:35:11 AM
Cool.

Viz. the Bostock symphonies . . . I need to give a listen (or, another listen, or, a proper listen).  I certainly snaffled up the box for Other Stuff.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 25, 2015, 05:38:10 AM
Cool.

Viz. the Bostock symphonies . . . I need to give a listen (or, another listen, or, a proper listen).  I certainly snaffled up the box for Other Stuff.

How is Bostock's set, Karl? Hurwitz doesn't like Bostock's performances that much.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 25, 2015, 05:48:46 AM
I think we got that exchange backwards, John  :)

Although I have that box, I do not have a reliable impression of the symphonies.  (Honestly, all I remember is the affecting Paraphrase onNearer, My God, to Thee.”)  I need to go back to it.

— I remember Sarge informing us that this set includes the alternate version of the Andante pastorale of the Sinfonia espansiva, with instruments subbing for the vocalise;  and I remember making a mental note to have a listen.  I think I may have lost that mental note until just now . . . .
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 25, 2015, 05:52:45 AM
I think we got that exchange backwards, John  :)

Although I have that box, I do not have a reliable impression of the symphonies.  (Honestly, all I remember is the affecting Paraphrase onNearer, My God, to Thee.”)  I need to go back to it.

— I remember Sarge informing us that this set includes the alternate version of the Andante pastorale of the Sinfonia espansiva, with instruments subbing for the vocalise;  and I remember making a mental note to have a listen.  I think I may have lost that mental note until just now . . . .

Hmmm...well maybe Sarge can inform us about the merits of these performances (it's certainly not like I need more Nielsen in my collection), but, as the saying goes, "inquiring minds want to know." :) Please let me know your impressions of Bostock's Nielsen whenever you get the chance to listen to more of the set.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 25, 2015, 06:22:49 AM
Hmmm...well maybe Sarge can inform us about the merits of these performances (it's certainly not like I need more Nielsen in my collection), but, as the saying goes, "inquiring minds want to know." :) Please let me know your impressions of Bostock's Nielsen whenever you get the chance to listen to more of the set.

Here's what I said three years ago (I don't think I've been back to the box since...I have too damn many CDs :D ):

Good news, Karl. The two symphonies I've heard so far, Espansiva and Inextinguishable, are quite good...well, different anyway, and to me, different often means good  8)

As sometimes happens, what the Hurwitzer considers a negative, I consider a positive. This for example:

"His hasty accelerando over the powerful repeated chords leads to a main tempo that is apparently too fast for the orchestra to negotiate successfully. Consequently, the remainder of the movement is riddled with blurred articulation, hesitant entrances and insecure rhythms."

I didn't hear it that way. What I heard was a fascinating new way to play those opening chords. Something shockingly different. Yeah, the chords become a bit blurred as the acceleration reaches an insane pace, but man, does that launch the Allegro in a thrilling fashion. Too fast for a desert island pick or a library choice, maybe, but great fun to hear. Bostock has to brake pretty hard for the second subject but I like the extreme contrast. Gramophone noticed a lack of body in the strings and that too is a negative that I can turn into a positive: the strings don't swamp the rest of the orchestra (like in some Espansivas I know); there is great clarity in the other sections of the orchestra, especially the brass, which really pack a punch. The climax of the development, that fantastic waltz, is almost as good as Bernstein's or Kuchar's (even though at Bostock's tempo it would create chaos on the ballroom floor  :D ). Both Andantes are on the CD: the original with soprano and tenor, and Nielsen's alternative orchestration for clarinet and trombone. That should interest you! I thought the tempo for the Finale utterly perfect.

So, 13 bucks already well spent, and I've only heard the first CD of ten  8)


Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 25, 2015, 06:32:44 AM
Thanks for the feedback, Sarge. The only thing that is hindering me is the audio quality of this set. Out of 10, how would you rate it? Is the audio quality pretty consistent throughout the whole set? Thanks.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on June 25, 2015, 07:01:32 AM
Thanks for the feedback, Sarge. The only thing that is hindering me is the audio quality of this set. Out of 10, how would you rate it? Is the audio quality pretty consistent throughout the whole set? Thanks.

Nothing sounds bad but the quality is inconsistent. 1, for example, sounds a tad muffled. 3 is brass and drum heavy when it needs to be...a plus. 4 has very prominent horns (which CT complains about but I like). Depending on the disc, I'd give 6, 7 or 8 (maybe even a 9 for #3).

Edit: after further sampling the set, I'd say you might find the string balance objectionable at points in some of the symphonies. I think too some might find the brass a bit crude (not me, it's thrilling).

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 25, 2015, 07:25:40 AM
Here's what I said three years ago (I don't think I've been back to the box since...I have too damn many CDs :D ):

I don't think I have been, either.  And recently I laid eyes on the Schønwandt box, and realized how long I was due for quality time with that 'un.  (Money well spent in both cases, indeed.)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Moonfish on June 25, 2015, 10:38:38 AM
The Bostock set is just 13 dollars, which I presume has to be a minor cost in your (and anybody's) eyes. I like it quite a bit (so far #1-4), but I have still to traverse the rest of the discs. Besides, you get access to some more peripheral pieces (it sounds like that was Karl's motivation  ;)). In my ears the sound quality (so far) is not top notch, but very good indeed.

Jack Lawson at Musicweb seemed to have enjoyed Bostock quite a bit (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2009/Mar09/Nielsen_symphonies_CLASSCD296-299.htm).
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 25, 2015, 05:32:53 PM
Nothing sounds bad but the quality is inconsistent. 1, for example, sounds a tad muffled. 3 is brass and drum heavy when it needs to be...a plus. 4 has very prominent horns (which CT complains about but I like). Depending on the disc, I'd give 6, 7 or 8 (maybe even a 9 for #3).

Edit: after further sampling the set, I'd say you might find the string balance objectionable at points in some of the symphonies. I think too some might find the brass a bit crude (not me, it's thrilling).

Sarge

Thanks again, Sarge. Sounds like I'll skip the Bostock cycle as I don't really see how he could better Oramo or Schonwandt for me.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 26, 2015, 01:25:38 AM
The Bostock set is just 13 dollars, which I presume has to be a minor cost in your (and anybody's) eyes. I like it quite a bit (so far #1-4), but I have still to traverse the rest of the discs. Besides, you get access to some more peripheral pieces (it sounds like that was Karl's motivation  ;)). In my ears the sound quality (so far) is not top notch, but very good indeed.

Jack Lawson at Musicweb seemed to have enjoyed Bostock quite a bit (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2009/Mar09/Nielsen_symphonies_CLASSCD296-299.htm).
Aye, that fairly describes my motivation :) (I certainly did not anticipate this symphony cycle vying with my favorites.) That said, last night I listened to the First Symphony from this set (which is where I began revisiting Schønwandt's set the other day), and found it perfectly satisfying, musically and sonically. The Sarge's dictum ("Different is good") applies here, meseems.  So my point (insofar as I have one, here) is that even in the symphonies, which in buying this set I did not have in view at all, I have found value.

Which (for me) is all gravy, since the box easily has a disc's worth and more of music I find nowhere else, readily justifying the $13 I paid for it.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 26, 2015, 08:20:15 AM
No mystery, why I feel such an affinity with this composer! (emphasis mine)

Quote from: Niels Bo Foltmann
It has been said that Carl Nielsen brooded long over the first movement of the Third Symphony.  Then at last he got the idea for the main subject one day while he was in a tram, and having no music paper he notated the theme on his sleeve.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 30, 2015, 06:42:57 PM
Has anyone watched the documentary titled The Light and the Darkness that's coupled with Schonwandt's symphony cycle on DVD?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 30, 2015, 07:47:35 PM
Hello Nielsenites, do check out this website when you have time:

http://www.carlnielsen.org/en (http://www.carlnielsen.org/en)

Lots of great information here and details about Nielsen's life and music.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Camphy on June 30, 2015, 08:40:08 PM
Hello Nielsenites, do check out this website when you have time:

http://www.carlnielsen.org/en (http://www.carlnielsen.org/en)

Lots of great information here and details about Nielsen's life and music.

Thanks for the link!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 30, 2015, 08:41:20 PM
Thanks for the link!

(https://ac3d197e9505f18c50e0-32b9f49f48b2c22be12b40ee79e2acc4.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/icon/logos_and_badges_thumbs_up/7x5uDqD4GBTrCSbXggZ-/58C79CAE-C3E6-4D6A-BAF5-A03631274FD7.png)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 02, 2015, 06:29:13 AM
Hello Nielsenites, do check out this website when you have time:

http://www.carlnielsen.org/en (http://www.carlnielsen.org/en)

Lots of great information here and details about Nielsen's life and music.

I read the biography from this site and it's quite good. It shed some light on an aspect of Nielsen I knew nothing about, which were the difficulties of his marriage to Anne Marie Brodersen who pursued her own art just as vigorously as Nielsen did. This caused a lot of friction in their marriage.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 02, 2015, 11:52:14 AM
Quote from: Niels Bo Foltmann
On 14 April 1912 the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic after hitting an iceberg.  The news shook the world, and the tale of how the ship's small eight-member band played the hymn Nearer my God to Thee as the vessel sank went all around the globe.  The Copenhagen Orchestral Society (Københavns Orkestforening) quickly decided to mount a benefit concert for the families of the drowned musicians, and Nielsen agreed to compose a paraphrase of Nearer my God to Thee and to conduct the concert.  He drew up a short score in pencil with a few indications for the instrumentation, which he then left to Julius Reesen to carry out.  It is evident from the score that it was finished on 18 May.  The concert should have taken place on 21 May in the old railway hall in Copenhagen, which the Falck emergency service had promised to convert for the occasion into a brand new concert hall, but the concert was cancelled because of the sudden death of King Frederick VIII on 14 May.  At first the plan was simply to postpone the concert for about ten days, but afterwards the whole enterprise was shelved until further notice.

Three years later [the] Copenhagen Orchestral Society organized a 'Monster Concert' for the benefit of the society's pension fund.  The concert was held on 22 August 1915 in the park Kongens Have, where a huge wind orchestra of some 200 musicians had been put together for the occasion, conducted by Frederick Schnedler-Petersen and Carl Nielsen respectively.  Among the works on the programme was the paraphrase of Nearer my God to Thee, conducted by the composer.  It is interesting that the piece was presented on this occasion as if it had been specially composed for the concert.  According to contemporary newspaper reports the audience of about 30,000 received the piece with enthusiasm, and the concluding chorale had to be encored.  On 28 August Nielsen wrote to his good friend Bodil Neergaard: "The concert went well and people were grateful for the little I had come up with for the occasion, and that always makes one feel good."

This appears to have been the only performance of the paraphrase during the composer's lifetime.  In fact Nielsen is said not to have been particularly proud of this — strictly speaking — rather banal piece of programme music, and later he was hardly he was hardly willing to acknowledge its paternity.

Nielsen used Lowell Mason's melody from 1852 as the basis of his paraphrase.  But in 1912, besides this melody, there were a further two settings of Sarah F. Adams' text, one by John B. Dykes and one by Sir Arthur Sullivan.  Which tune was actually played on the Titanic quickly became a subject of discussion, and an admonitory article in Nationaltidende on 18 May 1912 points out the importance of Nielsen choosing the right melody, thought by the author to be the one by Dykes.  But as we have seen, by this time the piece was already finished.  The discussion of the melody used continues to this day.

Until the present edition, the original performance material has always been considered to have been lost.  This has led to a number of reconstruction attempts on the basis of Nielsen's short score in pencil.  However, the whole of the original material (namely score and parts in Julius Reesen's own hand) has been preserved, and with this edition the paraphrase is published for the first time in the version that the composer himself conducted in 1915.  The manuscript set of parts has been chosen as the main source over the score, since in connection with the copying-out of the parts Julius Reesen made a large number of changes in the instrumentation, such that in a number of respects the original score does not represent the final version.

The Bostock recording conforms to the Carl Nielsen Edition score, with the following three departures:

The Lowell Mason tune in the Carl Nielsen Edition score, a bit peculiarly, casts the meter in 6/4;  Bostock's performance "flattens" the meter to the customary 4/4.

The score is marked to repeat the Lowell Mason tune, but Bostock does not repeat.

At the end of the repeated passage, the score has two grand fff chords;  these are missing from Bostock's performance.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 02, 2015, 12:05:27 PM
It is curious then that Rozh cuts the ending of the piece. Doesn't seem to be any reason (the CD could have accomodated the extra two minutes).

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 02, 2015, 12:10:10 PM
It is curious then that Rozh cuts the ending of the piece. Doesn't seem to be any reason (the CD could have accommodated the extra two minutes).

Sarge

I wonder if they just had "bad" source documents.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 02, 2015, 12:22:17 PM
I wonder if they just had "bad" source documents.

Yeah, could be. The recording is over twenty years old.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 02, 2015, 03:07:05 PM
"Foul papers"  8)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: ChamberNut on July 03, 2015, 08:44:29 AM
Hello GMGers.  8)  It has been awhile (Nov. 2014)

Just been so busy with work and life with my wonderful girlfriend.  :)

Have been listening to a fair amount of Nielsen lately.  Excellent complete chamber music set, and that beige Bostock set.  :)  Marvelous music!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: jlaurson on July 03, 2015, 11:02:56 PM
Hello GMGers.  8)  It has been awhile (Nov. 2014)

Just been so busy with work and life with my wonderful girlfriend.  :)

Have been listening to a fair amount of Nielsen lately.  Excellent complete chamber music set, and that beige Bostock set.  :)  Marvelous music!

Gratifying to hear and welcome back!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 04, 2015, 03:51:16 AM
Cheers, Ray!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 04, 2015, 05:25:19 AM
It's certainly nice to have Ray back around. 8)

Does anyone recommend a good Nielsen biography in English? I was looking at this one:

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 04, 2015, 06:22:47 AM
Hello GMGers.  8)  It has been awhile (Nov. 2014)

Hey, Ray. It's good to see the Nut in the house again  8)

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 04, 2015, 07:56:44 AM
It's certainly nice to have Ray back around. 8)

Does anyone recommend a good Nielsen biography in English? I was looking at this one:

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/0714835072.01.L.jpg)

I've found the Phaidon series good.  (I've not seen this one, but I've read those on Debussy, Sibelius & Bartók.)  Not extensive bios, but a good amount of meat on the bones.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Moonfish on July 04, 2015, 08:55:28 AM
It's certainly nice to have Ray back around. 8)

Does anyone recommend a good Nielsen biography in English? I was looking at this one:



Like almost all Phaidon books it is very likely to be oriented towards photos/art rather than the written content. I suspect it is a very introductory biography. It seems as if no hardcore academic biography has been written/published (yet).  :(

I presume that you have already come across the 'Carl Nielsen Edition"?
http://www.kb.dk/en/nb/dcm/cnu/ (http://www.kb.dk/en/nb/dcm/cnu/)

This one looks interesting....
http://www.amazon.com/Nielsen-Companion-Mina-F-Miller/dp/1574670050 (http://www.amazon.com/Nielsen-Companion-Mina-F-Miller/dp/1574670050)

(http://carlnielsen.dk/media/Billedsektion/miller.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/Nielsen-Companion-Mina-F-Miller/dp/1574670050)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on July 04, 2015, 09:05:00 AM
Hello GMGers.  8)  It has been awhile (Nov. 2014)

Just been so busy with work and life with my wonderful girlfriend.  :)

Have been listening to a fair amount of Nielsen lately.  Excellent complete chamber music set, and that beige Bostock set.  :)  Marvelous music!

Welcome back!  :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 04, 2015, 06:11:19 PM
I've found the Phaidon series good.  (I've not seen this one, but I've read those on Debussy, Sibelius & Bartók.)  Not extensive bios, but a good amount of meat on the bones.

Yeah, Karl. The Phaidon books aren't bad at all. I've read the one on Schnittke and Bartok so far. Love the accompanying photographs. I still need to read the Sibelius one.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 04, 2015, 06:14:53 PM
Like almost all Phaidon books it is very likely to be oriented towards photos/art rather than the written content. I suspect it is a very introductory biography. It seems as if no hardcore academic biography has been written/published (yet).  :(

I presume that you have already come across the 'Carl Nielsen Edition"?
http://www.kb.dk/en/nb/dcm/cnu/ (http://www.kb.dk/en/nb/dcm/cnu/)

This one looks interesting....
http://www.amazon.com/Nielsen-Companion-Mina-F-Miller/dp/1574670050 (http://www.amazon.com/Nielsen-Companion-Mina-F-Miller/dp/1574670050)

(http://carlnielsen.dk/media/Billedsektion/miller.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/Nielsen-Companion-Mina-F-Miller/dp/1574670050)

Thanks, Peter. I have not seen those books actually. I'm probably going to get the Phaidon Press book mainly because I have good experiences with their books so far. I'm not looking for a biography that's exhaustive, but these Phaidon books seem to contain more than just a standard biography and usually have some interesting anecdotes to add along the way. Robert Simpson's book on Nielsen looks quite interesting as he compares Nielsen's and Sibelius' symphonies.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 07, 2015, 06:40:20 AM
The more I listen to Nielsen the more I begin to realize how much of a kinship I have with his music. I can listen to any Nielsen work and come away with some kind of gratification. He was remarkably consistent and everything he composed has his unmistakable voice. Some people here may not like him or consider him the equal to other important composers of the 20th Century, but, for me, Nielsen stands right along side Sibelius, RVW, Shostakovich, Ravel, Bartok, Debussy, Stravinsky, etc. What he did for the symphony is truly awe-inspiring. The way he kind of just spit in the face of convention. Like all great composers, he did things his own way and with a sharp ear and mind, but he never turned his back on the greats before him. Beethoven, Brahms, and Mozart were three of his favorite composers and he had a deep affection for Wagner as well. On this 150th anniversary year, I am reminded time and time again of why I count him as one of my favorites.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 07, 2015, 09:52:19 AM
So what do my fellow Nielsenites think of his operas: Saul and David and Maskarade? I currently have Schonwandt's Maskarade out-for-delivery. I'm thinking about picking up Saul and David at some point as well.

http://www.dacapo-records.dk/en/recording-carl-nielsen-maskarade.aspx
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 09, 2015, 06:16:40 PM
Symphony No. 2 "The Four Temperaments," FS 29

(http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/shared/npr/styles/x_large/nprshared/201506/411502590.jpg) (http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/shared/npr/styles/x_large/nprshared/201506/411504594.jpg)
(http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/shared/npr/styles/x_large/nprshared/201506/411517724.jpg) (http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/06/02/nielsen_kid1-97cd5098912e463d10b025ce90e909a45ea67d3f-s800-c15.jpg)

Nielsen's Symphony No. 2, Op. 16 (1901-02) was inspired by a depiction of the four temperaments or "humours" -- long used to describe one's personality and physical characteristics -- on the wall of a village inn on the Danish island of Sjaeland. The composer fashioned a symphony based on the temperaments, cautioning that his treatment of them was not intended to be programmatic; instead, these four states merely provide an outline of the moods in the work. Nielsen described the musical depictions in the symphony's four movements thus: "... [T]he impetuous (Allegro collerico), the indolent (Allegro flemmatico), the melancholy (Andante malincolico) and the cheerful (Allegro sanguino). But the impetuous man can have his milder moments, the melancholy man his impetuous or brighter ones, and the boisterous, cheerful man can become a little contemplative, even quite serious -- but only for a little while. The lazy, indolent man, on the other hand, only emerges from his phlegmatic state with the greatest of difficulty, so this movement is both brief (he can't be bothered) and uniform in its progress."

In addition to displaying the composer's masterful talent for sonic portraiture, the symphony also demonstrates one of Nielsen's highly individual techniques, which he called "progressive tonality": a series of adventurous modulations that bypass the formal key relationships characteristic of most Classical and Romantic symphonies. Nevertheless, the influence of Brahms is clearly in evidence, especially in the third movement. After a few early performance, the symphony was not often heard until the 1960s, when Nielsen's genius began to receive wider recognition.


[Article taken from All Music Guide]

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For me, this symphony is what hooked me on Nielsen. It has all the ingredients of what was to become of the composer of such masterpieces as Symphony No. 5 or the Wind Quintet. What separates it from Symphony No. 1 in G minor is the usage of progressive tonality and we start hearing a constant duality in the music. From light to dark, day to night, etc., this symphony also has a grand sweep in the Romantic sense. The slow movement Andante malincolico is almost on the verge of breaking down with orchestral sighs and cries. This may not be a 'GMG favorite' but it's always had a special place in my heart. I love all of Nielsen's symphonies and each symphony is a world unto its' own. As far as performances go, Blomstedt's with the San Francisco SO really moved me the first time I heard it and always kind of remained my benchmark.

What about you guys?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 13, 2015, 09:53:43 AM
Symphony No. 4, "The Inextinguishable," Op. 29, FS 76

(http://peaceandloveism.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/clouds-filter.jpg) (http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/ee/4d/28/ee4d28eb0ddc6ea9f27f13b0fd3b65a2.jpg)


Nielsen began writing this work (Det Uudslukkelige in Danish) during the summer of 1915, and completed it two weeks before the first performance, which he conducted in Copenhagen on February 1, 1916. In addition to triple winds and full brass, Nielsen specified two sets of timpani, as far apart as possible on the stage. While Symphony No. 3, the Espansiva of 1910-1911, proclaimed his indubitable maturity, the Fourth (which he started planning in 1914) became Nielsen's equivalent of Beethoven's Eroica, just as the Fifth would be his counterpart of Beethoven's Fifth. Years before, he had written, "It is a fact that he who brandishes the hardest fist will be remembered the longest." Certainly the proximity and brutality of World War I influenced the conflicts in his Fourth Symphony, although the Fifth of 1921-1922 expressed his real horror. In the score of The Inextinguishable Nielsen wrote, "Under this title the composer has endeavored to indicate in one word what music alone is capable of expressing to the full: the elemental Will of Life. Music is Life, and like it is inextinguishable. The title...might therefore seem superfluous; the composer, however, has employed the word to underline the strictly musical character of his subject. It is not a program, but only a suggestion about the right approach to the music."

Taking a cue from Mendelssohn's Scottish and Schumann's D minor symphonies, he wrote all four movements of The Inextinguishable to be played without pause, beginning with a violent struggle between the keys of C major and D minor. More even than Franck's D minor Symphony, however, Nielsen's Fourth is a "motto" symphony based on the E major second theme of his opening Allegro. This is introduced in "sweet-sounding" thirds by a pair of clarinets, replaced by flutes, horns, and strings before the strident main theme returns to do battle -- not only in the development but during the recapitulation -- a contest won by the motto in the coda, although not decisively enough to forestall a later, even more vehement challenge in the finale. Without pause, the folk-colored Poco allegretto in G replaces a scherzo, piquant writing for winds that remembers Serenata invano of 1914 as much as it anticipates the Quintet of 1922 and the flute and clarinet concertos. Its principal subject derives from the motto theme, but Nielsen puts this on hold in the ensuing Poco adagio quasi andante, whose searing, starkly scored main theme is developed in two-part counterpoint, derived from old Netherlands polyphony according to one Nielsen scholar. A nervous, stuttering new theme increases the tension. While the movement climaxes in E major, this crumbles in the struggle between themes. Suddenly, the strings begin a wild race that plunges into a terminal Allegro whose swaggering main theme in E major declares itself, only to be challenged by two sets of timpani that duel brutally for control until E major can finally assert itself and hold. Triumphant, the motto theme invites both timpanists to punctuate the "inextinguishable" victory.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is another symphony that made a huge impression on me when I first started getting into classical music six years ago. Symphony No. 4, like Nielsen's other symphonies, is a world unto it's own. There's a sense of transcendence in this music, but, as common in Nielsen's music, there's a duality happening here. It's almost like a struggle between heaven and earth. The rhythmic element of the music seems to keep it grounded and this is especially evident in the first movement: Allegro. What does everyone at GMG think of this symphony? I think it's a masterpiece, but don't take my word for it, I'm quite biased. ;) ;D A few favorite performances: Blomstedt/SFSO, Schonwandt/Danish NSO, and Oramo/Royal Stockholm PO.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 13, 2015, 12:13:46 PM
I'm still curious about this photograph:

(http://www.oly-forum.com/files/images/p8232557_0.preview.jpg)

I know Hahn has been performing the Nielsen Violin Concerto in recent years, but I wonder if she'll get around to recording it? Anyone know?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Moonfish on July 16, 2015, 07:28:58 PM
Carl Nielsen is the "composer of the month" in the current issue of BBC Music Magazine!    ;)

(http://cdn2.classical-music.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/400px_wide/Cover.png)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 16, 2015, 07:31:12 PM
Carl Nielsen is the "composer of the month" in the current issue of BBC Music Magazine!    ;)

(http://cdn2.classical-music.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/400px_wide/Cover.png)

Woo hoo! Too bad he didn't make the cover story. That would've been really awesome. 8)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Moonfish on July 16, 2015, 07:33:20 PM
I came across this Nielsen article/discussion on NPR (June 9, 2015):

http://www.npr.org/sections/deceptivecadence/2015/06/09/411256072/evenly-odd-carl-nielsens-distinctive-symphonies (http://www.npr.org/sections/deceptivecadence/2015/06/09/411256072/evenly-odd-carl-nielsens-distinctive-symphonies)

(http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/06/02/nielsen-b6ad140548ef2bca8fefec67dc8e6347e9ed432e-s800-c85.jpg)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Moonfish on July 16, 2015, 07:35:04 PM
Woo hoo! Too bad he didn't make the cover story. That would haven't been really awesome. 8)

Yeah, considering the anniversary he should have been the cover story!    >:(

Btw - a great interview with Thomas Søndergård in that issue. I kind of wish he was the new conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. I think we can expect a lot of great music from him in the future!   :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 16, 2015, 07:45:33 PM
Yeah, considering the anniversary he should have been the cover story!    >:(

Btw - a great interview with Thomas Søndergård in that issue. I kind of wish he was the new conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. I think we can expect a lot of great music from him in the future!   :)

Yes! Totally! Sibelius made the cover and was the main article in the February 2015 issue, so why didn't Nielsen get the same kind of royal treatment? I suppose a lot of it still stems from the fact that Nielsen's star didn't shine as brightly as Sibelius' during their lifetimes. It seems Nielsen was a country hero while Sibelius reached an international audience. This doesn't, however, mean that one composer is better than the other. Quite the contrary. I obviously love both composers, but it just kind of rubs me the wrong way when a composer who has been recognized as one of the greats of the 20th Century is given a 'Composer of the Month' column as if to be pushed aside.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on July 17, 2015, 12:44:38 AM
This is another symphony that made a huge impression on me when I first started getting into classical music six years ago. Symphony No. 4, like Nielsen's other symphonies, is a world unto it's own. There's a sense of transcendence in this music, but, as common in Nielsen's music, there's a duality happening here. It's almost like a struggle between heaven and earth. The rhythmic element of the music seems to keep it grounded and this is especially evident in the first movement: Allegro. What does everyone at GMG think of this symphony? I think it's a masterpiece, but don't take my word for it, I'm quite biased. ;) ;D A few favorite performances: Blomstedt/SFSO, Schonwandt/Danish NSO, and Oramo/Royal Stockholm PO.

When I heard Nielsen's Fourth Symphony the first time (possibly the first time I heard Nielsen's music in my life) on radio some 15 years ago I was blown away. It's my favorite Symphony by Nielsen and I consider it one of the best Symphonies ever written.

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 17, 2015, 02:23:05 AM
Splendid, Poju!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 17, 2015, 06:14:00 AM
When I heard Nielsen's Fourth Symphony the first time (possibly the first time I heard Nielsen's music in my life) on radio some 15 years ago I was blown away. It's my favorite Symphony by Nielsen and I consider it one of the best Symphonies ever written.

It's certainly nothing short of a masterpiece.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Camphy on July 17, 2015, 07:17:37 AM
Very cool. 8) Thanks! On an unrelated note, how are you liking Schonwandt's Nielsen cycle so far?

Too early to tell; I've only managed to listen to the first symphony thus far.
Hope to report back to you soon.

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 17, 2015, 05:25:33 PM
Too early to tell; I've only managed to listen to the first symphony thus far.
Hope to report back to you soon.

Sounds like a plan. 8)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Klaze on July 18, 2015, 12:06:36 AM
Seems there have been quite a few new releases of the symphonies in the recent past. Anything particularly worthwile?  Ive only got the Blomstedt & Kuchar cycles so far and a few separate ones.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 18, 2015, 02:16:25 AM
Seems there have been quite a few new releases of the symphonies in the recent past. Anything particularly worthwile?  Ive only got the Blomstedt & Kuchar cycles so far and a few separate ones.

Yes, I highly recommend Oramo's cycle on BIS. Outstnding performances. Oh and if you don't have Bernstein's Nielsen, then run, don't walk over to Amazon and buy them all (if you can find them cheap as they're OOP I believe).
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Moonfish on July 20, 2015, 08:42:01 AM
How are the LSO Live Colin Davis renditions regarded by GMG "Nielsenites"?

Review on MusicWeb (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2013/May13/Nielsen_Davis_LSO0694_LSO0715_LSO0722.htm)

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 20, 2015, 08:56:42 AM
Review on MusicWeb (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2013/May13/Nielsen_Davis_LSO0694_LSO0715_LSO0722.htm)

I do not know the recording, but gosh, this review was certainly dramatic to read.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 20, 2015, 12:13:11 PM
I do not know the recording, but gosh, this review was certainly dramatic to read.

I disagree with the praise of Alan Gilbert's Nielsen in that article. I don't think it's 'all that.'
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Moonfish on July 20, 2015, 12:14:37 PM
I disagree with the praise of Alan Gilbert's Nielsen in that article. I don't think it's 'all that.'

John,
You purchased the Colin Davis recordings recently (if I recall correctly). Would you recommend them?  :-\
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 20, 2015, 12:17:00 PM
John,
You purchased the Colin Davis recordings recently (if I recall correctly). Would you recommend them?  :-\

I haven't heard but the 4th and 5th so far and I can't say I'm particularly taken with either performance, but that's just from a first-listen.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Moonfish on July 20, 2015, 12:40:48 PM
I haven't heard but the 4th and 5th so far and I can't say I'm particularly taken with either performance, but that's just from a first-listen.

Looking forward to your impressions when they materialize!  8)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 20, 2015, 12:43:51 PM
I disagree with the praise of Alan Gilbert's Nielsen in that article. I don't think it's 'all that.'

I agree. I'm not hearing what this MusicWeb guy hears in Gilbert's Espansiva. He writes:

"Let’s deal first with the engineering: it is the servant of the music but here the stereo is a sensuous experience in its own right! Never before on disc have I heard layering and inner detail which the conductor here elicits and the musicians contribute."

Lack of detail is what I first noticed about the disc. I'm listening to it again, with earphones this time, and I'm still missing tons of detail (especially trumpet and woodwind detail) I hear in other recordings.

He writes: "Alan Gilbert interprets Nielsen’s Third Symphony in a way I have never heard before."

I hear a quite an ordinary interpretation. Nothing stands out as particularly, or uniquely, special. (Edit: the Allegretto is nicely done.)

Because of my disappointment with Gilbert's Third, I didn't buy the rest of his cycle. Maybe I'm missing out but based on what I have heard I'm not worrying about it.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 20, 2015, 01:00:08 PM
Looking forward to your impressions when they materialize!  8)

That is if they materialize. ;) If being the operative word here. :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 20, 2015, 01:03:28 PM
I agree. I'm not hearing what this MusicWeb guy hears in Gilbert's Espansiva. He writes:

"Let’s deal first with the engineering: it is the servant of the music but here the stereo is a sensuous experience in its own right! Never before on disc have I heard layering and inner detail which the conductor here elicits and the musicians contribute."

Lack of detail is what I first noticed about the disc. I'm listening to it again, with earphones this time, and I'm still missing tons of detail (especially trumpet and woodwind detail) I hear in other recordings.

He writes: "Alan Gilbert interprets Nielsen’s Third Symphony in a way I have never heard before."

I hear a quite an ordinary interpretation. Nothing stands out as particularly, or uniquely, special. (Edit: the Allegretto is nicely done.)

Because of my disappointment with Gilbert's Third, I didn't buy the rest of his cycle. Maybe I'm missing out but based on what I have heard I'm not worrying about it.

Sarge

It's really sad to think about because I LOVE the New York Philharmonic and really believed in them, but when you have what I believe to be an uninspired conductor, you have an uninspired performance and one that'll never catch fire. A lot of people love this cycle and that's certainly their right, but I just can't get onboard with Gilbert.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 20, 2015, 01:09:13 PM
I disagree with the praise of Alan Gilbert's Nielsen in that article. I don't think it's 'all that.'

I agree. I'm not hearing what this MusicWeb guy hears in Gilbert's Espansiva. He writes:

"Let’s deal first with the engineering: it is the servant of the music but here the stereo is a sensuous experience in its own right! Never before on disc have I heard layering and inner detail which the conductor here elicits and the musicians contribute."

Lack of detail is what I first noticed about the disc. I'm listening to it again, with earphones this time, and I'm still missing tons of detail (especially trumpet and woodwind detail) I hear in other recordings.

He writes: "Alan Gilbert interprets Nielsen’s Third Symphony in a way I have never heard before."

I hear a quite an ordinary interpretation. Nothing stands out as particularly, or uniquely, special. (Edit: the Allegretto is nicely done.)

Because of my disappointment with Gilbert's Third, I didn't buy the rest of his cycle. Maybe I'm missing out but based on what I have heard I'm not worrying about it.

Sarge


Not saying that I take his words at face value.  Only that he's written a dramatic review  0:)   8)  :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 20, 2015, 01:18:34 PM
Not saying that I take his words at face value.  Only that he's written a dramatic review  0:)   8)  :)

:) I didn't read the full review myself, but I noticed that blurb about Gilbert's Nielsen and had to comment on it. The review was a bit long for me. I tend to like reviews that get to the point a bit more quickly. I suppose I'm Stravinskian in that regard. ;)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 20, 2015, 01:30:28 PM
Well, and one of the things I find most interesting is, here's someone who (in a peculiar use of the idiom) has heard more Nielsen symphonies than [he has] eaten proverbial hot dinners, yet his supreme pick (apparently) is the Gilbert, for which both John and the Sarge have expressed relative indifference.

Again, not saying it signifies anything, beyond isn't it funny how we all hear music differently . . . .
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 20, 2015, 02:43:53 PM
True, Karl and one of the things that I'm surprised about is the Sarge and I agree on something. Expect two worlds to collide. :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 21, 2015, 03:37:37 AM
Again, not saying it signifies anything, beyond isn't it funny how we all hear music differently . . . .

Well, I'm listening for specific things in recordings of the Espansiva, and when I don't hear those things, I'm bummed. Those who don't care about those details will probably be baffled by my negative response. Schonwandt and Gilbert fail me so I can't agree with the praise they've received.

I would love to ask the MusicWeb critic about the detail he claims to hear when it is so obvious to my ears that much goes missing. But it goes beyond the inner detail here. I don't find the interpretation (save the Allegretto) compelling either. Besides what I've already written about the performance, I have to say the last movement may be the dullest, least exciting I've ever heard (I own fifteen versions). Usually I'm not this negative but boy, Gilbert really disappoints me.

Interestingly, though, I agree with this critic's review of Kuchar's cycle (one of my top three along with Ormandy/Bernstein and Schmidt):

"Reissued this month is the remarkable 3-CD symphony cycle which Theodore Kuchar and the Janácek Orchestra recorded in 2005 in the Czech Republic for Brilliant Classics (review). Still at bargain price, and from 2012 attractively presented, I confess that I had ignored it until encouraged to unwrap the cellophane by a MusicWeb International reader. Suffice to say that Kuchar’s Nielsen is both a bargain and a top flight performance of all six symphonies. The engineering is first class; the sound is transparent, dynamic and natural. The performances establish the new, modern, international sound of Carl Nielsen..."

I also agree with his favorable review of Bostock's Espansiva.

Sarge

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 21, 2015, 03:42:07 AM
True, Karl and one of the things that I'm surprised about is the Sarge and I agree on something. Expect two worlds to collide. :)

Since we disagree about Schonwandt, that may give us enough repulsion to avoid a collision  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 21, 2015, 04:06:44 AM
I also agree with his favorable review of Bostock's Espansiva.

Maybe the reviewer just needs some more hot dinners  ;)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 21, 2015, 06:03:30 AM
Well, I'm listening for specific things in recordings of the Espansiva, and when I don't hear those things, I'm bummed. Those who don't care about those details will probably be baffled by my negative response. Schonwandt and Gilbert fail me so I can't agree with the praise they've received.

I would love to ask the MusicWeb critic about the detail he claims to hear when it is so obvious to my ears that much goes missing. But it goes beyond the inner detail here. I don't find the interpretation (save the Allegretto) compelling either. Besides what I've already written about the performance, I have to say the last movement may be the dullest, least exciting I've ever heard (I own fifteen versions). Usually I'm not this negative but boy, Gilbert really disappoints me.

Interestingly, though, I agree with this critic's review of Kuchar's cycle (one of my top three along with Ormandy/Bernstein and Schmidt):

"Reissued this month is the remarkable 3-CD symphony cycle which Theodore Kuchar and the Janácek Orchestra recorded in 2005 in the Czech Republic for Brilliant Classics (review). Still at bargain price, and from 2012 attractively presented, I confess that I had ignored it until encouraged to unwrap the cellophane by a MusicWeb International reader. Suffice to say that Kuchar’s Nielsen is both a bargain and a top flight performance of all six symphonies. The engineering is first class; the sound is transparent, dynamic and natural. The performances establish the new, modern, international sound of Carl Nielsen..."

I also agree with his favorable review of Bostock's Espansiva.

Sarge

But several questions remain: have you heard Oramo yet? What about Chung's Espansiva on BIS? I think it's one of the best ones I've heard along with Bernstein's and Oramo's. I can't say I'm particularly impressed with Bostock's Nielsen or at least from what I'm heard so far (Symphonies 4 & 5 and Pan & Syrinx). I also don't think much of Schmidt and the recessed strings don't do the music any favors. Kuchar isn't much of a contender for me either as I don't think the orchestra is very good. If I had to pick one cycle right now to go to the desert island with me it would be Oramo on BIS. It's THAT good. These are exciting performances with great clarity and precision. I really wish Thomas Dausgaard would record the cycle as I was quite impressed with that recording he made of miscellaneous orchestral works on Dacapo.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: kishnevi on July 21, 2015, 06:13:13 AM
I agree. I'm not hearing what this MusicWeb guy hears in Gilbert's Espansiva. He writes:

"Let’s deal first with the engineering: it is the servant of the music but here the stereo is a sensuous experience in its own right! Never before on disc have I heard layering and inner detail which the conductor here elicits and the musicians contribute."

Lack of detail is what I first noticed about the disc. I'm listening to it again, with earphones this time, and I'm still missing tons of detail (especially trumpet and woodwind detail) I hear in other recordings.

He writes: "Alan Gilbert interprets Nielsen’s Third Symphony in a way I have never heard before."

I hear a quite an ordinary interpretation. Nothing stands out as particularly, or uniquely, special. (Edit: the Allegretto is nicely done.)

Because of my disappointment with Gilbert's Third, I didn't buy the rest of his cycle. Maybe I'm missing out but based on what I have heard I'm not worrying about it.

Sarge

Give the "supplemental" CD of the concertos a try.  Gilbert got those right, although the symphonies recordings themselves are the epitome of "meh"
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 21, 2015, 06:14:06 AM
But several questions remain: have you heard Oramo yet? What about Chung's Espansiva on BIS?

Chung's one of my favorites. I own these. Favorites in bold. Oramo I haven't heard. Still debating whether, at my age, I need another Espansiva  ;D

Rozhdestvensky    12:44  11:06  7:06  11:04
Schmidt              12:06  10:13  6:37   9:30
Horenstein            12:04   9:57   7:33   9:59
Saraste                 12:03   8:46   5:49   9:36
Schonwandt          11:44   9:34   6:21   9:36
Bernstein            11:37   9:50   6:26   9:28
Davis                    11:28   7:26   6:29   9:18
Gilbert                  11.24   9:12   6:36  10:03
Kuchar                11:19   9:41   6:35    9:16
Salonen               11:15   9:37   6:43  10:22
Chung                 11:07  10:00  6:41    9:17
Berglund               11:00   8:21   6:19   9:33
Frandsen             10:55   8:05   6:04   8:47
Bostock               10:37    9:14   6:14   9:39
Blomstedt             10:35    9:07   6:21   9:18


Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 21, 2015, 06:17:39 AM
Give the "supplemental" CD of the concertos a try.  Gilbert got those right, although the symphonies recordings themselves are the epitome of "meh"

Thanks...I'll consider it.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 21, 2015, 06:22:13 AM
Chung's one of my favorites. I own these. Favorites in bold. Oramo I haven't heard. Still debating whether, at my age, I need another Espansiva  ;D

Rozhdestvensky    12:44  11:06  7:06  11:04
Schmidt              12:06  10:13  6:37   9:30
Horenstein            12:04   9:57   7:33   9:59
Saraste                 12:03   8:46   5:49   9:36
Schonwandt          11:44   9:34   6:21   9:36
Bernstein            11:37   9:50   6:26   9:28
Davis                    11:28   7:26   6:29   9:18
Gilbert                  11.24   9:12   6:36   10:03
Kuchar                11:19   9:41   6:35    9:16
Salonen               11:15   9:37   6:43  10:22
Chung                 11:07  10:00  6:41    9:17
Berglund               11:00   8:21   6:19   9:33
Frandsen             10:55   8:05   6:04   8:47
Bostock               10:37   9:14   6:14   9:39
Blomstedt             10:35   9:07   6:21   9:18


Sarge

Salonen I see is a favorite. I don't think I've really explored his cycle in-depth even though I now own all of his Nielsen (the Flute & Clarinet Concerti disc I was missing). I would say, yes, you really should get the Oramo (if you can get it for a good price --- it's BIS after all). Very impressive performance that I think you would enjoy.

And, Jeffrey, I have yet to sit down and listen to that concerti disc from Gilbert. I suppose I'm so disgusted with his symphonic cycle that I just can't bring myself at the moment to listen to it. I'll let some more time elapse before digging into it.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 21, 2015, 06:34:35 AM
Salonen I see is a favorite. I don't think I've really explored his cycle in-depth

He was my way into the Fourth. It was the one Nielsen symphony that had eluded me for years. Then I read a very negative review of Salonen's by Robert Layton in Gramophone. He couldn't stand Salonen's mannerisms, his flexible way with the rhythm, deploring the agogic distortion. Now Layton was one of the few critics who never let me down. When he hated something it was a guarantee I'd love it. So, on his "advice" I bought it, and it finally clicked. The Espansiva is as good. 

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 21, 2015, 06:40:19 AM
He was my way into the Fourth. It was the one Nielsen symphony that had eluded me for years. Then I read a very negative review of Salonen's by Robert Layton in Gramophone. He couldn't stand Salonen's mannerisms, his flexible way with the rhythm, deploring the agogic distortion. Now Layton was one of the few critics who never let me down. When he hated something it was a guarantee I'd love it. So, on his "advice" I bought it, and it finally clicked. The Espansiva is as good. 

Sarge

Sounds like I really need to listen to Salonen soon. Yeah, I don't think I've ever agreed with Layton either, but I haven't read too many of his reviews.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 21, 2015, 06:41:36 AM
Actually, of all the Espansiva's I own, the only ones I really dislike are Blomstedt and Gilbert (and even Gilbert has some redeeming qualities: magnificent horns in the first movement; that Allegretto). I'm not overly thrilled with Schonwandt either but have to admit his climactic waltz is fun. The bass is so prominent it sounds like giant trolls dancing. (Do they have trolls in Denmark, or is that just Norway?  ;D)

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Brian on July 21, 2015, 06:47:40 AM
I gotta say, as a longtime Sakari Oramo detractor/unenthusiast, his cycle has made me seriously question my previous attitudes. That, and the as-good-as-it-ever-gets Elgar First.

If Salonen's Fourth is on Sony, I'll try to give it a listen on NML later. That sounds pretty fun.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 21, 2015, 06:56:22 AM
Sounds like I really need to listen to Salonen soon. Yeah, I don't think I've ever agreed with Layton either, but I haven't read too many of his reviews.

Layton may be before your time. He was fired from Gramophone when the original owners sold the magazine. When did that happen, late 90s? He is an expert on Scandinavian music (he translated the Tawaststjerna biography of Sibelius) but his reviews were usually helpful only if I ignored his recommendations and bought the things he disliked. At least that was the way it worked twenty, thirty years ago. I'm a bit more open-minded today  8)

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 21, 2015, 06:58:17 AM
I gotta say, as a longtime Sakari Oramo detractor/unenthusiast, his cycle has made me seriously question my previous attitudes. That, and the as-good-as-it-ever-gets Elgar First.

Okay, you and John have convinced me. I'll order, at least, the disc with the Espansiva.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 21, 2015, 07:12:11 AM
Chung's one of my favorites. I own these. Favorites in bold. Oramo I haven't heard. Still debating whether, at my age, I need another Espansiva  ;D

Rozhdestvensky    12:44  11:06  7:06  11:04
Schmidt              12:06  10:13  6:37   9:30
Horenstein            12:04   9:57   7:33   9:59
Saraste                 12:03   8:46   5:49   9:36
Schonwandt          11:44   9:34   6:21   9:36
Bernstein            11:37   9:50   6:26   9:28
Davis                    11:28   7:26   6:29   9:18
Gilbert                  11.24   9:12   6:36  10:03
Kuchar                11:19   9:41   6:35    9:16
Salonen               11:15   9:37   6:43  10:22
Chung                 11:07  10:00  6:41    9:17
Berglund               11:00   8:21   6:19   9:33
Frandsen             10:55   8:05   6:04   8:47
Bostock               10:37    9:14   6:14   9:39
Blomstedt             10:35    9:07   6:21   9:18

Today was my first-ever listen to Lenny in the Espansiva, Sarge, and I can certainly see it being a favorite.  Remind me of some of the things you listen for in the magnificent Op.27?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 21, 2015, 07:16:04 AM
Today was my first-ever listen to Lenny in the Espansiva, Sarge, and I can certainly see it being a favorite.  Remind me of some of the things you listen for in the magnificent Op.27?

Apart, I mean, from Blomstedt being nowhere near it  ;)  0:)  :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Brian on July 21, 2015, 07:39:56 AM
Meanwhile, I'll be over here listening to Chung's Espansiva for the first time.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Brian on July 21, 2015, 08:16:10 AM
Well, wow. Chung's recording is awesome. I think the primal, "rough" sound is a huge benefit - Chung's approach can be aggressive and headlong, and the BIS 80s sound setup makes it feel like the brass section is perched on your shoulder blasting into your ears. Result: just a super freakin' exciting performance. Definitely gonna be one of my all-time favorites.

Thanks, Sarge! I hope this is a fair trade of recommendations but it might well not be!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 21, 2015, 11:45:07 AM
Well, wow. Chung's recording is awesome. I think the primal, "rough" sound is a huge benefit - Chung's approach can be aggressive and headlong, and the BIS 80s sound setup makes it feel like the brass section is perched on your shoulder blasting into your ears. Result: just a super freakin' exciting performance. Definitely gonna be one of my all-time favorites.

Thanks, Sarge! I hope this is a fair trade of recommendations but it might well not be!

I've been praising Chung's performance for quite some time as well. It is awesome indeed. One of my favorite performances.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 21, 2015, 12:25:47 PM
Chung's one of my favorites. I own these. Favorites in bold. Oramo I haven't heard. Still debating whether, at my age, I need another Espansiva  ;D

Rozhdestvensky    12:44  11:06  7:06  11:04
Schmidt              12:06  10:13  6:37   9:30
Horenstein            12:04   9:57   7:33   9:59
Saraste                 12:03   8:46   5:49   9:36
Schonwandt          11:44   9:34   6:21   9:36
Bernstein            11:37   9:50   6:26   9:28
Davis                    11:28   7:26   6:29   9:18
Gilbert                  11.24   9:12   6:36  10:03
Kuchar                11:19   9:41   6:35    9:16
Salonen               11:15   9:37   6:43  10:22
Chung                 11:07  10:00  6:41    9:17
Berglund               11:00   8:21   6:19   9:33
Frandsen             10:55   8:05   6:04   8:47
Bostock               10:37    9:14   6:14   9:39
Blomstedt             10:35    9:07   6:21   9:18


Sarge

Let's look at Oramo's times for the Espansiva:

Oramo                 11:23  9:17  6:41  10:10
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 22, 2015, 02:53:37 AM
Remind me of some of the things you listen for in the magnificent Op.27?

The trumpet figurations (very rapid repeated notes) that drive the music rhythmically at various points in the first movement. In many recordings they're buried, sometimes even inaudible. And the trumpet tremolo (I think that's what it is) just before the waltz breaks out. Bernstein is superb here, you can hear it clearly at 5:53. Gilbert gave his trumpets a smoke break at that point...although he's not alone. Very few recordings make that effect really audible.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 22, 2015, 03:00:41 AM
Thanks.  You realize, I do respect your ears!  And I entirely understand how even a detail or two can be a deal-breaker (hence the too-quiet horns in the HvK recording of the Shostakovich Op.93 kill that recording for me).
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 22, 2015, 03:01:24 AM
Let's look at Oramo's times for the Espansiva:

Oramo                 11:23  9:17  6:41  10:10

Almost identical to Gilbert's timings...proving that overall speed does not make a performance.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Brian on July 22, 2015, 03:27:10 AM
The trumpet figurations (very rapid repeated notes) that drive the music rhythmically at various points in the first movement. In many recordings they're buried, sometimes even inaudible. And the trumpet tremelo (I think that's what it is) just before the waltz breaks out. Bernstein is superb here, you can hear it clearly at 5:53. Gilbert gave his trumpets a smoke break at that point...although he's not alone. Very few recordings make that effect really audible.

Sarge
Just before the waltz breaks out - here Oramo gives the trumpets a big crescendo; at the beginning they are inaudible but they "slide" in.

'fraid I might prefer Chung...but I am a sucker for loud recordings where you don't need to turn the volume up.  ;D
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 22, 2015, 03:32:58 AM
Just before the waltz breaks out - here Oramo gives the trumpets a big crescendo; at the beginning they are inaudible but they "slide" in.

'fraid I might prefer Chung...but I am a sucker for loud recordings where you don't need to turn the volume up.  ;D

Yeah, they had the recording amps cranked up to 11 on that one  :D

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 22, 2015, 03:38:22 AM
Thanks.  You realize, I do respect your ears!  And I entirely understand how even a detail or two can be a deal-breaker (hence the too-quite horns in the HvK recording of the Shostakovich Op.93 kill that recording for me).

Another "small" detail in another work that really bothers me when I can't hear it is the col legno moment (only a few measures) before the climax of the first movement development in Mahler's Second. In every live performance I've heard this effect has been startlingly audible (literally so: I once saw a couple of blue hairs wake up in fright at that point  ;D ) but very few recordings do it justice.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: amw on July 22, 2015, 03:59:10 AM
xpost

Which set of Nielsen piano music?

(http://d250ptlkmugbjz.cloudfront.net/images/covers/28/13/0761203741328_600.jpg)

(http://d250ptlkmugbjz.cloudfront.net/images/covers/96/89/5709499498996_600.jpg)

(http://d250ptlkmugbjz.cloudfront.net/images/covers/88/16/7318591671688_600.jpg)

(http://d250ptlkmugbjz.cloudfront.net/images/covers/22/74/0730099457422_600.jpg)

I already have Martin Roscoe on Hyperion, but am not totally satisfied with it.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 22, 2015, 04:02:03 AM
I've not heard any of them, and I promised my late father I should never offer an opinion on any recording I have not actually listened to  8)

I've heard Martin Roscoe in the Chaconne, and agree that it is not a first choice.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: TheGSMoeller on July 22, 2015, 04:19:50 AM
Just ordered the Rozhdestvensky.



..should make a good contrast to my Blomstedt and Davis cycles. My thoughts on the Gilbert are not as harsh as some of you here. I ordered the 2nd/3rd disc from the set, and I like what I've heard, but it seems my positive thoughts are mostly with the musicians, I like the way the NYP sounds. I don't hear anything relavatory in Gilbert's take, so I find that aspect to be a little overrated. And this may be the only single from the set I order, but I have read good things about the concertos disc.

Revisiting these symphonies has been a blast. I remember listening to the Blomstedt cycle some 20 years ago, mainly focusing on the brass heavy moments. Now older, and perhaps slightly wiser, I'm hearing details in the music I missed before, especially with the 3rd symphony. The 3rd is a masterpiece, when it ends I feel as if I just finished a musical tour of the composer's soul. In fact, all 6 symphonies are great. Have always loved the 4th and 6th, and I'm getting to know the 5th much better.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 22, 2015, 04:32:00 AM
The trumpet figurations (very rapid repeated notes) that drive the music rhythmically at various points in the first movement. In many recordings they're buried, sometimes even inaudible. And the trumpet tremolo (I think that's what it is) just before the waltz breaks out. Bernstein is superb here, you can hear it clearly at 5:53.

Thanks for pointing this out!  It's exactly the sort of detail within a rich musical texture which can be elusive in even multiple hearings!  I know I have a score for the Espansiva, somewhere at home . . . high time I read it closely.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 22, 2015, 05:24:20 AM
Just ordered the Rozhdestvensky.



..should make a good contrast to my Blomstedt and Davis cycles. My thoughts on the Gilbert are not as harsh as some of you here. I ordered the 2nd/3rd disc from the set, and I like what I've heard, but it seems my positive thoughts are mostly with the musicians, I like the way the NYP sounds. I don't hear anything relavatory in Gilbert's take, so I find that aspect to be a little overrated. And this may be the only single from the set I order, but I have read good things about the concertos disc.

Revisiting these symphonies has been a blast. I remember listening to the Blomstedt cycle some 20 years ago, mainly focusing on the brass heavy moments. Now older, and perhaps slightly wiser, I'm hearing details in the music I missed before, especially with the 3rd symphony. The 3rd is a masterpiece, when it ends I feel as if I just finished a musical tour of the composer's soul. In fact, all 6 symphonies are great. Have always loved the 4th and 6th, and I'm getting to know the 5th much better.

Ah yes, the Celibidache of Nielsen symphony cycles. :) It definitely will be a contrast to those other sets. If you're thinking of getting a fourth cycle, then you can't go wrong with Oramo on BIS.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 22, 2015, 10:20:57 AM
. . . And the trumpet tremolo (I think that's what it is) just before the waltz breaks out. Bernstein is superb here, you can hear it clearly at 5:53.

Listening to the Kuchar, I wonder if that is flutter-tonguing in the trumpets . . . makes me want yet more to scare up the score, and see what the composer is looking for there . . . .
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Brian on July 22, 2015, 10:46:04 AM
Listening to the Kuchar, I wonder if that is flutter-tonguing in the trumpets
My instinct is the same.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: TheGSMoeller on July 23, 2015, 05:19:52 AM
How's Salonen's cycle? I keep reading positive reviews online but can't find any samples.

So far I have Blomstedt, Rozhdestvensky, 2 from Davis/LSO, 1 from Gilbert/NYP and 1 from Bernstein. I'm happy with what I have but I find each recording to bring out different nuances of the music, so naturally I'm tempted to continue exploring.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 23, 2015, 05:31:49 AM
How's Salonen's cycle? I keep reading positive reviews online but can't find any samples.

So far I have Blomstedt, Rozhdestvensky, 2 from Davis/LSO, 1 from Gilbert/NYP and 1 from Bernstein. I'm happy with what I have but I find each recording to bring out different nuances of the music, so naturally I'm tempted to continue exploring.

I still need to revisit Salonen's Nielsen, but, as I mentioned above, you should really check out Oramo's cycle. Also, Chung's performances are must-listens as well.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 23, 2015, 05:35:12 AM
Listening to the Kuchar, I wonder if that is flutter-tonguing in the trumpets . . . makes me want yet more to scare up the score, and see what the composer is looking for there . . . .

Yes, I'm confused about that point. I always thought it flutter-tonguing until I read Hurwitz who called it a tremolo. Looking at the definition of tremolo, it does fit. I don't know how either would be marked in the score so it would be useless for me to look. I'm hoping you can solve the riddle, Karl.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 23, 2015, 05:38:42 AM
How's Salonen's cycle? I keep reading positive reviews online but can't find any samples.

I like his 3 and 4. I haven't explored the rest in depth.

I'm listening to Oramo 3 now...it is magnificent. John and Brian are right. Despite the expense, I would consider that before Salonen.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 23, 2015, 05:47:13 AM
I'm listening to Oramo 3 now...it is magnificent. John and Brian are right. Despite the expense, I would consider that before Salonen.

Sarge

Like Brian, I was disenchanted with Oramo's conducting in the past, but after hearing his Nielsen, the guy gets my respect big time. I really hope he conducts more Nielsen, but this might not happen any time soon (if ever). Glad you enjoyed his Espansiva, Sarge.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: TheGSMoeller on July 23, 2015, 05:59:57 AM
I like his 3 and 4. I haven't explored the rest in depth.

I'm listening to Oramo 3 now...it is magnificent. John and Brian are right. Despite the expense, I would consider that before Salonen.

Sarge

"I was afraid you would say that." -Greg's Bank Account   $:)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: TheGSMoeller on July 23, 2015, 06:11:06 AM
Yes, I'm confused about that point. I always thought it flutter-tonguing until I read Hurwitz who called it a tremolo. Looking at the definition of tremolo, it does fit. I don't know how either would be marked in the score so it would be useless for me to look. I'm hoping you can solve the riddle, Karl.

Sarge

The score I looked at notated trem, listening to the Bernstein the trumpets at this point sound very clean, almost a double or triple-tounge?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 23, 2015, 06:17:25 AM
The score I looked at notated trem, listening to the Bernstein the trumpets at this point sound very clean, almost a double or triple-tounge?

Ah, thank you.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 23, 2015, 06:25:50 AM
"I was afraid you would say that." -Greg's Bank Account   $:)

 :P
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 23, 2015, 06:27:23 AM
Greg, I'm not sure if you've ever shopped with Presto Classical, but they've got each volume of Oramo's Nielsen for $13, which is actually a good deal on BIS recordings:

http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/search.php?searchString=Nielsen+Oramo (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/search.php?searchString=Nielsen+Oramo)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Brian on July 23, 2015, 06:29:56 AM
I like his 3 and 4. I haven't explored the rest in depth.

I'm listening to Oramo 3 now...it is magnificent. John and Brian are right. Despite the expense, I would consider that before Salonen.

Sarge
Whew! Always breathe a sigh of relief when a recommendation ends well.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Brian on July 23, 2015, 06:30:39 AM
Greg, I'm not sure if you've ever shopped with Presto Classical, but they've got each volume of Oramo's Nielsen for $13, which is actually a good deal on BIS recordings:

http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/search.php?searchString=Nielsen+Oramo (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/search.php?searchString=Nielsen+Oramo)
In fact, BIS in general is on sale there. You have the Oramo Elgar First already, right? Cuz it's thebomb.com.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 23, 2015, 06:35:19 AM
In fact, BIS in general is on sale there. You have the Oramo Elgar First already, right? Cuz it's thebomb.com.

I don't have his Elgar 1st (yet), but I have his recording of the 2nd, which was quite good.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: TheGSMoeller on July 23, 2015, 06:41:02 AM
Ah, thank you.

Sarge

I think it's also possible for a trumpet to play the same note using different valves as if playing a trill, but it would sound like a tremolo. I'll cheat and ask a brass player later.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: TheGSMoeller on July 23, 2015, 07:15:02 AM
The score I looked at notated trem, listening to the Bernstein the trumpets at this point sound very clean, almost a double or triple-tounge?

I think it's also possible for a trumpet to play the same note using different valves as if playing a trill, but it would sound like a tremolo. I'll cheat and ask a brass player later.

Got some info from a trumpet player, and he says that it is 95% time a flutter, with the small possibility of a valve flutter.

The Bernstein to me sounds like a double/triple tongue, and of course it could be a interpretive choice made my conductor or section principal, but I guess it most cases it's a flutter.
Now that we've totally examined this to death, but I find theory to be interesting so thanks for the topic, Sarge.  ;D
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: TheGSMoeller on July 23, 2015, 07:40:47 AM
Greg, I'm not sure if you've ever shopped with Presto Classical, but they've got each volume of Oramo's Nielsen for $13, which is actually a good deal on BIS recordings:

http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/search.php?searchString=Nielsen+Oramo (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/search.php?searchString=Nielsen+Oramo)

In fact, BIS in general is on sale there. You have the Oramo Elgar First already, right? Cuz it's thebomb.com.

Thanks, friends.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 23, 2015, 07:42:30 AM
Got some info from a trumpet player, and he says that it is 95% time a flutter, with the small possibility of a valve flutter.

The Bernstein to me sounds like a double/triple tongue, and of course it could be a interpretive choice made my conductor or section principal, but I guess it most cases it's a flutter.
Now that we've totally examined this to death, but I find theory to be interesting so thanks for the topic, Sarge.  ;D

Thanks for your investigative work, lad!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: TheGSMoeller on July 23, 2015, 07:54:56 AM
Thanks for your investigative work, lad!

You're welcome. It was fun, I used to remember more back when I played, but now just have to reach out to my sources for answers.  ;D
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 23, 2015, 08:23:04 AM
Not that it means anything beyond the listener's particular hang-ups, but it greatly surprised me to read this dismissal of the piano works on amazon.com:

Quote
I agree with previous commentators that the performances on this recording are all of a very high quality. My beef is more with Nielsen as a composer.

Symphonic audiences outside of Denmark have, by now, become at least somewhat familiar with Nielsen's idom as a composer through his symphonies and violin concerto. Nielsen's 6 symphonies, like his string quartets, are the best pieces the composer wrote, and deserve their place in the orchestral and chamber music repertoire. Less so the Violin Concerto, which seems interminably long and full of tepid air. If Nielsen had let the 1st movement stand alone, he would have written a great violin concerto. Whenever I hear it played well, I want to jump up and applaud wildly. Then I realize that the rest of the audience isn't clapping and that the conductor isn't turning and bowing, and with a clammy sensation of cold sweat breaking out I realize that there are two more movements - another 30 minutes - of music to go. And those last two movements are definitely not great music by any standard of definition.

The same can be said about Nielsen's chamber music for violin and solo piano. The 1st Violin Sonata isn't half bad and deserves a hearing now and then, though those by Saint-Saens, Faure and Schumann are far more worthy to appear in a concert hall. The pieces for violin solo likewise. It is the 2nd Violin Sonata that takes the prize. The first couple of movements are merely ho-hum, but then comes the last movement. One expects that the previous inanities will continue, but - oh lord - is one in for a surprise! The last movement is so bad that I have always had a hard time stopping myself from bursting out with loud laughter as the pianist and violinist play this travesty of composition with a straight face. The fugue is like something the 2 year-old Bach could have written.

Most of the solo piano music is equally bad (or funny if one thinks of Carl Nielsen as a Florence Foster Jenkins-style composer in these pieces). It is patently obvious that Nielsen was no pianist, and that his pianistic skills were mediocre at best. His own skills must have influenced the quality of the music. Nielsen does try to incorporate the style that is uniquely his into these works, but goes overboard, so the piano music sounds like a bad parody of his symphonies and other, better, works. Of course, if someone else were trying to make fun of Nielsen's music, then the parody would be very good instead. Add to that passages in the piano which sound obviously clunky technically speaking, and you have a synopsis of Nielsen's piano music.

This set may be a steal price-wise, but one pays the penalty if the CD's with the 2nd Violin Sonata and piano music are played. Instead of having your respect for this bad-to-decent, at times great in his best works, composer ruined by listening to how ludicrously he was able to compose in all seriousness, I would recommend that you only buy CD's with the string quartets and the wind quintet. Getting the two CD set of the quartets performed by the Danish String Quartet is highly recommended. That way you will be able to continue to sit through Nielsen's symphonies in the concert hall without snickering, which will no doubt irritate those around you more than struggling with candy wrappers and texting while the music plays.

The performers deserve five stars for their efforts, but unfortunately, Nielsen's music on this CD set has to be considered as well. His 2nd Violin Sonata and the piano works merit one star (and that's catching me in a generous mood), so the average must come out to three.

Of course, there is no musical discussion of the piano music's alleged defects, just scornful witticism.  Personally, my enjoyment of the piano music has never resulted in any impulse to snicker at any of Nielsen's other music.  No doubt, some sort of pathology on my part, a morbid sympathy with "bad-to-decent" 20th-c. composers  8)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 23, 2015, 08:51:13 AM
Whew! Always breathe a sigh of relief when a recommendation ends well.

The first movement especially has all the things I look for. It has great detail (trumpets do not disappoint) and a sense of anticipation and excitement as the waltz climax approaches...and then, the waltz is played in an individual way that gave me a sense that the conductor knew what he wanted, and got what he wanted rather than just getting through it. Gave me goose bumps  8)  The only negative reaction I had to the performance was the tenor in the slow movement. But everyone responds to voices differently so I don't think that should necessarily bother others.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 23, 2015, 08:57:14 AM
Thanks for your investigative work, lad!

Seconded. If there is individual choice in how to interpret Nielsen's marking, that would explain the different sounds various performances have at this point (when you can hear it, that is).

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 23, 2015, 09:01:49 AM
Not that it means anything beyond the listener's particular hang-ups, but it greatly surprised me to read this dismissal of the piano works on amazon.com:

I don't think I've ever listened to the piano music. That review gives me incentive to give it go  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 23, 2015, 09:11:36 AM
Hah!  What was our Davey's phrase? “Resentment listening”?  8)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 24, 2015, 06:24:19 AM
The first movement especially has all the things I look for. It has great detail (trumpets do not disappoint) and a sense of anticipation and excitement as the waltz climax approaches...and then, the waltz is played in an individual way that gave me a sense that the conductor knew what he wanted, and got what he wanted rather than just getting through it. Gave me goose bumps  8)  The only negative reaction I had to the performance was the tenor in the slow movement. But everyone responds to voices differently so I don't think that should necessarily bother others.

Sarge

Really glad you enjoyed Oramo's Espansiva. Another one of my recommendations that rewards the listener. :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: The new erato on July 24, 2015, 10:48:59 AM
I like his 3 and 4. I haven't explored the rest in depth.

I'm listening to Oramo 3 now...it is magnificent. John and Brian are right. Despite the expense, I would consider that before Salonen.

Sarge
Breathes in relief. The bazooka rests.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: TheGSMoeller on July 25, 2015, 02:18:43 AM
Bazooka loaded? Tables ready to be rebuild? Because I'm willing to be the odd man out and claim preference of the Gilbert/NYP over Oramo/Stockholm. This is based on comparing nos. 4 and 5 since that's the only one available on spotify from Oramo.
For pure crisp sound and orchestral clarity the Oramo is tops, same can be said for their magnificent Elgar 2nd, but interpretation is lacking the level of stimulation I'm searching for within Nielsen's symphonies. I know I knocked on Gilbert's participation in an earlier post and gave more credit to the NYP, and it's still mostly the case. But when compared to Oramo, Gilbert is more detailed to my ears. He seems to stretch out some of the more dramatic moments, creating a larger sound wall, and truly pinpointing the importance of dynamics which puts the dark and heavy toned NY musicians on display.
This is not a negative review on Oramo, from what I've heard his Nielsen cycle is great, and I am an Oramo fan (although not big on his Bruckner), but when picking between the two newest cycles I'm leaning towards Gilbert.
Although BIS does outdo DaCapo in the recorded quality. Gilbert is taken from live performances which I would take over studio any day, but a few too obvious adjustments, 4th's second mvt gets bumped up so much that audience and stage noise becomes more apparent.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 25, 2015, 02:59:34 AM
Bazooka loaded?

I can't argue with you. I've only compared Gilbert's and Oramo's Espansivas...and in that Symphony Oramo is clearly producing more of what I want in this work, both sonically and interpretively.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: TheGSMoeller on July 25, 2015, 03:07:42 AM
I can't argue with you. I've only compared Gilbert's and Oramo's Espansivas...and in that Symphony Oramo is clearly producing more of what I want in this work, both sonically and interpretively.

Sarge

Good morning, Sarge,
I would like to hear Oramo's 3rd, I really enjoyed Gilbert/NYP's take, the first and final movements were very powerful.
If the BIS sonics are similar throughout the entire cycle then I'm guessing Oramo's 3rd is beautifully detailed.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 25, 2015, 05:03:34 AM
Bazooka loaded? Tables ready to be rebuild? Because I'm willing to be the odd man out and claim preference of the Gilbert/NYP over Oramo/Stockholm. This is based on comparing nos. 4 and 5 since that's the only one available on spotify from Oramo.

For pure crisp sound and orchestral clarity the Oramo is tops, same can be said for their magnificent Elgar 2nd, but interpretation is lacking the level of stimulation I'm searching for within Nielsen's symphonies. I know I knocked on Gilbert's participation in an earlier post and gave more credit to the NYP, and it's still mostly the case. But when compared to Oramo, Gilbert is more detailed to my ears. He seems to stretch out some of the more dramatic moments, creating a larger sound wall, and truly pinpointing the importance of dynamics which puts the dark and heavy toned NY musicians on display.
This is not a negative review on Oramo, from what I've heard his Nielsen cycle is great, and I am an Oramo fan (although not big on his Bruckner), but when picking between the two newest cycles I'm leaning towards Gilbert.

Although BIS does outdo Da Capo in the recorded quality. Gilbert is taken from live performances which I would take over studio any day, but a few too obvious adjustments, 4th's second mvt gets bumped up so much that audience and stage noise becomes more apparent.

We all hear things differently. Oramo just sounds right in Nielsen to my ears. Gilbert has the advantage of the NY Philharmonic, but Gilbert isn't Bernstein and he has no authority on the podium whatsoever. I like this analogy: Gilbert is a stream, Oramo is a raging river. :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: TheGSMoeller on July 25, 2015, 06:18:15 AM
GMG'rs...So what is you favorite of the 6 symphonies? And why? Favorite performance?

They are all so diverse and unique, it's been fascinating to rediscover these works.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 25, 2015, 06:35:06 AM
GMG'rs...So what is you favorite of the 6 symphonies? And why? Favorite performance?

They are all so diverse and unique, it's been fascinating to rediscover these works.

That's an incredibly difficult question, Greg. I love them all, but if I were forced into a corner, I'd pick The Inextinguishable. The reason why is a little more complicated, but I think this symphony is life-affirming. It's never depressive and it never feels like Nielsen is preaching to anyone. I think this symphony is his 'signature'. It has all of the elements that we've come to love about his music right from the beginning. This duality which I've mentioned many times is brought to the foreground. There's a constant struggle in this symphony, which where the duality comes into effect. These interwoven sequences of emotional temperatures remind me in some ways of Mahler, but projected into a completely different light altogether. The ending of the first movement also seems to have a longing quality in the music that peaks its head in his music from time to time, but it seems a bit subdued, but this feels like a sigh of relief or some kind of release. This symphony, for me, continues to be one of his most passionate musical utterances. Anyway, I have many favorite performances, but if I had to pick one it would be Blomstedt/San Francisco SO. I think Blomstedt gets beneath the surface of this music and isn't just concerned with creating a beautiful surface.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 27, 2015, 06:31:38 PM
I guess no one is going to answer Greg's question besides me? :-\

Anyway, love watching Bernstein conduct the Espansiva:

https://www.youtube.com/v/d5sbcF7p0Pk

It's apparent right from the start that Bernstein was loving every minute of the symphony. Surely, his performance of the 3rd is one of the best on record. The enthusiasm, honest affection, and command Bernstein had of Nielsen's idiom continues to be a source of inspiration for me. You can feel the love of the music in every bar of this performance.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: TheGSMoeller on July 27, 2015, 06:38:22 PM
I guess no one is going to answer Greg's question besides me? :-\

Anyway, love watching Bernstein conduct the Espansiva:

https://www.youtube.com/v/d5sbcF7p0Pk

It's apparent right from the start that Bernstein was loving every minute of the symphony. Surely, his performance of the 3rd is one of the best on record. The enthusiasm, honest affection, and command Bernstein had of Nielsen's idiom continues to be a source of inspiration for me. You can feel the love of the music in every bar of this performance.

I'd like to think some are losing sleep over the question it's so difficult  ;)
Thanks for the video posting, John.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 27, 2015, 06:48:25 PM
I'd like to think some are losing sleep over the question it's so difficult  ;)
Thanks for the video posting, John.

Yeah, even I'm losing sleep over choosing The Inextinguishable whenever all of the other ones are equally satisfying for me but obviously in different ways.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 27, 2015, 07:23:12 PM
Pan and Syrinx, Op. 49, FS 49

(http://www.myartprints.co.uk/kunst/willem_de_heusch/pank.jpg)

This eight-minute symphonic poem is an imaginative and very pretty piece based on a subject from Classical Antiquity, inspired by Ovid's Metamorphoses. It is the legend of the invention of the flute by the god Pan, who has been pursuing a nymph, Syrinx. Fleeing him, the nymph reaches a lake that cuts off her escape. The gods take pity on her, transforming her into a reed. From the reed, Pan built his original pan-pipe.

Obviously any piece concerning Syrinx is going to have major parts for woodwind solos. This eight-minute symphonic poem was written at the height of Nielsen's powers as a composer, right after he finished the Fourth Symphony. It is a vigorous, pretty, and poetic work.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is such a great work, although it seems like it's over before it begins being only 8-9 minutes in duration. It shows the composer in a different light. Some of the harmonies are almost Debussyian. What does everyone think of this work? My favorite performance would probably be Thomas Dausgaard/Danish NSO on Dacapo, although there have been several great performances like Niklas Willén's on Naxos (w/ the South Jutland SO).
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 28, 2015, 06:02:48 AM
It's time for some more spotlighting...

Symphony No. 3, "Sinfonia Espansiva," Op. 27, FS 60

(http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/68/a5/e0/68a5e03c2c061932e15564f355a4b9a5.jpg) (http://40.media.tumblr.com/5030ce795981dc7d556168dd006649d9/tumblr_noo4bhPKYu1rbcubso3_1280.jpg)

Carl Nielsen wished to demonstrate in his third symphony his conviction that music is driven by internal forces that seek to transcend their confines. The work begins with an energetic waltz of enormous scale. The melodic-rhythmic progression of this melody drives itself forward irresistibly, indeed expansively (the movement is marked Allegro espansiva), introducing several variations to which Nielsen returns throughout the symphony. As the opening theme is transformed and re-invented; one is reminded of Nielsen's fondness for Brahms' use of symphonic form, particularly his "developing variations" principle. The original theme serves as a "seed" that leads to new variations, which in turn give rise to new motifs. The movement ends merrily, almost flippantly, on an unexpected chord.

Nielsen wished to incorporate into the second movement, Andante pastorale, the sights and sounds of his rural childhood on the island of Funen (Fyn) in Denmark. The movement begins idyllically, with horn and strings sighing long, low tones, bringing to mind the shapeless sound of wind in the trees. A increasingly mournful mood creeps slowly into Arkady, while the opening melody is hinted at again in a heavier, more threatening manner. This is resolved by the soothing, wordless entrance of two human voices, baritone and soprano soloists who vocalize on the simple "Ah" vowel. Their contribution expands the tonal color of the orchestral palette. The movement ends with the orchestra and vocalists echoing each other as though in contented communication. Nielsen once expressed a desire to "imagine a music that would be similar to impressionistic painting, where the contours wash out in an atmospheric haze." This movement does just that, creating a rich and ethereal effect.

The third movement, marked Allegretto un poco, opens with a hushed brass fanfare, and proceeds into a flurry of restless energy in the oboe. This restlessness spreads throughout the orchestra, growing in urgency and volume as the movement progresses. As urgency settles slowly into calmness, punctuated only by occasional hushed alarms from individual instruments (violin, clarinet, flute), the oboe speaks again, this time reassuringly, bringing the movement to a peaceful close. The finale, Allegro, begins with a stately march theme. This expansive melody, in which the entire orchestra is involved, sums up the development of the entire work with a grandiose intensification reminiscent of Mahler. The loose ends, both emotional and musical, left by the first two movements are resolved in an exuberant closing.

The symphony proved to be Nielsen's international breakthrough. After its enthusiastic reception in Denmark, Nielsen conducted a performance at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, where the symphony was given high praise, launching a series of successful performances throughout Europe. It remains one of Nielsen's most often-performed works.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A masterpiece. Plain and simple. Much discussion has already taken place in this thread about the Espansiva, but I figured it needed another boost. My favorite performances right now are Bernstein/Royal Danish Orch., Oramo/Royal Stockholm PO, and Chung/Gothenberg SO.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 28, 2015, 06:09:11 AM
GMG'rs...So what is you favorite of the 6 symphonies? And why? Favorite performance?

I'd like to think some are losing sleep over the question it's so difficult  ;)

Not difficult at all for me. My favorite is so obvious I didn't think to answer your question at first. It's the Espansiva, of course, and has been since 1967 when I heard Lenny's performance. And his is still the version to beat. Chung and Oramo are definitely contenders though (I agree with John), and I have a special affection for Schimdt and Bostock too. And Kuchar for his brass detail.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 28, 2015, 06:17:55 AM
Not difficult at all for me. My favorite is so obvious I didn't think to answer your question at first. It's the Espansiva, of course, and has been since 1967 when I heard Lenny's performance. And his is still the version to beat. Chung and Oramo are definitely contenders though (I agree with John), and I have a special affection for Schimdt and Bostock too. And Kuchar for his brass detail.

Sarge

Yep, I knew you would choose the Espansiva, Sarge. :) I now feel guilty for picking The Inextinguishable...well...maybe guilty is the wrong word. Like I said, I love all of Nielsen's symphonies. I could have picked Symphony No. 5 just as easily as The Four Temperaments.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: TheGSMoeller on July 28, 2015, 12:39:04 PM
Not difficult at all for me. My favorite is so obvious I didn't think to answer your question at first. It's the Espansiva, of course, and has been since 1967 when I heard Lenny's performance. And his is still the version to beat. Chung and Oramo are definitely contenders though (I agree with John), and I have a special affection for Schimdt and Bostock too. And Kuchar for his brass detail.

Sarge

Thanks, Sarge. I've have the Chung in transit, very excited to hear it. I've grown to love the 3rd, it's fantastic.

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 28, 2015, 12:51:17 PM
Thanks, Sarge. I've have the Chung in transit, very excited to hear it. I've grown to love the 3rd, it's fantastic.

Yep, the Chung really is top-drawer and very much worth your time, Greg, but so is Bernstein's and Oramo's. Do you own Bernstein's?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 28, 2015, 04:39:14 PM
I've got to say this: over the past month or so while my love of Sibelius has increased more and more, my love of Nielsen has skyrocketed. I've always liked Nielsen's music but I honestly didn't understand him or his music well enough to count him as an absolute favorite. My, oh my, how the tables have turned. Phenomenal, visionary composer.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on July 29, 2015, 01:11:52 AM
I've got to say this: over the past month or so my love of Nielsen has skyrocketed.
Not surprising considering your activity in this thread.  :)

I've always liked Nielsen's music but I honestly didn't understand him or his music well enough to count him as an absolute favorite.  My, oh my, how the tables have turned.
What changed? What made you seek for better understanding of Nielsen's music?

In general I am interested why is it so difficult to understand artists? For me Liszt has been this kind of revelation: For long I simply ignored his music until I heard the B minor Sonata.  ;D

Phenomenal, visionary composer.
Yes, Carl Nielsen is an underrated composer (except in Denmark I guess?)

I have to say I don't listen to Nielsen very often, but when I do his music does impress me a lot. Now I am listening to Nielsen's choral works on Chandos, a CD I haven't listened to 15 years I believe!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 29, 2015, 05:27:52 AM
What changed? What made you seek for better understanding of Nielsen's music?

I guess I just decided it was high time I sit down and try to understand his music better. Again, I've always liked his music, but I didn't love it. After I rekindled my love for Sibelius, I was constantly listening to Nielsen and, I don't know, I just got into his music and finally understood it better. Reading about his life also gave me a whole new appreciation for him, which is something I never had done before. When I bought the Oramo cycle on BIS, this also helped cement this love of his music. I was then able to go back to older performances and get even more enjoyment out of them.

In general, I am interested why is it so difficult to understand artists?

I'm not sure if I can answer this question accurately, but I will say all great artists challenge you and bend your ears in new directions. Sometimes the attraction is immediate and sometimes it's not. I suppose it all depends on how receptive you are of the music.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 29, 2015, 06:12:03 PM
Chung's one of my favorites. I own these. Favorites in bold. Oramo I haven't heard. Still debating whether, at my age, I need another Espansiva  ;D

Rozhdestvensky    12:44  11:06  7:06  11:04
Schmidt              12:06  10:13  6:37   9:30
Horenstein            12:04   9:57   7:33   9:59
Saraste                 12:03   8:46   5:49   9:36
Schonwandt          11:44   9:34   6:21   9:36
Bernstein            11:37   9:50   6:26   9:28
Davis                    11:28   7:26   6:29   9:18
Gilbert                  11.24   9:12   6:36  10:03
Kuchar                11:19   9:41   6:35    9:16
Salonen               11:15   9:37   6:43  10:22
Chung                 11:07  10:00  6:41    9:17
Berglund               11:00   8:21   6:19   9:33
Frandsen             10:55   8:05   6:04   8:47
Bostock               10:37    9:14   6:14   9:39
Blomstedt             10:35    9:07   6:21   9:18


Sarge

I see that Thomson's Espansiva is missing from your list, Sarge. Do you own his cycle? I just finished buying the two recordings I was missing from this cycle tonight. Can't wait to hear what he does with Nielsen as I've loved his RVW and Martinu for years.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Moonfish on July 29, 2015, 07:46:33 PM
For some reason I really love this photo of Nielsen and his family (and the art on the wall!)!   0:)

(http://www.carlnielsen.org/sites/default/files/styles/inline_widebreakpoints_theme_nielsen2015_desktop_1x/public/images/501111_0.jpg)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 29, 2015, 08:19:11 PM
For some reason I really love this photo of Nielsen and his family (and the art on the wall!)!   0:)

(http://www.carlnielsen.org/sites/default/files/styles/inline_widebreakpoints_theme_nielsen2015_desktop_1x/public/images/501111_0.jpg)

A cool photo indeed. 8)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: amw on July 29, 2015, 08:32:44 PM
GMG'rs...So what is you favorite of the 6 symphonies? And why? Favorite performance?
For me the Sixth (along with the two wind concerti), with its stripped-down aesthetic that carries Nielsen's idiosyncratic style to its extremes, and the way it sets off its moments of heartbreak, passion and sheer insanity. Then the Third for its effortless nobility and grandeur. I haven't really considered getting alternate performances (though I did pick up Schønwandt due to not liking Blomstedt's way with the Third, and it has been more satisfactory but not totally so.)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 29, 2015, 08:40:35 PM
For me the Sixth (along with the two wind concerti), with its stripped-down aesthetic that carries Nielsen's idiosyncratic style to its extremes, and the way it sets off its moments of heartbreak, passion and sheer insanity. Then the Third for its effortless nobility and grandeur. I haven't really considered getting alternate performances (though I did pick up Schønwandt due to not liking Blomstedt's way with the Third, and it has been more satisfactory but not totally so.)

Try Oramo, Bernstein, or Chung in the Espansiva.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on July 30, 2015, 01:37:46 AM
I guess I just decided it was high time I sit down and try to understand his music better. Again, I've always liked his music, but I didn't love it. After I rekindled my love for Sibelius, I was constantly listening to Nielsen and, I don't know, I just got into his music and finally understood it better. Reading about his life also gave me a whole new appreciation for him, which is something I never had done before. When I bought the Oramo cycle on BIS, this also helped cement this love of his music. I was then able to go back to older performances and get even more enjoyment out of them.

I have to say I don't know much about Nielsen's life. I don't seem to need that to enjoy his music.

I'm not a big Sibelius fan and I have always been pissed of about the fact Sibelius is considered much more important composer than Nielsen all over the world.

I'm not sure if I can answer this question accurately, but I will say all great artists challenge you and bend your ears in new directions. Sometimes the attraction is immediate and sometimes it's not. I suppose it all depends on how receptive you are of the music.

Accurate answers don't necessarily exist to these questions. Preconception can make us less receptive. In Nielsen's case the attraction was immediate: Hearing the fourth symphony for the first time on radio blew me away.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: The new erato on July 30, 2015, 02:24:56 AM
I have to say I don't know much about Nielsen's life. I don't seem to need that to enjoy his music.
I read his self biography (borrowed from the local University library) called "Mitt liv" IIRC (aka My life) and remember it as a very good read.  I think I read it in Danish (no problem for a Norwegian) and have no idea if it is available in English translation.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 30, 2015, 03:26:18 AM
For me the Sixth (along with the two wind concerti), with its stripped-down aesthetic that carries Nielsen's idiosyncratic style to its extremes, and the way it sets off its moments of heartbreak, passion and sheer insanity. Then the Third for its effortless nobility and grandeur. I haven't really considered getting alternate performances (though I did pick up Schønwandt due to not liking Blomstedt's way with the Third, and it has been more satisfactory but not totally so.)

Nice thumbnails of the two symphonies.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 30, 2015, 03:32:21 AM
I have to say I don't know much about Nielsen's life. I don't seem to need that to enjoy his music.

That's perfectly fair.

Quote from: Poju
I'm not a big Sibelius fan and I have always been pissed of about the fact Sibelius is considered much more important composer than Nielsen all over the world.

Well, as we've often discussed around GMG, "importance" is problematic.  (Was Nielsen at all an "important" composer?  I don't know that he was . . . certainly of importance to, e.g., Holmboe and Langgaard.  And I'd say that his Clarinet Concerto is perhaps the most important for the instrument after Mozart, and an important model for Corigliano.)

We all find value and beauty in the work of lesser-known composer.  It's really a bit of a hang-up, I think, to "resent" the fame of justly-famous composers.  Well, my opinion, is all.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 30, 2015, 04:55:58 AM
I have to say I don't know much about Nielsen's life. I don't seem to need that to enjoy his music.

I'm not a big Sibelius fan and I have always been pissed off about the fact Sibelius is considered much more important composer than Nielsen all over the world.

Accurate answers don't necessarily exist to these questions. Preconception can make us less receptive. In Nielsen's case the attraction was immediate: Hearing the fourth symphony for the first time on radio blew me away.

We're all wired differently and respond to music in our own ways. All I'm saying is Nielsen took a little bit more work for me to finally crack. I think being pissed off about Sibelius' 'fame' is borderline ridiculous. Does knowing Beethoven was more influential than Brahms hinder your enjoyment of either composers' music? No, I don't think it would and, if it did, that would be a wrong-headed view to uphold. This said, Nielsen was an important composer and just because Sibelius may get mentioned more often doesn't mean that he was a third-rate composer.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 30, 2015, 05:06:44 AM
(Was Nielsen at all an "important" composer?  I don't know that he was . . . certainly of importance to, e.g., Holmboe and Langgaard.

Let's not forget Robert Simpson as well who was really inspired by Nielsen. I still haven't read his book on the composer (yet).
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 30, 2015, 05:23:27 AM
I see that Thomson's Espansiva is missing from your list, Sarge. Do you own his cycle?

I do not. I'm thinking about purchasing a download (something I rarely do) of 3.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 30, 2015, 05:31:00 AM
I do not. I'm thinking about purchasing a download (something I rarely do) of 3.

Sarge

The recording of Thomson's with Symphonies 3 & 5 can be bought for €14.59 through Chandos' site. Considering it's OOP, this is a good price and it's a real CD and not a CD-R.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 30, 2015, 05:38:34 AM
Let's not forget Robert Simpson as well who was really inspired by Nielsen.

I had forgotten, because he is nearly completely off my radar  :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 30, 2015, 05:43:51 AM
The recording of Thomson's with Symphonies 3 & 5 can be bought for €14.59 through Chandos' site. Considering it's OOP, this is a good price and it's a real CD and not a CD-R.

I got the Thomson set early on, and . . . all I can say with fairness to all the parties is, I do not carry any particular recollection of it (beyond the obvious musical competency of both band and director).  I shall listen to the Espansiva from that set this afternoon.

Separately . . . not the most convenient for our Sarge, but there's a Used—Very Good copy for $6.66 plus sh/h available from a good third-party seller in Maine.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 30, 2015, 06:14:40 AM
The recording of Thomson's with Symphonies 3 & 5 can be bought for €14.59 through Chandos' site. Considering it's OOP, this is a good price and it's a real CD and not a CD-R.

Separately . . . not the most convenient for our Sarge, but there's a Used—Very Good copy for $6.66 plus sh/h available from a good third-party seller in Maine.

Thanks for your suggestions. The reason I'm thinking download is simply to test it first before I consider adding another CD to the massive hoard I already don't have room for  ;)

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 30, 2015, 06:18:37 AM
Thanks for your suggestions. The reason I'm thinking download is simply to test it first before I consider adding another CD to the massive hoard I already don't have room for  ;)

Sarge

Here's your chance, Sarge:

https://www.youtube.com/v/cEBs9_Q4t-s
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 30, 2015, 06:22:59 AM
Here's your chance, Sarge:

https://www.youtube.com/v/cEBs9_Q4t-s

Cool! Thanks. You just saved me €9.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 30, 2015, 06:24:26 AM
You're welcome, Sarge. 8)

Here's Thomson in The Inextinguishable:

https://www.youtube.com/v/fg0RXjjalAw
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 30, 2015, 07:38:43 AM
I got the Thomson set early on, and . . . all I can say with fairness to all the parties is, I do not carry any particular recollection of it (beyond the obvious musical competency of both band and director).  I shall listen to the Espansiva from that set this afternoon.

I really like Catherine Bott in the Andante pastorale;  hers may be my favorite soprano tone in the various recordings I've heard.

Thomson has a curious purposefulness in parts of the Andante pastorale, and I am not sure how I feel about that.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 30, 2015, 08:20:25 AM
I really like Catherine Bott in the Andante pastorale;  hers may be my favorite soprano tone in the various recordings I've heard.

Thomson has a curious purposefulness in parts of the Andante pastorale, and I am not sure how I feel about that.

Just for fun, I cued up the second and fourth movements of Lenny's recording.

I do not genuinely dislike Ruth Goldbæk in Lenny's, but she's a little "operatic" in her delivery here;  where Catherine Bott's purity of tone melts me, and feels so exquisitely in harmony with the heartbeat of the movement.

Lenny's Andante pastorale clocks in at 65 seconds longer than Thomson's;  and while we all know that it isn't necessarily about where the clock has run out, Lenny's talent for giving the music ample breadth shows, in how he sets up the magic of the entrance of the vocalise.

In the Finale, Thomson is just a little heavy-footed, just a shade of "let's be through with it," perhaps, in both the fugato preceding the final recap, and in the recap itself;  where Lenny keeps a vital undercurrent intensity there (and elsewhere).
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 30, 2015, 05:10:56 PM
I've learned that all interpretations offer something different to the perspective listener. Whether they enjoy it or not is a matter of subjectivity, but, even if I don't like what a conductor has done with this or that musical phrase or movement, I feel better for having heard their interpretation, because finding what we don't like is just as valid as finding what we do like in a performance.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 30, 2015, 05:12:04 PM
The question is how did the Sarge like Thomson's Espansiva?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on July 31, 2015, 12:16:48 AM
Well, as we've often discussed around GMG, "importance" is problematic.  (Was Nielsen at all an "important" composer?  I don't know that he was . . . certainly of importance to, e.g., Holmboe and Langgaard.  And I'd say that his Clarinet Concerto is perhaps the most important for the instrument after Mozart, and an important model for Corigliano.)

I mean importance to a music listener, not the importance in music history. I agree the term is problematic nevertheless.

We all find value and beauty in the work of lesser-known composers.  It's really a bit of a hang-up, I think, to "resent" the fame of justly-famous composers.  Well, my opinion, is all.

Yes, it is, but as a human being I experience irrational feelings.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on July 31, 2015, 01:35:07 AM
I don't participate in the discussion of different recordings. Elgar is the only composer I have several recordings of and based on that experience collecting various performances of certain works is not my thing. Various versions just confuse me. To be honest, I do find these posts of whether Thomson is better than Bott or not uninteresting.

We're all wired differently and respond to music in our own ways.

Nothing makes people differ from each other more than music.

All I'm saying is Nielsen took a little bit more work for me to finally crack.

That's one example how music makes us different. To me Nielsen's music is very welcoming, like a funny and friendly person. Perhaps I don't understand it 100 % correctly as Nielsen intended it, but who cares when I enjoy what I hear?

I think being pissed off about Sibelius' 'fame' is borderline ridiculous.

I agree. Live would be easy if we could control our irrational feelings. One solution might be buying some Sibelius works I do like and that way get rid of the feelings (replace them with positive feelings). Tone Poems such as 'Nightride and Sunrise' is the kind of Sibelius I like. In fact, there is two sides of Sibelius: The symphonic Sibelius with zillions of recordings and the almost obscure Sibelius. Only a dozen of Sibelius' compositions are actually famous over the world if you think about it.

Nielsen's most famous "dozen" could be more famous imo.

Does knowing Beethoven was more influential than Brahms hinder your enjoyment of either composers' music?

No, because Brahms is rated high enough if not even overvalued. Even youngsters listening to hip hop may have heard of Brahms, but have they heard of Nielsen? No way in hell unless they live in Denmark.

No, I don't think it would and, if it did, that would be a wrong-headed view to uphold. This said, Nielsen was an important composer and just because Sibelius may get mentioned more often doesn't mean that he was a third-rate composer.

The difficulty of life is getting your feelings according to the facts. Is it even necessary? I rather have rational thoughts and irrational feelings than the other way around.  ;D
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 31, 2015, 01:54:08 AM
Maybe it's terminology . . . and "irrational thoughts" are [a subset of] feelings  ;)

I don't participate in the discussion of different recordings. Elgar is the only composer I have several recordings of and based on that experience collecting various performances of certain works is not my thing. Various versions just confuse me. To be honest, I do find these posts of whether Thomson is better than Bott or not uninteresting.

That's fine, you are not obliged to find anything that I post of interest!  (Thomson is the conductor and Bott the singer, and on the same recording, so I have not even considered how one might be better than the other  ;) )  I do think that is one of the beauties of GMG:  the interests of the virtual community as a whole are much greater than any single member could conceivably take a close interest in.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on July 31, 2015, 03:33:45 AM
Maybe it's terminology . . . and "irrational thoughts" are [a subset of] feelings  ;)

I consider thoughts and feelings separate prosesses in the brain (just as hearing and seeing are different senses). However, thoughts and feelings do interact: Feelings may cause irrational thoughts as is the case with may Sibelius "syndrome" and irrational thoughts may irrational feelings. If rational thought processes are too weak to limit irrational thoughts (in my case with Sibelius I am luckily able to rationally understand that my feelings and thoughts about Sibelius are largely irrational), irrational thoughts and feelings start to feed each other in a loop and a person may become mentally unstable and in extreme cases dangerous to others (e.g. brainwashed fundamental terrorists).

That's fine, you are not obliged to find anything that I post of interest! 

I do find many things you (and others) post interesting. Endless comparison of recordings however is not among the most interesting. Most of the cases I have not heard the performances people are talking about so it's difficult to participate. The performances I own/have heard often are not interesting to others or they have not heard them. It's like trying to discuss about chocolate: Those who don't live in Finland hardly know a certain Finnish chocolate bar that might be my favorite and I don't know much about English chocolates.

Overlapping gives an opportunity to have couple of versions of many "popular" works. For example I have two performances of Helios Overture. I don't even know which one I prefer. If someone has heard Dausgaard on Dacapo or/and Willém on Naxos, opinions can be expressed.

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 31, 2015, 05:17:03 AM
No, because Brahms is rated high enough if not even overvalued. Even youngsters listening to hip hop may have heard of Brahms, but have they heard of Nielsen? No way in hell unless they live in Denmark.

I don't think you understood my point: it doesn't matter who's more celebrated or who's more influential or anything of the sort. What matters is if the music is good to you and after that initial enjoyment, everything else is irrelevant. Personally, it doesn't bother me in the slightest that Sibelius gets mentioned more often than Nielsen. Both composers were different and had original things to say in music and, most importantly, I enjoy their music equally. Whether you enjoy one more than the other is purely your own personal preference.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on July 31, 2015, 05:45:15 AM
I don't think you understood my point: it doesn't matter who's more celebrated or who's more influential or anything of the sort. What matters is if the music is good to you and after that initial enjoyment, everything else is irrelevant.

That is very true, but my feelings tend to mess up with my head.

Personally, it doesn't bother me in the slightest that Sibelius gets mentioned more often than Nielsen.

Well, you simply don't have that problem.  :)

Both composers were different and had original things to say in music and, most importantly, I enjoy their music equally. Whether you enjoy one more than the other is purely your own personal preference.

I enjoy Nielsen's symphonies much more than Sibelius' symphonies, but Sibelius might be better of the two in "theatre music"/"tone poem" -type of works. I don't know the more obscure works of these composers well enough to have a real opinion. Perhaps 20 years from now I know better...
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on July 31, 2015, 05:52:03 AM
71 dB since you like Naxos so well (and in many cases they offer fine recordings), have you heard this recording?

(http://cdn.naxosmusiclibrary.com/sharedfiles/images/cds/hires/8.557164.jpg)

Everything on this disc is performed with a great enthusiasm and authority. A must-have for Nielsenites.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on July 31, 2015, 06:31:21 AM
71 dB since you like Naxos so well (and in many cases they offer fine recordings), have you heard this recording?

(http://cdn.naxosmusiclibrary.com/sharedfiles/images/cds/hires/8.557164.jpg)

Everything on this disc is performed with a great enthusiasm and authority. A must-have for Nielsenites.

Yes, I own that disc as I mentioned above (Helios Overture).
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: (: premont :) on July 31, 2015, 07:41:31 AM
Yes, Carl Nielsen is an underrated composer (except in Denmark I guess?)

 :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: (: premont :) on July 31, 2015, 07:48:15 AM
I read his self biography (borrowed from the local University library) called "Mitt liv" IIRC (aka My life) and remember it as a very good read.  I think I read it in Danish (no problem for a Norwegian) and have no idea if it is available in English translation.

The title is: Min fynske barndom = my childhood on Funen
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Moonfish on July 31, 2015, 11:33:15 AM
The title is: Min fynske barndom = my childhood on Funen

There is a Danish film by Erik Clausen based on Nielsen's biography (the film is seemingly impossible to track down):

Lots of information here: http://www.dfi.dk/faktaomfilm/film/da/9344.aspx?id=9344 (http://www.dfi.dk/faktaomfilm/film/da/9344.aspx?id=9344)

https://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/Min_fynske_barndom (https://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/Min_fynske_barndom)

(http://image.tmdb.org/t/p/w185/h18wmRl2xrjBGI8T7Z0IB0MM9K6.jpg)(http://www2.scanpix.eu/hfix/cgi/showimage.cgi?IMAGEID=20100204-152149-6&SIZE=620&SIZEORIENTATION=width)

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DaveF on July 31, 2015, 12:46:09 PM
I read his self biography (borrowed from the local University library) called "Mitt liv" IIRC (aka My life) and remember it as a very good read.  I think I read it in Danish (no problem for a Norwegian) and have no idea if it is available in English translation.

It is - in an old but perfectly good translation by Reginald Spink.  But it is what it says - an account of his life on Fyn up until he left for Copenhagen at the age of 18.  Perhaps there are some later diaries that will be translated and published one day - now they would make interesting reading.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: The new erato on July 31, 2015, 09:18:50 PM
The title is: Min fynske barndom = my childhood on Funen
Yes, that was it, it was 40 years ago I read it.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Brewski on August 01, 2015, 08:24:49 AM
Very much enjoying what I've heard from this box so far (the 5th and 6th). Makes me sad that Davis isn't around, but then, this must be one of the best things he recorded - so good to "go out with a bang."

And to address Greg's earlier question, I think the Fifth is my favorite, by a very small margin. I first heard Horenstein's version years ago (gorgeous LP cover below), and was immediately taken with that snare drum part. My brother recommended some other recordings of the piece, and gradually I fell in love with it.



--Bruce
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: amw on August 03, 2015, 12:38:24 AM
Dueling Chaconnes

(http://d250ptlkmugbjz.cloudfront.net/images/covers/28/13/0761203741328_300.jpg)   (http://d250ptlkmugbjz.cloudfront.net/images/covers/96/89/5709499498996_300.jpg)    (http://d250ptlkmugbjz.cloudfront.net/images/covers/28/95/0730099979528_300.jpg)   (http://d250ptlkmugbjz.cloudfront.net/images/covers/88/16/7318591671688_300.jpg)   (http://d250ptlkmugbjz.cloudfront.net/images/covers/22/74/0730099457422_300.jpg)   (http://d250ptlkmugbjz.cloudfront.net/images/covers/58/52/0094635925258_300.jpg)

- Christina Bjorkøe (A=444?) is the best recorded of the bunch and has the clearest piano playing. Her interpretations are somewhat wayward though, especially concerning rubato, which wasn't 100% to my taste
- Mina Miller's recording, extremely sensitive and fleeting and beautifully paced, was a nice surprise. Neither the instrument nor the recorded sound is particularly high quality, though, which detracts a little
- Elisabeth Westenholz would probably be the best performance overall for the first 6 minutes or so (the main body of the chaconne). She maintains the chaconne rhythm through the coda instead of relaxing, which some people will object to—it's not the kind of ethereal, floaty cloud music Miller achieves, and has more of the trademark Nielsen nervous energy. The piano sounds a bit tinny and xylophone-like in the upper registers
- Herman D. Koppel's piano sounds even more tinny and xylophonic. His interpretation is pretty 'out there' as well, being slowish and full of weirdness. Worth hearing, but I found he just didn't play quietly enough.
- Peter Seivewright is sufficiently slow and hesitant that I wondered whether he was sight-reading the piece.
- Leif Ove Andsnes turns in an interpretation that definitely attempts deep feeling. I'm somewhat doubtful how much he achieves. His playing doesn't have a lot of clarity (rhythmic/melodic) and in the end it just feels a bit insubstantial, particularly the big climax. I'm not sure whether his recording is highly viewed in piano circles.

For me personally I am considering getting rid of Roscoe and replacing it with Westenholz (as a 'reference' interpretation) and Miller (the most poetic/inward interpreter imo). I think some people would prefer Bjorkøe to one or both, you'd have to do your own sampling. Wouldn't bother with the lads, though Koppel might turn in an interesting Suite Op. 45.

edit: I misspelled Elisabeth Westenholz's name b/c I'm a dumbass
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Jo498 on August 03, 2015, 01:56:31 AM
I have to say I don't know much about Nielsen's life. I don't seem to need that to enjoy his music.

I'm not a big Sibelius fan and I have always been pissed of about the fact Sibelius is considered much more important composer than Nielsen all over the world.
Is that really such a big difference? I agree that Sibelius is more *popular*; there is nothing by Nielsen that is even close to Sibelius' Violin concerto, the 2nd and 5th symphonies and a few smaller works (Finlandia) in popularity. But I am not sure whether he is generally considered "much more important". There used to be a "school of thought" who more or less disregarded both as local figures (and to some extent historically backward/obsolete) compared to the "modernists of the early 20th century but not any more.

FWIW, of those two I find Nielsen considerably more interesting although I got to know his music later and I think both have their share of great and also some lesser works (and neither is for me in the exalted league of e.g. Mahler or Debussy and while I am not too fond of Richard Strauss I'd also concede that he is more important) but I would not say that any of them is really "neglected" nowadays. Compare e.g. to French composers of roughly the same generation like Magnard or Roussel.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 03, 2015, 05:48:31 AM
I think all of this talk of popularity is just nonsense. A similar question I've asked before: does knowing that Sibelius is more popular hinder a listener's enjoyment of Nielsen? No, I don't think it does and it doesn't matter who was more influential. I love both composers and both deserve equal billing in my mind. They're both highly original and inventive. No other composer sounds like either of them.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Jo498 on August 03, 2015, 06:25:56 AM
I don't think it's nonsense. It may not be very reasonable but hardly any music lover can avoid being somewhat disappointed if music he regards highly seems to be neglected. (Just watch Gurn ranting about Beethoven and later 19th century musicians eclipsing Haydn...)

And while it is of course not the "fault" of  Sibelius, I can clearly understand that someone might be slightly pissed off that e.g. Sibelius' violin concerto is hugely popular whereas Nielsen's is a dark horse. In that sense Nielsen's concerto obviously does suffer from the popularity of Sibelius's (as well as Tchaikovsky's, Prokofieff's  concerti etc.)
If anyone is to blame, though, of course not the composers, but performers who play or audiences who want to hear always the same stuff.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: ritter on August 03, 2015, 06:33:43 AM
In order not to take the "Favourite discoveries" thread too much off-topic, I answer Mirror Image's kind recommendations here....

Have you explored any of Nielsen's other symphonies, concertante works, chamber music, or operas, ritter? You being an opera buff, you should check out his Saul & David and Maskarade. I haven't heard either work (I own a performance of Maskarade, though). All of his symphonic output is rewarding. Each symphony is like a world unto its' own.
Thank's for that, Mirror Image!

Perhap's you missed this (which more or less sums up my current view of Nielsen):
In the height of scorching summer in Madrid, first listen to Springtime in Funen  ;). The title of the piece had always seemed very appealing, but Nielsen is only a recent discovery for me (thanks mainly to his keen proselitizers here on GMG  ;D) . I enjoyed the symphonies (the Inextiguishable and the Expansiva), I liked the Clarinet concerto very much, and found Maskerade rather cute. In this case, though, I must admit that even if I recognize a master composer's touch, I don't really like these pieces  (I've listened to Hymnus amoris as well). Purely a matter of personal taste, I suppose....  ::)


So, in a nutshell, I enjoy Nielsen and am glad to have made these discoveries, but they are not such as to really make me want to feverishly explore his output immediately...I'll take my time, so to speak.

Best regards,





Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 03, 2015, 06:38:56 AM
If anyone is to blame, though, of course not the composers, but performers who play or audiences who want to hear always the same stuff.

I can't blame anyone for wanting to hear music they enjoy or attending a concert with a program that interests them. If someone loves Beethoven and loves the fact that his/her local orchestra plays Beethoven at every concert, then I'm happy to hear it. If I saw Nielsen on a concert program in Atlanta, then I would attend, but, alas, I don't think this happens very often, but I'm certainly not worried about it, though. I have plenty of recordings of his music and if I'm ever in Denmark, then I'll make sure to visit at a time when Nielsen is on the Danish NSO's program. Life's too short to worry about such trivial things.

It used to bother me that one composer gets more mention than another one who I believe deserves it more, but it's just not worth worrying about for me anymore. At least I found Nielsen's music and this is all that matters to me. Everything else is out of my control.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 03, 2015, 06:48:26 AM
In order not to take the "Favourite discoveries" thread too much off-topic, I answer Mirror Image's kind recommendations here....
 Thank's for that, Mirror Image!

Perhap's you missed this (which more or less sums up my current view of Nielsen):So, in a nutshell, I enjoy Nielsen and am glad to have made these discoveries, but they are not such as to really make me want to feverishly explore his output immediately...I'll take my time, so to speak.

Best regards,

Ah, but have you given yourself sufficient time to really let his idiom sink in? I used to not connect with Holmboe (or Shostakovich for that matter), but today is a different story. I think Nielsen is a tough nut to crack for some. His style is just that singular, but you liked The Inextinguishable and enjoyed the Clarinet Concerto, so there's still hope for you. ;) Putting your personal opinions aside of his choral/operatic music, have you seriously listened to any of the symphonies outside of The Inextinguishable or any other orchestral/concertante work besides the Clarinet Concerto? For me, Nielsen, like Sibelius, is at his best writing for the orchestra, although I do have a fondness for some of his chamber music like the masterful Wind Quintet. Do give the symphonies and other orchestral works a listen. You may find yourself greatly surprised.

FWIW, I really enjoy Nielsen's choral works, but I can understand how they wouldn't be to someone's taste as they don't really have that kind of sound he experimented with in his symphonies or concerti, which I suppose is why I like them, because they show his versatility. Kind of like Sibelius, for example, there are many people that just listen to the symphonies, the VC, or the tone poems, but there's much more to the composer than these works. He wrote incredible theatre music as well as vocal music. Anyway, just give him a chance to grow on you.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 03, 2015, 06:51:04 AM
In order not to take the "Favourite discoveries" thread too much off-topic, I answer Mirror Image's kind recommendations here....

[...] in a nutshell, I enjoy Nielsen and am glad to have made these discoveries, but they are not such as to really make me want to feverishly explore his output immediately...I'll take my time, so to speak.

For your future consideration  :)

http://www.youtube.com/v/Ow0sYQH-8HQ
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on August 03, 2015, 07:48:28 AM
For your future consideration  :)

Marvelous piece, that Wind 5tet. I'm listening to it now, an old LP with the Melos Ensemble.

On the question of Nielsen v. Sibelius, I think they are about equally great as composers, but very different in style and personality. I think of Nielsen as a humanist and Sibelius as a nature mystic (though of course these are not exclusive categories).
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 03, 2015, 07:55:07 AM
Marvelous piece, that Wind 5tet. I'm listening to it now, an old LP with the Melos Ensemble.

I think I may have that one in the Icon reissue box.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 03, 2015, 10:05:07 AM
On the question of Nielsen v. Sibelius, I think they are about equally great as composers, but very different in style and personality. I think of Nielsen as a humanist and Sibelius as a nature mystic (though of course these are not exclusive categories).

I won't argue with this and I agree: both composers are completely different from each other.

Here's a nice little video with Thomas Dausgaard talking about Nielsen:

https://www.youtube.com/v/Fp94eSerLvw
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 03, 2015, 05:06:57 PM
Does anyone know the reasoning behind Bernstein not recording the first and sixth symphonies?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 03, 2015, 08:53:07 PM
A bit about my experience with Nielsen's music this year:

It took me about six years to come to grips with Nielsen's idiom. For some, the attraction to the music is immediate, but, for me, I had to work at it. I was allured by his sound-world but I didn't love it. This year, Nielsen's 150th Anniversary of his birth nonetheless, I finally cracked this music wide-open. Nielsen draws from many sources: Mozart, Brahms, Beethoven, Danish folk music, but this is all projected through his own unique lens and the result is something a bit off-the-wall, passionate, emotionally absorbing, half sweet, half sour, but, ultimately, his music was a reflection of who he was like all the great composers. His compositional voice is one of defiance and challenging traditional notions of symphonic music. I'm glad I never stopped listening. Great things do come to those who are patient enough to wait for it.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: The new erato on August 03, 2015, 10:31:45 PM
A bit about my experience with Nielsen's music this year:

It took me about six years to come to grips with Nielsen's idiom. For some, the attraction to the music is immediate, but, for me, I had to work at it. I was allured by his sound-world but I didn't love it. This year, Nielsen's 150th Anniversary of his birth nonetheless, I finally cracked this music wide-open. Nielsen draws from many sources: Mozart, Brahms, Beethoven, Danish folk music, but this is all projected through his own unique lens and the result is something a bit off-the-wall, passionate, emotionally absorbing, half sweet, half sour, but, ultimately, his music was a reflection of who he was like all the great composers. His compositional voice is one of defiance and challenging traditional notions of symphonic music. I'm glad I never stopped listening. Great things do come to those who are patient enough to wait for it.
We're all different. I remember being blown over in 1974 (at 23) hearing  my first Nielsen work ever, Bernstein's Espansiva - my girlfriend at the time was a music student and I followed some of her classes out of (personal and musical) interest. I was an engineering student at the time and blew some of my own classes to be with her and her class and get some expansion of my musical tastes at the same time.

Bartok's quartets and Debussy's Pelleas and Melisande are some of my other vivid memories of discovery from the same time and the same class. Of course, being a university, they had a wonderful record collection at a time when records and classical music wasn't a given. Have been a Nielsen addict (and a classical music hoarder) ever since.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 04, 2015, 02:38:07 AM
We're all different. I remember being blown over in 1974 (at 23) hearing  my first Nielsen work ever, Bernstein's Espansiva - my girlfriend at the time was a music student and I followed some of her classes out of (personal and musical) interest. I was an engineering student at the time and blew some of my own classes to be with her and her class and get some expanison of my musical tastes at the same time.

Bartok's quartets and Debussy's Pelleas and Melisande are some of my other vivid memories of discovery from the same time and the same class. Of course, being a university, they had a wonderful record collection at a time when records and classical music wasn't a given. Have been a Nielsen addict (and a classical music hoarder) ever since.

Most interesting!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 04, 2015, 04:53:34 AM
We're all different. I remember being blown over in 1974 (at 23) hearing  my first Nielsen work ever, Bernstein's Espansiva - my girlfriend at the time was a music student and I followed some of her classes out of (personal and musical) interest. I was an engineering student at the time and blew some of my own classes to be with her and her class and get some expansion of my musical tastes at the same time.

Bartok's quartets and Debussy's Pelleas and Melisande are some of my other vivid memories of discovery from the same time and the same class. Of course, being a university, they had a wonderful record collection at a time when records and classical music wasn't a given. Have been a Nielsen addict (and a classical music hoarder) ever since.

I wish I had a girlfriend like that! ;) ;D But, yes, we all respond to music differently. I will say the first symphony of Nielsen's to really get under my skin was The Four Temperaments, which I mentioned a few pages back.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 04, 2015, 05:11:43 AM
I don't think that defiance works as a general description of Nielsen's compositional voice . . . does not at all suit (for example) the Three Motets, Op.55, nor our collective favorite Andante pastorale from the Sinfonia espansiva, nor the Wind Quintet, Op.43, nor the courtly charm of the Poco allegretto from Det uudslukkelige, nor the celebration of the sunrise which is the Helios Overture, nor the bumptious finale of the Flute Concerto, nor the rugged good spirits of the Eb String Quartet, Op.14 (whose Finale is marked Allegro coraggioso), nor the sumptuous textures of Søvnen . . . you get the idea.

Independence, Self-Reliance (how very Emerson  8) ), yes . . . and one can point to individual pieces or movements which support the thesis of Defiance, of course.  To be sure, no one adjective will serve to describe the work of any great artist.  But you will pardon me for considering defiant as really quite deficient here.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 04, 2015, 05:16:06 AM
I don't think that defiance works as a general description of Nielsen's compositional voice . . . does not at all suit (for example) the Three Motets, Op.55, nor our collective favorite Andante pastorale from the Sinfonia espansiva, nor the Wind Quintet, Op.43, nor the courtly charm of the Poco allegretto from Det uudslukkelige, nor the celebration of the sunrise which is the Helios Overture, nor the bumptious finale of the Flute Concerto, nor the rugged good spirits of the Eb String Quartet, Op.14 (whose Finale is marked Allegro coraggioso), nor the sumptuous textures of Søvnen . . . you get the idea.

Independence, Self-Reliance (how very Emerson  8) ), yes . . . and one can point to individual pieces or movements which support the thesis of Defiance, of course.  To be sure, no one adjective will serve to describe the work of any great artist.  But you will pardon me for considering defiant as really quite deficient here.

I only used the word defiance in the sense that Nielsen went his own way as a composer and was a man who seemed to not compromise on what he wanted to do. Personally, I don't see how any one could refute this point.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 04, 2015, 05:20:51 AM
But....I do agree that Nielsen can't be summed up so easily, but I sure as hell tried, didn't I? ;) ;D
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 04, 2015, 05:25:03 AM
I only used the word defiance in the sense that Nielsen went his own way as a composer and was a man who seemed to not compromise on what wanted to do. Personally, I don't see how any one could refute this point.

I refute that Defiance is the right word for "going one's own way as a composer"  ;)  (Independence, as I suggested, is better).  He certainly did not need to defy the musical establishment in Denmark:  he was one of them.  (We might say that was part of Langgaard's quarrel.)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 04, 2015, 05:28:15 AM
Per this:

One of my very favorite composers:

Nielsen
String Quartet № 3 in Eb, Op.14 FS 23 (1897-98)
Danish String Quartet


This does not sound like a typical "late 19th-c. string quartet."  (Just saying.)

I did a double-take when I saw the date of composition.  The outer movements have a cheeriness which seems more reminiscent of Haydn.  The Andante sostenuto, though, while it is not chromatic in the manner of the Zeitgeist, is certainly warmly Romantic in manner.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 04, 2015, 05:32:02 AM
I refute that Defiance is the right word for "going one's own way as a composer"  ;)  (Independence, as I suggested, is better).  He certainly did not need to defy the musical establishment in Denmark:  he was one of them.  (We might say that was part of Langgaard's quarrel.)

But isn't defiance a part of not making any musical compromises?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 04, 2015, 06:01:06 AM
Also, after watching a documentary on Nielsen, I get the sense that Nielsen, in his own way, did not like the state of the current Danish musical establishment or at least the one that Niels Gade had built before him. So this idea of tearing down foundations and forging new paths is a part of what made think of the word defiant.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: TheGSMoeller on August 04, 2015, 06:56:36 PM
Rozhdestvensky's mostly broader paced take on Nielsen works wonders on No.2 and especially No.5. In fact, it might be the best 5th I've listened to. To me, No.5 is the Nielsen symphony that benefits the most from Rozhdestvensky's approach. There's more time for the music to breath and develop, and that's a huge advantage for this wonderful piece.
The entire set is very well done, but my only quibble is the 4th's finale, it just doesn't carry the intensity that I prefer. But overall it's a winner, and will contrast nicely to rest of my Nielsen collection.

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 04, 2015, 07:11:42 PM
Rozhdestvensky's mostly broader paced take on Nielsen works wonders on No.2 and especially No.5. In fact, it might be the best 5th I've listened to. To me, No.5 is the Nielsen symphony that benefits the most from Rozhdestvensky's approach. There's more time for the music to breath and develop, and that's a huge advantage for this wonderful piece.
The entire set is very well done, but my only quibble is the 4th's finale, it just doesn't carry the intensity that I prefer. But overall it's a winner, and will contrast nicely to rest of my Nielsen collection.



Good to read, Greg. If I recall, I enjoyed Rozhdestvensky's 3rd and 6th a good bit, but I haven't listened to any of his cycle in ages. It's quite difficult to beat Blomstedt/SFSO and Chung/Gothenburg SO in the 2nd and Blomstedt/SFSO and Martinon/CSO in the 4th. For the 6th, I have yet to hear anyone better Oramo/Royal Stockholm PO. It seems his vision of the symphony holds together the best and he keeps a steady narrative going, which isn't always easy in the 6th.  The 1st is also handled extremely well by Oramo. The 3rd and 5th are still Bernstein's, although there have been several great performances of both of these symphonies (Oramo, Chung in the 3rd and Blomstedt/SFSO, Schonwandt/Danish NSO in the 5th). Anyway, that's my two measly cents. ;)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: TheGSMoeller on August 06, 2015, 04:23:57 PM
Pulled this from Wikipedia about the final movement from Symphony No. 2...

I have tried to sketch a man who storms thoughtlessly forward in the belief that the whole world belongs to him, that fried pigeons will fly into his mouth without work or bother. There is, though, a moment in which something scares him, and he gasps all at once for breath in rough syncopations: but this is soon forgotten, and even if the music turns to minor, his cheery, rather superficial nature still asserts itself.

I never have read too much on the composition history of "The Four Temperaments", but was really pleased after seeing this as I've been fascinated with the sudden atmospheric shift musically midway through the movement. The four movements create quite a contrast and again I really like how Rozhdestvensky takes his time with this one.
I also have Blomstedt (which isn't as complete sounding after hearing Rozhdestvensky), Glibert and Oramo. Any other Temperament recs? Perhaps Chung? Who offers a compelling Espansiva.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 06, 2015, 05:07:11 PM
Pulled this from Wikipedia about the final movement from Symphony No. 2...

I have tried to sketch a man who storms thoughtlessly forward in the belief that the whole world belongs to him, that fried pigeons will fly into his mouth without work or bother. There is, though, a moment in which something scares him, and he gasps all at once for breath in rough syncopations: but this is soon forgotten, and even if the music turns to minor, his cheery, rather superficial nature still asserts itself.

I never have read too much on the composition history of "The Four Temperaments", but was really pleased after seeing this as I've been fascinated with the sudden atmospheric shift musically midway through the movement. The four movements create quite a contrast and again I really like how Rozhdestvensky takes his time with this one.
I also have Blomstedt (which isn't as complete sounding after hearing Rozhdestvensky), Glibert and Oramo. Any other Temperament recs? Perhaps Chung? Who offers a compelling Espansiva.

Yes, The Four Temperaments is a very good symphony. I like Chung's and Bernstein's in addition to Blomstedt's (SFSO).
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: amw on August 07, 2015, 01:27:16 AM
Pulled this from Wikipedia about the final movement from Symphony No. 2...

I have tried to sketch a man who storms thoughtlessly forward in the belief that the whole world belongs to him, that fried pigeons will fly into his mouth without work or bother. There is, though, a moment in which something scares him, and he gasps all at once for breath in rough syncopations: but this is soon forgotten, and even if the music turns to minor, his cheery, rather superficial nature still asserts itself.

I never have read too much on the composition history of "The Four Temperaments", but was really pleased after seeing this as I've been fascinated with the sudden atmospheric shift musically midway through the movement. The four movements create quite a contrast and again I really like how Rozhdestvensky takes his time with this one.
I do love the image of fried pigeons flying directly into the dude's mouth. To me, that last movement always sounded a lot like a small, floppy-eared dog that's been allowed outside for the first time in the day. Constant running around everywhere well beyond the capacity of any accompanying humans to keep up with him, demanding everyone throw tennis balls for him to catch, briefly getting all contemplative and lying down in the sun to contemplate dog philosophy or something, then being distracted by I dunno, a squirrel or something and jumping right back into action. Eventually, he runs out of energy and marches back home in an incredibly dignified manner (apart from the occasional stop to sniff a fire hydrant or tree or something).

Nielsen said the second movement (I think?) was a portrait of a lazy spoiled teenager, loved by everyone, who skips school all the time to relax near the water or whatever. I imagine that the thematically related third movement is the same teenager's reaction to being grounded by his parents for doing so. "My parents are so dumb and will never truly understand me! I'm going to dye my hair black and write poetry about death"
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 07, 2015, 05:17:58 PM
I try not to put too much into what a composer says about one of their compositions as everyone will feel something completely different whenever they listen to the music.
 
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: James The 1st on August 13, 2015, 08:27:30 PM
I only started listening to Nielsen's symphonies recently and dang they are good. The 5th is really good, I wish the local orchestra would play it, because hearing live would be awesome.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 14, 2015, 05:45:06 AM
I only started listening to Nielsen's symphonies recently and dang they are good. The 5th is really good, I wish the local orchestra would play it, because hearing live would be awesome.

Yeah, the 5th is a fantastic work no question about it. I would say all of the symphonies make a strong case for Nielsen. One symphony which seems to puzzle people is the 6th ("Sinfonia Semplice"). I love the quirkiness of it, but there are several moments of introspective beauty and I would say some personal 'confession' or perhaps some kind of sigh of relief. Anyway, it's good meet another Nielsenite. 8) Oh...and welcome aboard! Never seen you here before.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: relm1 on August 15, 2015, 12:10:57 AM
I try not to put too much into what a composer says about one of their compositions as everyone will feel something completely different whenever they listen to the music.
As a composer, I don't put much weight in what someone says in the forum. I trust what I feel about their post instead.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 15, 2015, 05:25:24 AM
As a composer, I don't put much weight in what someone says in the forum.

Then why post here? ???
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on August 15, 2015, 05:40:45 AM
Then why post here? ???

I don't think you got relm1's jokey analogy. Read it again carefully.  ;)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 15, 2015, 05:55:34 AM
I don't think you got relm1's jokey analogy. Read it again carefully.  ;)

:D
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 15, 2015, 05:58:42 AM
Anyway, back to Nielsen...

Has anyone heard this?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51yJ0MMAa1L.jpg)

The idea of Barbirolli conducting Nielsen's Inextinguishable sounds good on paper, but does the performance hold up? That's the question.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: TheGSMoeller on August 15, 2015, 07:57:14 AM
Anyway, back to Nielsen...

Has anyone heard this?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51yJ0MMAa1L.jpg)

The idea of Barbirolli conducting Nielsen's Inextinguishable sounds good on paper, but does the performance hold up? That's the question.

I was blown away by his Sibelius set, which I was not expecting. And I would love to hear his take on Nielsen. Let us know, John.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: ChamberNut on August 18, 2015, 07:32:50 AM
Nielsen's various piano pieces is what I seem to come back to most often.   :)  They are remarkable!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 18, 2015, 07:34:07 AM
Glad you enjoy them as much as do I, mon cher!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Camphy on October 27, 2015, 06:32:34 AM
Carl Nielsen is composer of the week at BBC Radio 3:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006tnxf

Amazon.de lists a new recording of the symphonies by Paavo Järvi & the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra on RCA, scheduled for a release in December.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on October 27, 2015, 07:32:08 AM
Too bad the cycle is with Paavo. I mean he's a pretty good conductor, but he's someone who I have felt has stretched themselves a bit thin by covering so many composers instead of focusing on a select group. A lot of conductors champion certain composers as well, I wonder who Jarvi has championed? Arvo Part? Perhaps.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: TheGSMoeller on October 27, 2015, 08:06:36 AM
I wonder who Jarvi has championed?

He champions the one he's sees in the mirror.

(http://pbs.bento.storage.s3.amazonaws.com/hostedbento-prod/filer_public/CET_Images/Online/Paavo_Jarvi.jpg)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Brian on October 27, 2015, 08:16:45 AM
Too bad the cycle is with Paavo. I mean he's a pretty good conductor, but he's someone who I have felt has stretched themselves a bit thin by covering so many composers instead of focusing on a select group. A lot of conductors champion certain composers as well, I wonder who Jarvi has championed? Arvo Part? Perhaps.
Well if you look at his Cincinnati Symphony series on Telarc, you get a good idea. He's brought that orchestra to Martinu, Tubin, and Tuur.

Also, on the whole, Paavo is a far better conductor than his father, with a better track record. I don't like his Poulenc, but that's the only real "miss" of his that I've heard so far. Whereas Daddy Jarvi would conduct literally anything post-Liszt, provided he didn't need to show a feel for it.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on October 28, 2015, 02:13:09 PM
He champions the one he's sees in the mirror.

(http://pbs.bento.storage.s3.amazonaws.com/hostedbento-prod/filer_public/CET_Images/Online/Paavo_Jarvi.jpg)

Hah! :P
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on October 28, 2015, 02:35:03 PM
Well if you look at his Cincinnati Symphony series on Telarc, you get a good idea. He's brought that orchestra to Martinu, Tubin, and Tuur.

Also, on the whole, Paavo is a far better conductor than his father, with a better track record. I don't like his Poulenc, but that's the only real "miss" of his that I've heard so far. Whereas Daddy Jarvi would conduct literally anything post-Liszt, provided he didn't need to show a feel for it.

I know your opinion of Neeme (a conductor I actually enjoy on some occasions --- his Prokofiev being my favorite anything from him). I'm not sure if I agree with Paavo being a 'better' anything than anyone. :) I remember hearing his Ravel, Nielsen, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, among others and being thoroughly disappointed by the almost lethargic approach he took with those composers. Definitely not up my alley at all. He redeems himself with his Part and several of his Sibelius recordings, but, as I said, he's not a bad conductor, just not one I rate too highly. I actually don't rate his father that highly either, but I'm not going to launch into the reasons as this is the Nielsen thread and not the Jarvi thread.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: calyptorhynchus on November 10, 2015, 10:42:58 PM
It's only taken 35 years after first hearing Nielsen's music for me to get around to listening to Saul and David.

I'm listening to the Horenstein recording in English and enjoying it enormously. With opera I get bored with opera composers' standard patterns and accompaniments, so it's a relief to listen to real composers like Nielsen, Mozart, Janacek, Mussorgsky, Vaughan Williams, Havergal Brian &c composing opera, because their orchestral writing is so inventive, as is Nielsen's here. So many felicitous sounds and textures are heard (just one example, the solo cello in the Witch of Endor scene, such a pity Nielsen didn't write a Cello Concerto, or Sonata).

The musical movement is very clear, of course, and the idea of having two or three big blocks of music in each Act has the effect of making the music symphonic.

The only problem with the Horenstein recording is the ancient sound and Boris Christoff singing wonderfully, but mispronouncing English so badly. (I guess they thought him mispronouncing English would go down better in Copenhagen than him mispronouncing Danish in Copenhagen). I'm wondering if I ought to get the Neema Jaarvi recording (in Danish). How does that compare?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: The new erato on November 10, 2015, 11:37:21 PM
I'm wondering if I ought to get the Neema Jaarvi recording (in Danish). How does that compare?
I cannot compare, but that is a very fine recording, dynamic and powerful, just like Nielsen's Music.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Christo on November 18, 2015, 07:02:11 AM
With opera I get bored with opera composers' standard patterns and accompaniments, so it's a relief to listen to real composers like Nielsen, Mozart, Janacek, Mussorgsky, Vaughan Williams, Havergal Brian &c composing opera, because their orchestral writing is so inventive, as is Nielsen's here.

Somebody had to (dare to) say it!  :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on November 18, 2015, 01:50:58 PM
This very fine boxed set restores Berglund's Bournemouth SO recording of Nielsen's 5th Symphony. It is one of the very greatest performances and has long been unavailable. I'm not sure that it was ever on CD and if so not for decades. The set has many gems including a very sibelian version of Vaughan Williams's 6th Symphony:

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on November 18, 2015, 02:45:22 PM
This very fine boxed set restores Berglund's Bournemouth SO recording of Nielsen's 5th Symphony. It is one of the very greatest performances and has long been unavailable. I'm not sure that it was ever on CD and if so not for decades. The set has many gems including a very sibelian version of Vaughan Williams's 6th Symphony:



Have you heard Kubelik's live Nielsen 5th, Jeffrey? Absolute scorcher.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on November 18, 2015, 03:34:03 PM
Have you heard Kubelik's live Nielsen 5th, Jeffrey? Absolute scorcher.
Hi John, I have a Kubelik version on EMI with Sibelius works but this may not be the one you mean. Hang on a minute...I think that I may have another Kubelik version on one of the BBC labels, maybe that is the one you mean...actually, come to think of it, I think that the BBC version is conducted by Horenstein.  ::)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on November 18, 2015, 03:38:08 PM
Hi John, I have a Kubelik version on EMI with Sibelius works but this may not be the one you mean. Hang on a minute...I think that I may have another Kubelik version on one of the BBC labels, maybe that is the one you mean...actually I think that the BBC version is conducted by Horenstein.  ::)

Yes, the Kubelik on EMI is the one I'm referring to. It's a great performance IMHO.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on November 19, 2015, 11:52:18 AM
Yes, the Kubelik on EMI is the one I'm referring to. It's a great performance IMHO.
Yes, it's a great CD as I think it also features the best recording of Luonnotar.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Camphy on November 20, 2015, 09:59:01 AM
Cover art for this new release:

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Camphy on December 09, 2015, 10:21:11 AM
Lovely reminiscences about John McCabe's recording sessions of Haydn, Grieg and Nielsen, written by his wife Monica:

http://www.gramophone.co.uk/blog/gramophone-guest-blog/remembering-john-mccabes-haydn-grieg-and-nielsen-recording-sessions
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DaveF on January 30, 2016, 09:36:14 AM
I don't think this



has had a mention since the first page of this thread - I got it in my local Oxfam shop yesterday and like it a lot.  Recording a bit distant, timps especially a bit muffled (although mine is an earlier issue, with a much nicer cover, looking a bit like one of the windows from Coventry cathedral), but increasingly convincing as it goes on, feeling all very structurally "right".  Also has a splendid side-drum cadenza, complete with rim-shots and whatever it's called when the sticks are bashed together.  Even with the less-than-perfect sound, the brass has a vicious bite, and the end is especially invigorating, with as little as possible no rit. up to the final chord (poco a poco allargando, the score says; not much poco here).  99p well spent.  Helios and the Sibelius items are also more than OK, and there's a laugh in the notes, where Vårsång is described as the "Finnish" title of Spring Song - an error reproduced faithfully in both French and German translations.  You think someone would have noticed...

Got this at the same time too:



(who's throwing out all their Nielsen?)  Also very good - Seivewright could perhaps be a bit more light-fingered in some of the Bagatelles, but the Chaconne and Theme & Variations are mighty impressive.  The Symphonic Suite sounds like a boxing match, as usual.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DaveF on March 05, 2016, 03:17:19 PM
I can't remember whether I've mentioned this here before, but all Nielsenites will be familiar with the old Ib Eriksson/Mogens Wøldike recording of the Clarinet Concerto from 1954, and yet a while ago when I decided to upgrade from my old Decca Eclipse LP to a CD transfer and bought:



I was quite disappointed to find that this was not the same performance as on the LP and, to my humble ears, not such a good one.  A browse through the contents of Danacord's 30-CD historical set here: http://danacordbutik.dk/product_info.php?products_id=33115 (http://danacordbutik.dk/product_info.php?products_id=33115) confirms this: there's a live performance (25:12) and a studio recording (26:42).  Annoyingly, it seems to be the live performance that gets onto the affordable reissues, while the much superior (much more accurate playing by Eriksson) studio version is hidden away in this megabox.  Both are on Spotify, if anyone is interesting in comparing.

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on March 05, 2016, 04:30:18 PM
I don't think this



has had a mention since the first page of this thread - I got it in my local Oxfam shop yesterday and like it a lot.  Recording a bit distant, timps especially a bit muffled (although mine is an earlier issue, with a much nicer cover, looking a bit like one of the windows from Coventry cathedral), but increasingly convincing as it goes on, feeling all very structurally "right".  Also has a splendid side-drum cadenza, complete with rim-shots and whatever it's called when the sticks are bashed together.  Even with the less-than-perfect sound, the brass has a vicious bite, and the end is especially invigorating, with as little as possible no rit. up to the final chord (poco a poco allargando, the score says; not much poco here).  99p well spent.  Helios and the Sibelius items are also more than OK, and there's a laugh in the notes, where Vårsång is described as the "Finnish" title of Spring Song - an error reproduced faithfully in both French and German translations.  You think someone would have noticed...

Got this at the same time too:



(who's throwing out all their Nielsen?)  Also very good - Seivewright could perhaps be a bit more light-fingered in some of the Bagatelles, but the Chaconne and Theme & Variations are mighty impressive.  The Symphonic Suite sounds like a boxing match, as usual.
The Alexander Gibson Nielsen symphonies (4 and 5) were both excellent and underrated as were his Sibelius recordings and his version of Vaughan Williams Symphony 5.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DaveF on March 09, 2016, 01:59:18 PM
Something else I've come rather late to as a confirmed Nielsenite:



The Clarinet Concerto is pretty good - Cahuzac's performance is not as risky as Eriksson's, but the sound is no worse (recorded 8 years earlier), apart perhaps from a side-drum that wanders about a bit, sometimes under your nose and at others inaudibly distant.  Cahuzac himself makes a lovely, if slightly unvaried, sound.  Sadly, nothing much good to say about the Serenata in Vano and the Quintet - the bassoonist of Nielsen's favourite quintet is notably inept, from the fluffs in his semiquaver runs at the start of the quintet to his apparent inability to play in a regular 9/8 in his solo variation.  The complete lack of repeats in the quintet - not only 1st movement exposition but any at all in the minuet - is also slightly disconcerting - something to do with 78s, possibly.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 02, 2016, 01:17:03 PM
Cover art for this new release:



I haven't heard much about this particular set, but knowing how his father disappointed me in Nielsen with the only exception being an excellent miscellaneous orchestral works recording on DG, I've been leery of that set.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 02, 2016, 06:28:33 PM
What does everyone think of Vanska's symphony cycle on BIS? I recall it being decent, but I haven't heard it in years. Any standout performances?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71e8-hm71kL._SL1050_.jpg)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 04, 2016, 02:25:42 PM
Flute Concerto, FS 119

(http://reversehomesickness.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/coastal-landscape-denmarkCoast_Denmark.jpg)

Nielsen was never much interested in writing a concerto on a heroic scale, saving his weightier material for his symphonies. As a result, each of his three concertos -- for violin, flute and clarinet -- are more or less intimate in character. If the Violin Concerto (1911) reflects an essentially traditional stylistic and harmonic outlook, the succeeding Flute Concerto mirrors the more modernistic currents of the 1920s.

This late work contains few real formal innovations; however, it is characterized by a conspicuous lack of tonal stability. Indeed, the first movement, marked Allegro moderato, seems to spend all of its time searching for a key center, beginning with a discordant sixteenth note theme in the violins. At first, D minor seems to be favored, but assertive themes in E flat minor and F major ensue, only to be followed by a dissonant, quasi-developmental section. Here, Nielsen interjects a coarse solo trombone part in an attempt to disrupt the demure proceedings. Eventually a new idea floats out radiantly on the solo flute, a simple cantabile melody in E major. This is quickly disturbed, however, and when the flute tries to reach it again in a cadenza, the orchestra contradicts it with a recapitulation of the opening themes. A brief second cadenza leads to a coda in the calming yet still uncertain key in G flat major.

While G flat is the relative of the initial E flat minor, it sounds unconvincing, as D minor and F major have been so much in evidence throughout the first movement. Thus, a second movement is needed. The movement begins with a charming melody in G major and proceeds with a rondo-like alternation between a 2/4 Allegretto section and a 3/4 Adagio section, leading to a culminating 6/8 Tempo di marcia, which is essentially a dance-like variation on the opening G major melody. Yet it is E major to which the movement really gravitates, and in a brilliant stroke, Nielsen brings back the bass trombone to provide the final tonal impetus, with a series of burlesque glissandi.

The Flute Concerto was composed for and premiered by the flautist Gilbert Jespersen.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]

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This is one of my favorite pieces of music...ever. I love it so much. There are a plethora of emotional temperatures displayed throughout the work. Does anyone have a favorite performance? Mine is Patrick Gallois/Chung on BIS. It doesn't get much better than this IMHO.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 07, 2016, 04:06:36 AM
Rattle talking about Nielsen:

https://www.youtube.com/v/-uHphR0KhYc
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 07, 2016, 04:08:10 AM
Review I wrote on Oramo's recording of Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3:

(http://onebitaudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/oramo_nielsen_1_3.jpg)

Title: Thrilling Nielsen From Oramo!

After listening to Oramo's Nielsen cycle many times, I've concluded that this is the best cycle of recent times. Far surpassing Gilbert, Järvi, and Storgårds. One of the more remarkable qualities of these performances is the amount of enthusiasm, emotional drive, incisiveness, and level of commitment Oramo brings to the performances. He is the yin to Rozhdestvensky's yang in terms of briskness and general attitude about tempi, but don't let this be a make/break decision. Make no mistake this is prime Nielsen in a time we need more performances as last year marked the 150th anniversary of Nielsen's birth (born in 1865).

Now more about this particular recording in Oramo's series: "Symphony No. 1" is brilliant performed and is one of the best on record (along with Chung's). While there may be some 'spot the influences' here and there, this is still unmistakably Nielsen from start to finish. I think it's one heck of a symphony and each time I hear it I remain engaged from start to finish. Of course, "Symphony No. 3 ("Sinfonia Espansiva")" is where we hear the composer working in his mature style. One could view "Symphony No. 3" as his 'pastoral symphony' or whatever and I certainly wouldn't refute that viewpoint. It does show a more lyrical side of his music, especially that serene "Andante pastorale" with the two vocalists providing an ethereal soundscape for the listener to dream in. This symphony isn't without its more raucous moments: the first, third, and final movements containing the more aggressive music. Of all of Nielsen's six symphonies, the "Espansiva" took me the longest to appreciate. Many would cite his "Symphony No. 6 ("Sinfonia Semplice")" as the toughest nut to crack, but I didn't really have any problems with it as I'm quite comfortable with composers dabbling in more Modernist styles. Anyway, I think the "Espansiva" is my favorite symphony right now (this could change at any moment as I love them all so much). Perhaps you'll appreciate the symphony more than I did on first-hearing? The performances from the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and the audio engineering couldn't be at a higher level than what's on display here.

I highly recommend Oramo's cycle, especially if you're looking to find a conductor who seems to understand the music on a deeper level, which the two afore mentioned current cycles fail to do.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 07, 2016, 05:46:45 AM
After listening to Oramo's Nielsen cycle many times, I've concluded that this is the best cycle of recent times.

Too bad these are BIS discs meaning they will never become cheap, new or used.  :(

Anyway, I am happy with my Leaper cycle and there is no need to look elsewhere...
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 07, 2016, 06:09:11 AM
Too bad these are BIS discs meaning they will never become cheap, new or used.  :(

Anyway, I am happy with my Leaper cycle and there is no need to look elsewhere...

Leaper is mediocre at best IMHO as I've heard his Symphonies 3 & 4 performances and that was enough. Plus, I didn't really suggest that you should buy another cycle anyway. :-\ As far as the expense of BIS recordings is concerned, oh well...I've been lucky to have found a lot of their recordings for good prices through the years.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 07, 2016, 08:37:59 AM
Leaper is mediocre at best IMHO as I've heard his Symphonies 3 & 4 performances and that was enough.
Fortunately his mediocrity does not stop me from enjoying the music, which is excellent in Nielsen's case.  :)

Nobody ever says anything positive about Leaper, but somehow I have never had problem with him and I have quite a many Leaper discs since Naxos has used him a lot. Perhaps Klaus Heymann and I are his only fans?  ;D

Plus, I didn't really suggest that you should buy another cycle anyway. :-\
That's true. I read is between the lines myself.  0:)

As far as the expense of BIS recordings is concerned, oh well...I've been lucky to have found a lot of their recordings for good prices through the years.
That's nice. One way to deal with the prices is to pay what is asked, but buy less. I have the Suzuki Bach cantata cycle to finish (volumes 51, 52, 53 and 54) and then there's the secular cantatas (I have the first two volumes of those).

Anyway, thanks for informing us that the Oramo cycle kicks ass. Maybe I buy the one containing #4, since it's my favorite, to experience the multichannel version (awesome with headphones Lt/Rt-downmixed and crossfed). They ask £10.30+shipping for it at the moment (typical BIS price). Spotify?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 07, 2016, 09:12:21 AM
Fortunately his mediocrity does not stop me from enjoying the music, which is excellent in Nielsen's case.  :)

Nobody ever says anything positive about Leaper, but somehow I have never had problem with him and I have quite a many Leaper discs since Naxos has used him a lot. Perhaps Klaus Heymann and I are his only fans?  ;D

I don't think Leaper is a bad conductor per se. It's just I found nothing remotely exciting or different about the performances I've heard, especially compared to his illustrious competition (i. e. Bernstein, Blomstedt, Rozhdestvensky, Chung, Schmidt, etc.).

That's true. I read is between the lines myself.  0:)

How about reading what is actually written and not what you perceive to be written? :)

That's nice. One way to deal with the prices is to pay what is asked, but buy less. I have the Suzuki Bach cantata cycle to finish (volumes 51, 52, 53 and 54) and then there's the secular cantatas (I have the first two volumes of those).

I seldom pay the full price, so I'm not too worried about it. I'll buy what I feel I want and need, but I'll always be sure I get a good deal on it in the process.

 
Anyway, thanks for informing us that the Oramo cycle kicks ass. Maybe I buy the one containing #4, since it's my favorite, to experience the multichannel version (awesome with headphones Lt/Rt-downmixed and crossfed). They ask £10.30+shipping for it at the moment (typical BIS price). Spotify?

Well, if I were to suggest a place to start with Oramo's Nielsen, it would be the recording I reviewed above (Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3). I'm not sure if Oramo's cycle is on Spotify or not since I seldom use the service myself.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DaveF on May 08, 2016, 07:03:10 AM
Flute Concerto, FS 119

This is one of my favorite pieces of music...ever. I love it so much. There are a plethora of emotional temperatures displayed throughout the work. Does anyone have a favorite performance? Mine is Patrick Gallois/Chung on BIS. It doesn't get much better than this IMHO.

I know his detractors don't always think highly of it, but I find that

(http://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/87/49/0886444774987_600.jpg)

has an authority and technical brilliance often missing from other performances (such as my other two - Toke Lund Christiansen on Chandos and old Jespersen himself).  Must listen to Gallois.

(And it's a candidate for Worst CD Cover.)

I've always heard the Flute Concerto as, if not quite a tragic work, at least a fairly damning judgement on Jespersen himself (or perhaps only resignedly humorous) - i.e. stressing the inability of the ultra-refined aesthete to perceive the obvious - in that the various themes of the second movement (the opening melody and its 6/8 variation) are all variants of the slow episode at the heart of the first movement (your "simple cantabile melody in E"), which it takes an ignorant bumpkin with a trombone to point out.

(http://carlnielsen.dk/media/Billedsektion/1879.jpg)

It's interesting that the first performance, hastily assembled, was missing the final trombone intrusion and had a much simpler and less conclusive coda - there are bits about it on the Nielsen society website.  Don't suppose that's ever been recorded, although it would be good to have it as an alternative CD track, like you sometimes get the shorter ending to the Bartók Concerto for Orchestra.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 08, 2016, 08:49:08 AM
Yeah, DaveF, I read about that simplified version of the Flute Concerto. It would be nice to hear even if it isn't the fully realized version we all know nowadays. I haven't heard Galway's performance. Who's the conductor/orchestra? This also makes a difference. If it's someone who has no affinity for Nielsen, then I'll pass as I like to hear a conductor who is up to the task as much as the soloist, which is why I singled out the Gallois/Chung performance on BIS.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DaveF on May 08, 2016, 11:00:09 AM
I haven't heard Galway's performance. Who's the conductor/orchestra?

Danish Radio Symphony, allegedly conducted "from the flute" by Galway himself.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: (: premont :) on May 08, 2016, 11:20:59 AM
Danish Radio Symphony, allegedly conducted "from the flute" by Galway himself.

Doesn't surprise me, as I suppose this orchestra would manage to play this work even without a conductor.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 08, 2016, 11:31:07 AM
Danish Radio Symphony, allegedly conducted "from the flute" by Galway himself.

Hah! Cool. Like premont said, it's not like the Danish RSO don't know the work well. :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 08, 2016, 01:03:21 PM
I don't think Leaper is a bad conductor per se. It's just I found nothing remotely exciting or different about the performances I've heard, especially compared to his illustrious competition (i. e. Bernstein, Blomstedt, Rozhdestvensky, Chung, Schmidt, etc.).

My idea of a conductor is to be a neutral and precise interpreter of the composer's musical ideas. Nielsen's music itself is exciting and different. I don't need conductors to add anything to it. I have not heard any of the performances you list.

How about reading what is actually written and not what you perceive to be written? :)

That's actually quite funny proposition, as if we could always "correct" our "false" interpretation with what the writer originally had in mind. What is actually written is not always unambiguous or free of hidden meanings. What we perceive is what we perceive.

I seldom pay the full price, so I'm not too worried about it. I'll buy what I feel I want and need, but I'll always be sure I get a good deal on it in the process.

In my experience BIS is one of the hardest labels to get good deals. There's several places to buy online, but something (currency rates/customs duty/shipping rates etc.) often renders the deal less attractive. Many Amazon.co.uk sellers do not ship outside UK and those who do often have significantly higher prices. Just today experienced this while buying the CPE Bach set. £42.06 is the "best" deal, but no delivery outside UK. The cheapest international offer is £51.43. That's no less than 22 % more! Amazon.de had a better deal (52.78 € delivered) and I ordered it from there. People living in "big" countries like US or UK don't necessorily understand that the good deals aren't always available for people living in other countries. Our "nordic" online music shop is cdon.com and you don't want to know how much it sucks. How about 17.95 € + shipping for your BIS discs? For those they happen to have available that is. Scared already?  >:D

Well, if I were to suggest a place to start with Oramo's Nielsen, it would be the recording I reviewed above (Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3). I'm not sure if Oramo's cycle is on Spotify or not since I seldom use the service myself.

Two of the three discs are there. The one with #2 and #6 oddly isn't.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on May 08, 2016, 01:57:33 PM
I don't think Leaper is a bad conductor per se. It's just I found nothing remotely exciting or different about the performances I've heard, especially compared to his illustrious competition (i. e. Bernstein, Blomstedt, Rozhdestvensky, Chung, Schmidt, etc.).
I never thought Leaper was anything special either, but he is certainly capable of turning in an extraordinary performance as in this performance here of Bax's evocative symphony poem Tintagel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3lPDkk-8Mk

Here he takes what most of us would perceive as a second-rate orchestra playing music that they do not know well and turn in a great performance !

Back to recordings of the quirkey Flute Concerto, my favorite is Julius Baker/Bernstein on SONY. There is restraint and artistry all done with professionalism and absolutely no showboating by Baker.

Another good one is this one which combines the Clarinet and Violin Concertos on budget price and is a steal at aftermarket price:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51sl8O9fIcL._SX425_.jpg)

BTW what do you guys think of this set?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71t0Iki%2B13L._SX425_.jpg)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 08, 2016, 02:27:47 PM
My idea of a conductor is to be a neutral and precise interpreter of the composer's musical ideas. Nielsen's music itself is exciting and different. I don't need conductors to add anything to it. I have not heard any of the performances you list.

If you haven't heard any of the afore mentioned conductors in Nielsen, I'd say you've got a lot of catching up to do. :)

That's actually quite funny proposition, as if we could always "correct" our "false" interpretation with what the writer originally had in mind. What is actually written is not always unambiguous or free of hidden meanings. What we perceive is what we perceive.

Then what you perceived isn't what I actually meant.

In my experience BIS is one of the hardest labels to get good deals. There's several places to buy online, but something (currency rates/customs duty/shipping rates etc.) often renders the deal less attractive. Many Amazon.co.uk sellers do not ship outside UK and those who do often have significantly higher prices. Just today experienced this while buying the CPE Bach set. £42.06 is the "best" deal, but no delivery outside UK. The cheapest international offer is £51.43. That's no less than 22 % more! Amazon.de had a better deal (52.78 € delivered) and I ordered it from there. People living in "big" countries like US or UK don't necessarily understand that the good deals aren't always available for people living in other countries. Our "nordic" online music shop is cdon.com and you don't want to know how much it sucks. How about 17.95 € + shipping for your BIS discs? For those they happen to have available that is. Scared already?  >:D

I understand that it's difficult for you to obtain BIS recordings for a good price, but as far as experiencing it directly, you're right, I don't know or have a clue, but this isn't my fault of course.

Two of the three discs are there. The one with #2 and #6 oddly isn't.

Doesn't surprise me. Spotify isn't what its cracked up to be. I'm glad I was never a paid subscriber (like I need them anyway).
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 08, 2016, 02:32:22 PM
Back to recordings of the quirky Flute Concerto, my favorite is Julius Baker/Bernstein on SONY. There is restraint and artistry all done with professionalism and absolutely no showboating by Baker.

Another good one is this one which combines the Clarinet and Violin Concertos on budget price and is a steal at aftermarket price:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51sl8O9fIcL._SX425_.jpg)

A friend of mine has this recording and says it is superb, but I haven't heard it. Have you heard Gallois/Chung in the Flute Concerto? Quite a remarkable performance all-around.

BTW what do you guys think of this set?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71t0Iki%2B13L._SX425_.jpg)

Not much. Paavo demonstrating, like his father, that he's bitten off more than he can chew and doesn't allow himself ample time to really absorb the composer's idiom. I've only heard the 3rd and 5th from that set and they were nothing special.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 08, 2016, 03:25:13 PM
Helios Overture, Op. 17

(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_Fh2aCkgfh6Q/S_TUm9YKRFI/AAAAAAAAAm4/LqmBnh36cWg/s1600/1+nuvole.jpg)

The Nielsens had some good fortune in 1903. The composer's wife, Marie Carl-Nielsen, was a noted sculptor and had received the Ancker Scholarship. This carried with it a period of residence in Greece to study classical art. Meanwhile, the composer had earned money with his opera Saul and David and also received a permanent annual contract with the publishing firm of Hansen. Both feeling secure, they decided to go to Greece together. The artistic couple were treated as visiting celebrities. The Athens Conservatory provided Nielsen with a room with a view of the Acropolis, complete with piano. He was able to hike in the mountains, tour the galleries, and in general enjoy his popularity with the people and the warmth of the sunny Mediterranean climate. His visit included a trip to Constantinople and a dinner with King George I of Greece (who was Danish-born).

In general he sloughed off and wrote virtually nothing the entire year of 1903; this overture is the only substantial exception. Nielsen provided a simple program for the overture, the name of which is the Greek for "sun": "Silence and darkness/The sun rises with a joyous song of praise/It wanders on its golden way/And sinks quietly into the sea." The music is not physically descriptive; it is more about the feelings the sun arouses: exhilaration, veneration, and joy. It is a rich and glorious orchestral movement.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]

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What does everyone think of the Helios Overture? I think it's a glorious work that comes to life through Nielsen's extraordinary ear for beauty and otherworldliness. There's a bit of a heroic quality to the work as well that never fails to excite me. Any favorite performances? I'll go on record and say I haven't heard a bad performance of this work. My favorites being perhaps Rozhdestvensky and Dausgaard, I recall Martinon and Willen have great performances as well.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: amw on May 08, 2016, 08:33:17 PM
Regarding BIS and prices—I've bought a few things from eclassical, because although used cds might at times be cheaper the shipping charges to New Zealand are pretty high regardless of reseller, putting the average price at NZ$25-30. (I could also pop down to the local CD shop and pay NZ$35.) For CD quality, eclassical charges me about NZ$12-16 for a 70 minute album, and I get it immediately. And if you're an audio person you can also get 24-bit studio masters though they're more expensive.

(That said, I requested the Oramo cycle through interlibrary loan and then ripped the CDs to my computer and sent them back, instead of buying them >.>)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 09, 2016, 12:49:21 AM
If you haven't heard any of the afore mentioned conductors in Nielsen, I'd say you've got a lot of catching up to do. :)
Catching up to do for what? I buy and listen to music for my recreational pleasure, not to "catch up".

Then what you perceived isn't what I actually meant.
Yeah.

I understand that it's difficult for you to obtain BIS recordings for a good price, but as far as experiencing it directly, you're right, I don't know or have a clue, but this isn't my fault of course.
Your fault it isn't. Some other things are perhaps harder for you to obtain than for me. The circumstances we live in shape the way we build our lives.

Doesn't surprise me. Spotify isn't what its cracked up to be. I'm glad I was never a paid subscriber (like I need them anyway).
I have never been a paid Spotify subcriber either.

A friend of mine has this recording and says it is superb, but I haven't heard it. Have you heard Gallois/Chung in the Flute Concerto? Quite a remarkable performance all-around.
You have some catching up to do it seems.  ;D Sorry, couldn't resist the tempetation. I have this Naxos disc and I have nothing negative to say about it.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 09, 2016, 01:03:52 AM
What does everyone think of the Helios Overture? I think it's a glorious work that comes to life through Nielsen's extraordinary ear for beauty and otherworldliness. There's a bit of a heroic quality to the work as well that never fails to excite me. Any favorite performances? I'll go on record and say I haven't heard a bad performance of this work. My favorites being perhaps Rozhdestvensky and Dausgaard, I recall Martinon and Willen have great performances as well.

Helios Overture was one of the first works I heard by Nielsen on radio and I love it. Such a great overture. I have Dausgaard on Dacapo and Willén on Naxos. Dausgaard is perhaps the better one of these.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: The new erato on May 09, 2016, 01:06:17 AM
A marvellous work indeed.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: (: premont :) on May 09, 2016, 02:13:53 AM
Review I wrote on Oramo's recording of Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3:

(http://onebitaudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/oramo_nielsen_1_3.jpg)

Title: Thrilling Nielsen From Oramo!


On your recommendation here I have acquired this recording (the Espansiva is the Nielsen-symphony I love the most), and I have to say, that this is a warm, passionate and brilliant interpretation, which easily takes the place among my favorite three Espansivas, the other two being Bernstein and Schønwandt. Thanks for insisting upon its qualities.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 09, 2016, 05:22:08 AM
Catching up to do for what? I buy and listen to music for my recreational pleasure, not to "catch up".

If you're fan of Nielsen's music, then wouldn't you want to hear other performances besides Leaper's? Hearing different conductors' interpretations will open up the music for you even more IMHO. Not only that, but I was just joking around with you anyway (hence the smiley face).
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 09, 2016, 05:24:39 AM
On your recommendation here I have acquired this recording (the Espansiva is the Nielsen-symphony I love the most), and I have to say, that this is a warm, passionate and brilliant interpretation, which easily takes the place among my favorite three Espansivas, the other two being Bernstein and Schønwandt. Thanks for insisting upon its qualities.

I'm happy to hear you enjoyed it, premont. :) Since you enjoyed this recording, do checkout Oramo's other ones. His Symphony No. 6, "Sinfonia Semplice" is the best I've heard IMHO.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 09, 2016, 09:24:21 AM
If you're fan of Nielsen's music, then wouldn't you want to hear other performances besides Leaper's? Hearing different conductors' interpretations will open up the music for you even more IMHO. Not only that, but I was just joking around with you anyway (hence the smiley face).
Well, I would want to do a lot of things, but I can't do it all. I would have to be a multimillionaire and live for 10.000 years.  ::)

Elgar is one of the few composers I have several performances of and I must say opening up the music is not the term I'd use. Waste of money and bookshelf space is my reaction quite often. My first Elgar symphony cycle on Naxos still is my "to go to" cycle after all the Barbirolli, Boult, Elder etc. I feel that exploring new music is more fruitful use of my money. The point is I usually seek for a "better" performance when I feel the performance I have isn't that good. I feel that way about Elgar's The Severn Suite for Brass orchestra. I have a crappy sounding CRD Records disc. So there's something to upgrade.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 09, 2016, 12:36:23 PM
Well, I would want to do a lot of things, but I can't do it all. I would have to be a multimillionaire and live for 10.000 years.  ::)

Elgar is one of the few composers I have several performances of and I must say opening up the music is not the term I'd use. Waste of money and bookshelf space is my reaction quite often. My first Elgar symphony cycle on Naxos still is my "to go to" cycle after all the Barbirolli, Boult, Elder etc. I feel that exploring new music is more fruitful use of my money. The point is I usually seek for a "better" performance when I feel the performance I have isn't that good. I feel that way about Elgar's The Severn Suite for Brass orchestra. I have a crappy sounding CRD Records disc. So there's something to upgrade.

Okay, that's certainly fine. You have you're own agenda and I have mine. A waste of money in your eyes is value added in mine. We'll never agree in terms of CD collecting, so I'll never bring it up to you again. Sound like a deal?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 09, 2016, 01:22:49 PM
Okay, that's certainly fine. You have you're own agenda and I have mine. A waste of money in your eyes is value added in mine. We'll never agree in terms of CD collecting, so I'll never bring it up to you again. Sound like a deal?

Thanks for the deal offer, but you are free to bring up things here. I'm all for the freedom of speech.

There might be aspects of CD collecting we do agree about. Sometimes I do feel another performance adds value, but not always.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 09, 2016, 02:08:01 PM
Saga-Drøm (Saga Dream), FS 46 (Op. 39)

(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-1KTqqsOWP4s/TyKwKfmssNI/AAAAAAAAS5Y/QXgEvCsxHhg/s1600/FredericRemington-Moonlight_Wolf_c1909.jpg) (http://38.media.tumblr.com/2e189e657ba957805ac3ce65dfad1a51/tumblr_n63g0iFytF1qflgwpo4_1280.jpg)

This ten-minute symphonic poem is one of the most striking and original of all Carl Nielsen's compositions. It is inspired by a Nordic legend called Njal's Saga. Gunnar of Hildarend, travelling with is brothers, makes an arduous crossing of the Tjors River. They stop to rest. He fell asleep and it was obvious he was having a dream. One of his brother's suggested waking him, but the other said "No! Let him sleep and dream his dream." The mood of the Saga-Dream comes from that line. It opens with a quiet and thoughtful introduction for strings. The music tried to form a chorale, but it floats away into formlessness like a dream. A fugal section again hints a the strands of the dream, and leads into a strange free-form cadenza for several instruments in which the voices of nature seem to be conversing. This is a strikingly "modern" passage, yet it is an exceptionally magical and beautiful moment. After that the chorale returns and coalesces into a more complete form, and a rested and tranquil coda finishes the work.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]

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More information:

While working on the music for Ludvig Holstein's drama Tove in the winter of 1907–08, Nielsen started to think about writing an orchestral piece based on Njal's Saga. The first traces of the introductory theme for clarinet and viola are to be found in Tove where it is played by a French horn. On 1 April 1908, just after completing Tove, Nielsen signed off the fair copy of Saga Drøm, only a few days before its scheduled performance.

Nielsen no doubt learnt of Njal's Saga and the piece's motto "Now Gunnar dreams; let him enjoy his dream in peace" from the translation by N.M. Petersen. The saga tells how Gunnar, on his way out of the country with Kolskeg and Hjort after being sentenced to exile, is so tired that he calls for a stop and falls into a troubled sleep. Hjort asks whether they should rouse him but Kolskeg replies, "No, let him enjoy his dream." In his dream, Gunnar imagines they are being attacked by wolves. He and Kolskeg manage to defend themselves but Hjort is killed. The others see Gunnar is having a nightmare but Kolskeg still insists that he should not be disturbed.

The unusual insertion of a free cadenza half way through the work may well explain why several of the reviewers were hesitant in condoning the piece. Kristeligt Dagblad referred specifically to "an intermezzo of a kind that can hardly be described in musical terms: it sounded more like an orchestra tuning up for a concert."

In an interview in Politiken published a few years later, Nielsen explained his work in some detail: "I am so fond of the work myself. It is kept almost piano all the time and musically it is very radical. It depicts the dream of Gunnar of Hlidarende, this marvellous figure from Njal’s Saga who plundered and slaughtered, yet was still made of finer stuff and was ahead of his time. He dreams of a brighter, better future for mankind, and I have tried, in muted tones, to give voice to the strange ideas engendered in the dream. There are among other things four cadenzas for oboe, clarinet, bassoon and flute which run quite freely alongside one another, with no harmonic connection, and without my marking time. They are just like four streams of thought, each going its own way — differently and randomly for each performance — until they meet in a point of rest, as if flowing into a lock where they are united.

[Article taken from Wikipedia]

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Outside of the symphonies and concerti, this is one of Nielsen's finest works IMHO. The fantasy and dream-like soundscapes really take my mind somewhere else. Favorite performances are Rozhdestvensky and Willen. What do you guys think of the work?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on May 10, 2016, 05:37:35 AM
A friend of mine has this recording and says it is superb, but I haven't heard it. Have you heard Gallois/Chung in the Flute Concerto? Quite a remarkable performance all-around.

Not much. Paavo demonstrating, like his father, that he's bitten off more than he can chew and doesn't allow himself ample time to really absorb the composer's idiom. I've only heard the 3rd and 5th from that set and they were nothing special.

Have not heard the Gallois because the cd is rather pricey. Usually for popular works like the Nielsen Flute Concerto I try to see what I can get cheaply first.

I think you are too hard on Paavo, I think he is much more interesting than his pop. Number 4 from the set is actually very good. I like the set because you get the Frankfurt RSO with a big beefy Teutonic sound, which makes a nice contrast to traditional Nielsen recordings with Scandanavian forces where the sound is usually lighter.

Saga-Drøm (Saga Dream), FS 46 (Op. 39)

A marvelous work in all respects ! I did NOT know this work. Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 10, 2016, 05:51:09 AM
Have not heard the Gallois because the cd is rather pricey. Usually for popular works like the Nielsen Flute Concerto I try to see what I can get cheaply first.

I think you are too hard on Paavo, I think he is much more interesting than his pop. Number 4 from the set is actually very good. I like the set because you get the Frankfurt RSO with a big beefy Teutonic sound, which makes a nice contrast to traditional Nielsen recordings with Scandanavian forces where the sound is usually lighter.

Saga-Drøm (Saga Dream), FS 46 (Op. 39)

A marvelous work in all respects ! I did NOT know this work. Thanks for sharing.

Saga-Drøm is, indeed, a great work and a favorite of mine. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Yeah, I'm pretty critical of Paavo and he has some done good work (Sibelius and Pärt), but I've heard many lackluster performances from him and those Nielsen performances I heard didn't really 'jingle any of my bells' so to speak.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on May 10, 2016, 06:38:57 AM
Regarding the Flute Concerto this one is pretty good:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWNfUDa4uTg (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWNfUDa4uTg)

Talk about Wunderkind, that kid is 12 !
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: (: premont :) on May 11, 2016, 12:08:53 AM
I'm happy to hear you enjoyed it, premont. :) Since you enjoyed this recording, do checkout Oramo's other ones. His Symphony No. 6, "Sinfonia Semplice" is the best I've heard IMHO.

Thanks, noted in my book.  :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 14, 2016, 03:56:36 AM
Since MI has been raving Oramo's Nielsen #3, I listened to it on Spotify yesterday and compared it to Leaper. Not sure, what I should have heard. Fine performance sure (perhaps a bit too aggressive, "brassy" to be Nielsen which is a bit feminine/"woodwindy" music imo). I'm still happy with the Leaper cycle.  0:)

It's been years since I listened to Nielsen's symphonies. I was surprised how little the music did for me. Maybe I am not in Nielsen mood? Have I outgrown Nielsen? Can't be!  ???
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 14, 2016, 04:16:37 AM
Since MI has been raving Oramo's Nielsen #3, I listened to it on Spotify yesterday and compared it to Leaper. Not sure, what I should have heard. Fine performance sure (perhaps a bit too aggressive, "brassy" to be Nielsen which is a bit feminine/"woodwindy" music imo). I'm still happy with the Leaper cycle.  0:)

It's been years since I listened to Nielsen's symphonies. I was surprised how little the music did for me. Maybe I am not in Nielsen mood? Have I outgrown Nielsen? Can't be!  ???

I prefer some aggression in Nielsen and the briskness of the overall tempi used by Oramo served the music rather well. I also like my Nielsen 'brassy' since those particular parts beg to be played rather forcibly, especially at climaxes throughout the symphony.

I also seriously doubt you've 'outgrown' Nielsen. I think you simply weren't attuned to the music at that point. I'm a believer that music that we love is music that never grows old or tiresome --- it's simply a part of us and, in many cases, we don't listen to our favorites too often because we know these are special composers. But it is inevitable that someone, who's curious about this music, will want to continue to seek out new composers and develop new favorites.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 14, 2016, 05:43:49 AM
Over the course of the weekend (or my weekend rather ---- Sunday and Monday), I'll be revisiting Gilbert's Nielsen cycle on Dacapo with the New York Philharmonic. I'm ashamed to have to admit that I haven't even heard the concertos recording. Reading many positive reviews on MusicWeb and elsewhere recently is when I decided to revisit the Gilbert cycle and give it another shot. Can foreign bodies to Nielsen's idiom produce markedly superlative performances? That's what I'll find out for myself.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 14, 2016, 06:01:34 AM
I prefer some aggression in Nielsen and the briskness of the overall tempi used by Oramo served the music rather well. I also like my Nielsen 'brassy' since those particular parts beg to be played rather forcibly, especially at climaxes throughout the symphony.
Oh. I found the brass aggression almost distracting. I felt that "Andante Pastorale" was the most successful movement for Oramo surpassing that of Leaper.

I also seriously doubt you've 'outgrown' Nielsen. I think you simply weren't attuned to the music at that point. I'm a believer that music that we love is music that never grows old or tiresome --- it's simply a part of us and, in many cases, we don't listen to our favorites too often because we know these are special composers. But it is inevitable that someone, who's curious about this music, will want to continue to seek out new composers and develop new favorites.
You are probably right here and I better try Nielsen again later. At the moment my mind is in the music of C.P.E. Bach and I also enjoy LFO's and Autechre's techno sounds.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on May 14, 2016, 08:24:02 AM
Can foreign bodies to Nielsen's idiom produce markedly superlative performances? That's what I'll find out for myself.
You are not entertaining the notion that only Scandanavian ensembles can produce great Nielsen right? There are some great Nielsen recordings by "foreign bodies" like Bernstein from the '60s and the justly famous Martinon Chicago SO 4th Symphony. Each just as punchy and trenchant as anything by Scandanavian forces and in the case of Martinon brass playing that none has surpassed.

Even HvK produced some very interesting if somewhat controversial Nielsen recordings.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on May 14, 2016, 11:07:03 AM
Saga-Drom is very fine. My daughter has asked me to take her to a classical concert so I hope to go to the concert featuring Sibelius's 'Prelude to the Tempest' and Nielsen's 5th Symphony at the Proms in London on 1st August - so, I really look forward to that.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 14, 2016, 05:26:22 PM
You are not entertaining the notion that only Scandanavian ensembles can produce great Nielsen right? There are some great Nielsen recordings by "foreign bodies" like Bernstein from the '60s and the justly famous Martinon Chicago SO 4th Symphony. Each just as punchy and trenchant as anything by Scandanavian forces and in the case of Martinon brass playing that none has surpassed.

Even HvK produced some very interesting if somewhat controversial Nielsen recordings.

That's very true, Wagnerite. Bernstein yielded some remarkable results in Nielsen as did Martinon in Chicago. Mehta has a smokin' 4th via LA Philharmonic that's worth looking into. I need to reacquaint myself HvK's Inextinguishable.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 14, 2016, 05:27:32 PM
Saga-Drom is very fine. My daughter has asked me to take her to a classical concert so I hope to go to the concert featuring Sibelius's 'Prelude to the Tempest' and Nielsen's 5th Symphony at the Proms in London on 1st August - so, I really look forward to that.

Very nice, Jeffrey. It's good to get the whole family involved in our obsession, isn't it? ;D

P.S. Who's the conductor/orchestra in this program of Sibelius and Nielsen?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on May 15, 2016, 02:14:28 AM
Very nice, Jeffrey. It's good to get the whole family involved in our obsession, isn't it? ;D

P.S. Who's the conductor/orchestra in this program of Sibelius and Nielsen?
Yes, I'm very pleased that my daughter wants to come John (even my wife is being dragged along  :o).
John Storgards is conducting the BBC PO. This morning I was listening to John Barbirolli's recording of Bax's Third Symphony and thinking what a fine conductor he was. So, in anticipation of the concert I have ordered this interesting looking CD:


I'm very interested to see what Barbirolli makes of the Nielsen. There is a letter from Vaughan Williams in which he wrote that he only made sense of a Nielsen symphony (No.5 I think or possibly No.4) after hearing Barbirolli conduct it.

PS there are three separate Johns in this message  8)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 15, 2016, 04:09:23 AM
Yes, I'm very pleased that my daughter wants to come John (even my wife is being dragged along  :o).
John Storgards is conducting the BBC PO. This morning I was listening to John Barbirolli's recording of Bax's Third Symphony and thinking what a fine conductor he was. So, in anticipation of the concert I have ordered this interesting looking CD:


I'm very interested to see what Barbirolli makes of the Nielsen. There is a letter from Vaughan Williams in which he wrote that he only made sense of a Nielsen symphony (No.5 I think or possibly No.4) after hearing Barbirolli conduct it.

PS there are three separate Johns in this message  8)

Thanks, Jeffrey. I hope you and your family enjoy that concert (if you decide to attend). This Barbirolli recording is the same exact performance as this earlier issue (I believe), which I own already:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51yJ0MMAa1L.jpg)

But not knowing Barbirolli's discography as intimately as you do, I could very well be wrong as he's probably conducted Nielsen several times.

Special edit: If I could actually read, I see that this Barbirolli is of the performance of the 5th NOT the 4th. ::) Whoops.... :-[
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 15, 2016, 04:53:20 AM
Symphony No. 5, Op. 50, FS 97

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-KLxiqK1VQBE/UC0eNHXSXaI/AAAAAAAAEIM/T6a4Cw_DbUg/s1600/World+War+I.jpg) (http://www.vivaboo.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/hope-for-the-planet-rain-sun-shine-through-dark-cloud-bird-water-rays-heaven-god-spiritual.jpg)

Nielsen began working on his Symphony No. 5 shortly after World War I. He was deeply affected by that terrible conflict, and the intensity of the Fifth may reflect the composer's feelings about war. At any rate, the work represents a significant shift in the composer's attitude and philosophy; many of his postwar pieces reveal an increasingly strident, polyphonic, and dramatic style, much in contrast to those of the pre-war era. Notably war-like is the dramatic content of the Fifth; conflicting moods and aesthetics are played out throughout: the consonant versus the dissonant, contrapuntal versus harmonic, constructive versus destructive. The work also represents a complete break from Classical form in favor of a two-movement structure; according to biographer Robert Simpson, the first movement contains "the crux of the conflict itself," while the second part is "a finale that would rise out of the ashes in a great fount of regenerative energy. Even this finale is not to be free of difficulties, but it is to prove irresistible in the end."

The first part of the symphony is divided into two contrasting sections: a Tempo giusto in common time and an Adagio non troppo in 3/4 time. A viola tremolo opens the work, a hypnotic perpetual motion figure that several brief melodies try to overrun. As other destructive forces encroach -- a flurry of notes here, an obsessive snare drum rhythm there -- the music reaches a chaotic peak and an Adagio section abruptly brings in constructive forces. Soon, however, the destructive element intrudes, and a veritable battle breaks out with the snare drum rhythm symbolizing the darker side of the conflict. The lyrical Adagio wins out, and the movement fades away with a peaceful clarinet melody, though still accompanied by the distant snare drum figure. An uneasy peace has been won as the second movement gets underway. The movement is divided into four main sections: the brisk opening Allegro subject surges along over an ostinato fourth motif in the bass, which leads into a scherzo-like Presto in the form of a fugue. Soon, destructive forces symbolized by the clarinet and tympani diminish the stability of this passage, and the more the music tries to continue in the face of these obstacles, the more frantic it becomes before an Andante passage finally introduces a second fugue. The subject is developed in a sonorous, polyphonic string texture before leading into a triumphant Allegro section that concludes the work on a note of exaltation and synthesis. "With the Fifth," Nielsen scholar Povl Hamburger asserted, "Nielsen reached the absolute summit of his creative power, not only in his symphonic, but in his instrumental music altogether. Nothing that was added afterwards equals it in greatness of mind, vision, and imagination."

[Article taken from All Music Guide]

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is possibly Nielsen's most disturbing symphonic utterance (although there are parts of Sinfonia Semplice that are pretty terrifying). I believe the first performance I heard of the 5th was Blomstedt's with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra on Decca and I remember being captivated from the first note to the last. There's really nothing like this symphony. The whole snare drummer episode where he practically takes over the entire orchestral soundscape is just pure madness. There are some 'rays of hope' in the symphony, however, like the Adagio that enters after the snare drum section. This gives the music a little relief, but there's still an air of uncertainty and unease throughout the rest of the symphony. My favorite performance is Bernstein's, but I really enjoyed Kubelik's with the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra on EMI I revisited recently. What about you guys?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on May 15, 2016, 07:26:07 AM
Interesting post John and interesting that you appropriately accompanied it with John Singer Sargent's extraordinary painting 'Gassed' which is in the Imperial War Museum in London. Coincidentally I was on a group walk yesterday when I was talking about this painting with a sculptor. It is very large and standing in front of it is a very moving experience. The ghostly procession of blinded soldiers is made even more poignant by the football match going on in the background. As to performance of Nielsen's 5th, like you I rate the Kubelik very highly but also the Horenstein Unicorn version. It is not generally highly praised but has the most anarchic side drummer I have heard. I'll let you know what I think of the Barbirolli.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 15, 2016, 12:46:13 PM
Interesting post John and interesting that you appropriately accompanied it with John Singer Sargent's extraordinary painting 'Gassed' which is in the Imperial War Museum in London. Coincidentally I was on a group walk yesterday when I was talking about this painting with a sculptor. It is very large and standing in front of it is a very moving experience. The ghostly procession of blinded soldiers is made even more poignant by the football match going on in the background. As to performance of Nielsen's 5th, like you I rate the Kubelik very highly but also the Horenstein Unicorn version. It is not generally highly praised but has the most anarchic side drummer I have heard. I'll let you know what I think of the Barbirolli.

Very nice that you could see this painting in person. It's one of the greatest war paintings I've ever seen actually and so telling in its presentation. I have the Horenstein 5th you speak of and need to give it a listen.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on May 16, 2016, 05:06:40 AM
Very nice that you could see this painting in person. It's one of the greatest war paintings I've ever seen actually and so telling in its presentation. I have the Horenstein 5th you speak of and need to give it a listen.
If you come to London you must see the painting John!  :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 16, 2016, 05:49:12 AM
If you come to London you must see the painting John!  :)

I most certainly will! If I were to go to London, I'd be spending at least two weeks there. After London, I'd go to Copenhagen and then off to Finland.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 16, 2016, 06:57:36 AM
... and then off to Finland.

You are coming to Finland? Cool!  :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 16, 2016, 07:12:40 AM
You are coming to Finland? Cool!  :)

One day (I hope). :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 16, 2016, 08:21:52 AM
One day (I hope). :)

Sibelius monument?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 16, 2016, 08:56:42 AM
Sibelius monument?

Sure and Ainola.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on May 16, 2016, 10:22:18 AM
I was at Ainola in 2013 - my Finnish friends took me there; a wonderful experience. My brother has been to the Nielsen Museum in Denmark and to see Bax's grave in Ireland. I would like, one day, to visit Miaskovsky's grave in Moscow.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 16, 2016, 10:39:38 AM
I was at Ainola in 2013 - my Finnish friends took me there; a wonderful experience. My brother has been to the Nielsen Museum in Denmark and to see Bax's grave in Ireland. I would like, one day, to visit Miaskovsky's grave in Moscow.

Very nice, Jeffrey. I didn't know you had a brother and that he's a Nielsen fan to boot. The apple doesn't fall very far from the tree. 8)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 16, 2016, 10:43:54 AM
Speaking of the Nielsen Museum, that would definitely be a place I'd love to visit when in Denmark:

(http://museum.odense.dk/imagegen.ashx?image=/media/4693/CNM%20foyer.jpg&width=800&constrain=true)

Also, I'd love to visit Nielsen's childhood home in Funen:

(http://www.amati.com/magazine/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Nielsen-birthplace-museum.jpg)

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on May 16, 2016, 10:46:26 AM
Very nice, Jeffrey. I didn't know you had a brother and that he's a Nielsen fan to boot. The apple doesn't fall very far from the tree. 8)
That's true John! My brother said that a sudden storm broke out in Denmark (possibly on the Island of Funen which he visited) and he said that it helped him to understand the source of some of Nielsen's inspiration. My brother was with me in Finland and we spend some time at my old friend's summer house overlooking a lake. My brother and I both, independently, thought of the opening of Sibelius's Second Symphony! All those old LP sleeve images I guess.  :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on May 16, 2016, 10:48:06 AM
Speaking of the Nielsen Museum, that would definitely be a place I'd love to visit when in Denmark:

(http://museum.odense.dk/imagegen.ashx?image=/media/4693/CNM%20foyer.jpg&width=800&constrain=true)

Also, I'd love to visit Nielsen's childhood home in Funen:

(http://www.amati.com/magazine/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Nielsen-birthplace-museum.jpg)
Ah, I'm sure that it was Nielsen's childhood home on Funen that my brother visited and where the storm broke out. Nielsen's wife was a sculptor and I'd be interested to see her work too.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 16, 2016, 10:51:28 AM
That's true John! My brother said that a sudden storm broke out in Denmark (possibly on the Island of Funen which he visited) and he said that it helped him to understand the source of some of Nielsen's inspiration. My brother was with me in Finland and we spend some time at my old friend's summer house overlooking a lake. My brother and I both, independently, thought of the opening of Sibelius's Second Symphony! All those old LP sleeves I guess.  :)

Yes, those sudden changes of weather could have possibly helped fuel Nielsen's inspirations, but also, I imagine, the folk music he had heard growing up seeped into his subconscious as well.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on May 16, 2016, 10:01:22 PM
Yes, those sudden changes of weather could have possibly helped fuel Nielsen's inspirations, but also, I imagine, the folk music he had heard growing up seeped into his subconscious as well.
Oh, definitely John.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on May 19, 2016, 05:19:51 AM
The Barirolli performance (1960) is magnificent with the most manic and anarchic side-drummer I have heard. He doesn't let up for one moment. Terrific performance all round.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 19, 2016, 05:26:18 AM
The Barirolli performance (1960) is magnificent with the most manic and anarchic side-drummer I have heard. He doesn't let up for one moment. Terrific performance all round.

Dadgummit, Jeffrey; you're costing me!  8)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 19, 2016, 03:27:36 PM
The Barirolli performance (1960) is magnificent with the most manic and anarchic side-drummer I have heard. He doesn't let up for one moment. Terrific performance all round.

Excellent! How's the audio quality?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on May 19, 2016, 11:13:13 PM
Dadgummit, Jeffrey; you're costing me!  8)

You'll just have to compose more music Karl or play in a jazz band to earn some more money so that you can afford all my recommendations. I am having to mark (grade) lots of public school examinations at the moment for the same purpose.  8)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on May 19, 2016, 11:14:59 PM
Excellent! How's the audio quality?
1960 recording and my stereo is not especially hi-fi. Also I have to listen to it at a fairly low volume or my wife instructs me to turn it down  ::). I'll listen again later and report back John. Seems fine though.

Added later. The recording is fine (live concert) from my point of view.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 20, 2016, 04:58:27 AM
1960 recording and my stereo is not especially hi-fi. Also I have to listen to it at a fairly low volume or my wife instructs me to turn it down  ::). I'll listen again later and report back John. Seems fine though.

Added later. The recording is fine (live concert) from my point of view.

Alright, thanks for the feedback, Jeffrey. 8)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 20, 2016, 05:18:01 AM
We all have to turn it down, else our wives instruct us so  0:)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on May 20, 2016, 06:01:32 AM
We all have to turn it down, else our wives instruct us so  0:)
:D
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 20, 2016, 06:36:49 AM
I just bought the August 2015 issue of BBC Music Magazine and Nielsen is the 'Composer of the Month'. I really wish he was the cover feature as Sibelius was on the cover in the February 2015 issue.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on May 20, 2016, 08:06:57 AM
I just bought the old BBC Radio Classics CD of Barbirolli conducting Sibelius Symphony 5 and Nielsen Symphony 4 (live concerts) and all for under £1.00!  :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 20, 2016, 08:15:27 AM
Nicely done!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on May 20, 2016, 08:38:51 AM
Nicely done!
:)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 20, 2016, 05:26:42 PM
I just bought the old BBC Radio Classics CD of Barbirolli conducting Sibelius Symphony 5 and Nielsen Symphony 4 (live concerts) and all for under £1.00!  :)

Very good. What are the performance dates?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on May 20, 2016, 09:42:53 PM
Very good. What are the performance dates?
1968 (Sibelius)
1965 (Nielsen)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 21, 2016, 04:50:56 AM
1968 (Sibelius)
1965 (Nielsen)

Thanks a lot! I wonder if that Nielsen 4th is the same as this one?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51yJ0MMAa1L.jpg)

This is the only Barbirolli recording I own of his Nielsen.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 21, 2016, 05:52:11 AM
I don't think this



Cross-posted from the 'Purchases' thread:

Just bought:

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0000/959/MI0000959632.jpg?partner=allrovi.com) (http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0000/955/MI0000955140.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

I've been eyeballing both of these recordings for quite some time. I had to give a good bit for the Gibson recording of Nielsen's Inextinguishable, but the recording of the 5th was rather cheap.

I look forward to hearing both of these recordings. I recall that Jeffrey had good things to say about Gibson's Nielsen as well.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on May 21, 2016, 08:50:41 AM
Thanks a lot! I wonder if that Nielsen 4th is the same as this one?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51yJ0MMAa1L.jpg)

This is the only Barbirolli recording I own of his Nielsen.
I don't think so John. I think that the BBC version is live and the EMI that you have is a studio recording although I may be wrong.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 22, 2016, 04:04:57 AM
I don't think so John. I think that the BBC version is live and the EMI that you have is a studio recording although I may be wrong.

I believe you're right, Jeffrey. That Barbirolli 5th is tugging at me right now. I don't really need it but seeing as Nielsen is one of my favorites I'm finding it hard to resist at the moment. :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 22, 2016, 04:18:45 AM
Here's a fair question for my fellow Nielsenites, how is the Bostock cycle of Nielsen's symphonies? How do they compare with say some of my favorites like Bernstein, Blomstedt, Oramo, Chung, Rozhdestvensky, Gilbert, etc.?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on May 22, 2016, 10:58:48 AM
Here's a fair question for my fellow Nielsenites, how is the Bostock cycle of Nielsen's symphonies? How do they compare with say some of my favorites like Bernstein, Blomstedt, Oramo, Chung, Rozhdestvensky, Gilbert, etc.?
Oddly enough the Bostock version of symphonies 2 and 5 was in the post box when I returned from being away for the weekend so I will be listening to it immediately after Saint Saens Piano Concerto No.2 ends and report back.  :)
I think that you'll have to have the Barbirolli Nielsen 5 John  >:D ( I'm aware you like modern recordings so I guess that could be a drawer back for you although it did not spoil my enjoyment at all and added to the sense of occasion. Yes, I like Alexander Gibson's Sibelius and Nielsen recordings and find him to be like Bryden Thomson an underrated conductor. I like his version of Vaughan Williams's Symphony 5 for example, which is not generally praised.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 22, 2016, 11:03:53 AM
Oddly enough the Bostock version of symphonies 2 and 5 was in the post box when I returned from being away for the weekend so I will be listening to it immediately after Saint Saens Piano Concerto No.2 ends and report back.  :)
I think that you'll have to have the Barbirolli Nielsen 5 John  >:D ( I'm aware you like modern recordings so I guess that could be a drawer back for you although it did not spoil my enjoyment at all and added to the sense of occasion. Yes, I like Alexander Gibson's Sibelius and Nielsen recordings and find him to be like Bryden Thomson an underrated conductor. I like his version of Vaughan Williams's Symphony 5 for example, which is not generally praised.

Thanks, Jeffrey. I look forward to your report on the Bostock. In the meantime, I've got to do some catch up with Thomson's Nielsen. Do you like Thomson's cycle? How would you rank in comparison with some your own favorites?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on May 22, 2016, 11:11:42 AM
Thanks, Jeffrey. I look forward to your report on the Bostock. In the meantime, I've got to do some catch up with Thomson's Nielsen. Do you like Thomson's cycle? How would you rank in comparison with some your own favorites?
I do like it John but it's a while since I listened to it. I like his Martinu, Bax and Vaughan Williams cycles too. Bostock Nielsen Symphony 5 is now on the CD player. The opening seems v fast to me which robs it IMHO of that sense of urgent expectation which I love in this symphony - will report back after I've heard the whole symphony.

Added later: I enjoyed the performance John, especially that of the second movement. I would have liked the anarchic side-drummer to be more closely miked (as on the old Horenstein Unicorn version). Overall a strong performance but I suspect that I'll go back to the Barbirolli more often as it has a greater sense of urgency. Did you know that the Bostock cycle is available in a super-cheapo 'Karl Nielsen, Danish Symphonist' boxed set?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 22, 2016, 12:07:26 PM
I do like it John but it's a while since I listened to it. I like his Martinu, Bax and Vaughan Williams cycles too. Bostock Nielsen Symphony 5 is now on the CD player. The opening seems v fast to me which robs it IMHO of that sense of urgent expectation which I love in this symphony - will report back after I've heard the whole symphony.

Added later: I enjoyed the performance John, especially that of the second movement. I would have liked the anarchic side-drummer to be more closely miked (as on the old Horenstein Unicorn version). Overall a strong performance but I suspect that I'll go back to the Barbirolli more often as it has a greater sense of urgency. Did you know that the Bostock cycle is available in a super-cheapo 'Karl Nielsen, Danish Symphonist' boxed set?

Thank you for your feedback regarding that Bostock recording. Yes, I've known of that box set you speak of (Carl Nielsen: Danish Symphonist), but I've read some discouraging things about the audio quality as well in Bostock's cycle (too much forward placement of the orchestra and not enough weight and space given for the music to breathe). This said, I find it hard to believe that any new performance I hear of his 5th will top Bernstein's (my all-time favorite). I mean I know there's a lot to be said of someone who keeps an open-mind, but Bernstein's bracing account is implanted into my memory and I find it hard to forget, but I'll definitely be getting the Barbirolli at some point.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on May 22, 2016, 08:29:16 PM
Thank you for your feedback regarding that Bostock recording. Yes, I've known of that box set you speak of (Carl Nielsen: Danish Symphonist), but I've read some discouraging things about the audio quality as well in Bostock's cycle (too much forward placement of the orchestra and not enough weight and space given for the music to breathe). This said, I find it hard to believe that any new performance I hear of his 5th will top Bernstein's (my all-time favorite). I mean I know there's a lot to be said of someone who keeps an open-mind, but Bernstein's bracing account is implanted into my memory and I find it hard to forget, but I'll definitely be getting the Barbirolli at some point.
I have the Bernstein too - it is excellent. It is in a Sony set featuring Ormandy's recording of Symphony 6 which is IMHO the greatest one I know of that symphony. My brother likes No.6 best of all and 5 least of all. 5,6,4 are my favourites.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 23, 2016, 07:26:14 AM
I have the Bernstein too - it is excellent. It is in a Sony set featuring Ormandy's recording of Symphony 6 which is IMHO the greatest one I know of that symphony. My brother likes No.6 best of all and 5 least of all. 5,6,4 are my favourites.

Upon your recommendation, I bought Ormandy's 6th. I'm really looking forward to hearing it. Your brother likes the 5th the least? Wow...I'd imagine we'd have some spirited arguments about this symphony (if I were to speak with him). ;)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on May 23, 2016, 08:45:35 AM
Upon your recommendation, I bought Ormandy's 6th. I'm really looking forward to hearing it. Your brother likes the 5th the least? Wow...I'd imagine we'd have some spirited arguments about this symphony (if I were to speak with him). ;)
Am sure you'll love the Ormandy. Yes, my brother thinks that No.6 is the greatest of all. That first movement is wonderful - it tries to be cheerful but this is undermined by tragedy - a truly poignant and tragic work. Let us know what you think of the Ormandy. I have it with the Bernstein version of No.5 in the Sony Essential Classics set.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 23, 2016, 08:59:30 AM
Am sure you'll love the Ormandy. Yes, my brother thinks that No.6 is the greatest of all. That first movement is wonderful - it tries to be cheerful but this is undermined by tragedy - a truly poignant and tragic work. Let us know what you think of the Ormandy. I have it with the Bernstein version of No.5 in the Sony Essential Classics set.

Thanks, Jeffrey. I'm sure I will. The 6th was a work that came quite easily to me whereas for many listeners I've spoken with it remains a bit of an enigma. I think the undercurrents of this music, which, to me, sound menacing and almost apocalyptic, are masked by this outwardly strange, but good-natured exterior. It's almost like he's hiding and doesn't want to fully acknowledge what could possibly be his true intent. With the 5th, I think it's perfectly clear what we hear: this is a war symphony, but the 6th has this odd ongoing narrative that doesn't always let the listener in, but, like I mentioned, I had no problems with it and it should be just as well known as the middle symphonies IMHO.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on May 23, 2016, 09:28:00 AM
Thanks, Jeffrey. I'm sure I will. The 6th was a work that came quite easily to me whereas for many listeners I've spoken with it remains a bit of an enigma. I think the undercurrents of this music, which, to me, sound menacing and almost apocalyptic, are masked by this outwardly strange, but good-natured exterior. It's almost like he's hiding and doesn't want to fully acknowledge what could possibly be his true intent. With the 5th, I think it's perfectly clear what we hear: this is a war symphony, but the 6th has this odd ongoing narrative that doesn't always let the listener in, but, like I mentioned, I had no problems with it and it should be just as well known as the middle symphonies IMHO.
Excellent analysis John - I agree with what you say although you expressed it much better.  :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 23, 2016, 10:03:57 AM
Excellent analysis John - I agree with what you say although you expressed it much better.  :)

Thanks. Obviously words can't do the music any kind of justice, but we can certainly try! ;D
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 09, 2016, 03:08:08 AM
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on June 09, 2016, 03:31:46 AM
Hah! I was about to post this! Yes, Happy Birthday, Mr. Carl August Nielsen!

(http://animatedimagepic.com/image/happy-birthday/happy-birthday-9100.gif)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Brewski on June 09, 2016, 03:32:08 AM
How nice! Maybe I'll go get a bottle of aquavit in his honor. :-)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 09, 2016, 03:42:26 AM
How nice! Maybe I'll go get a bottle of aquavit in his honor. :-)

--Bruce

Bottoms up!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on July 17, 2016, 05:41:44 AM
I'm fairly amazed to discover that scores of all of Nielsen's works are available for free download:

http://www.kb.dk/en/nb/dcm/cnu/download.html

Instead of fighting madly to keep things in copyright forever, they're throwing it out there. Yes, they are also selling the kinds of versions you might need for performance in some cases, but fundamentally they're keen to get the music as wide a distribution as possible.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on July 17, 2016, 06:14:25 AM
I use this site (for example the 4th symphony):

http://imslp.org/wiki/Symphony_No.4,_Op.29_(Nielsen,_Carl) (http://imslp.org/wiki/Symphony_No.4,_Op.29_(Nielsen,_Carl))

But pretty much everything else is available too...
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on July 17, 2016, 01:51:29 PM
Yes, but IMSLP is a generic site, and occasionally it runs into trouble. This is rather different.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on August 03, 2016, 01:26:04 AM
I attended a wonderful performance of Symphony 5 in London on Monday (Storgards, BBC Philharmonic) at the Proms. So great to hear this work live. My daughter asked me to take her to a classical concert and she and my niece thoroughly enjoyed it, including the modernist opening work for glass harmonica by Jorg Widmann (born 1973). Also included was The Tempest Prelude by Sibelius and the Violin Concerto by Schumann.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 03, 2016, 02:51:19 AM
I attended a wonderful performance of Symphony 5 in London on Monday (Storgards, BBC Philharmonic) at the Proms. So great to hear this work live. My daughter asked me to take her to a classical concert and she and my niece thoroughly enjoyed it, including the modernist opening work for glass harmonica by Jorg Widmann (born 1973). Also included was The Tempest Prelude by Sibelius and the Violin Concerto by Schumann.

Cool! (If only it had been the Schuman Violin Concerto 8) )
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 03, 2016, 05:24:34 AM
I attended a wonderful performance of Symphony 5 in London on Monday (Storgards, BBC Philharmonic) at the Proms. So great to hear this work live. My daughter asked me to take her to a classical concert and she and my niece thoroughly enjoyed it, including the modernist opening work for glass harmonica by Jorg Widmann (born 1973). Also included was The Tempest Prelude by Sibelius and the Violin Concerto by Schumann.

Very nice, Jeffrey. If only they would have performed Nielsen's "Violin Concerto" instead of Schumann's. :) Who was the violinist by the way?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on August 03, 2016, 06:32:33 AM
Cool! (If only it had been the Schuman Violin Concerto 8) )
You like that piece? It seems rather meandering and long, anyway not surprised it is so infrequently performed.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: calyptorhynchus on August 03, 2016, 03:14:41 PM
...And I've always thought that Nielsen's Violin Concerto is inexplicably poor compared to his other works.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: CRCulver on August 03, 2016, 03:18:38 PM
...And I've always thought that Nielsen's Violin Concerto is inexplicably poor compared to his other works.

Well, the Violin Concerto is fairly early, so for those dazzled by the style that Nielsen had developed by the late concertos, going back to this one can be a disappointment.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: TheGSMoeller on August 03, 2016, 04:24:22 PM
At the moment, my favorite Nielsen disc is this one from Gilbert/NYP. For starters, this is the first performance of the 2nd where I've actually felt it to be a stronger, or at least as strong, a symphony as No.4 and No.5. Gilbert finds the right tempi and balance for the movements, and really emphasizes some of the brilliant and sometimes quirky orchestrations from Nielsen. I especially love the presence of the horns, listen to way they slide into their notes in the finale at 0:30 when they reintroduce the opening theme, and again in the coda at 7:08. The horns then display their ability to impress by not being too overbearing at the climax of the 3rd mvt Andante at 6:52, which Gilbert offers at a very relaxed andante. The 3rd "Sinfonia Espansiva" is also excellent, with again Gilbert finding a great balance between mvts, with a finale coda that builds just the right amount of steam for its closing statement. Only complaint, and it's minor, is the soprano uses a little more vibrato than I prefer. Minor.

By the way, how great compositionally is the Allegro collerico? I feel it could be a stand alone piece, perhaps even a single Tone Poem. It seems to run the gamut of emotions and dynamics in such a short amount of time, almost as if it's telling a story. Great stuff.



I know we have a lot of Nielsen fans here, what disc are you all currently listening to the most of??
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 03, 2016, 05:14:40 PM
Huge Nielsen fan here obviously. I've come to really enjoy Gilbert's Nielsen, too, Greg. Gilbert and Oramo have two of the best cycles in recent years. I prefer both of them to Schonwandt who just sounds underpowered to my ears.

The Nielsen recording I probably have listened to the most lately is Vilde Frang's performance of the Violin Concerto, which is a fine work and deserves more attention then it seems to get.

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/359/MI0003359188.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

But my most listened to Nielsen recording of all-time is this classic one from Bernstein:

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_400/MI0000/958/MI0000958914.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on August 04, 2016, 12:27:55 AM
Cool! (If only it had been the Schuman Violin Concerto 8) )
I totally agree with your Schuman comment Karl.
 :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on August 04, 2016, 12:41:22 AM
Very nice, Jeffrey. If only they would have performed Nielsen's "Violin Concerto" instead of Schumann's. :) Who was the violinist by the way?
Thanks John. Thomas Zehetmair.
Here is a review:
https://bachtrack.com/review-prom-23-storgards-zehetmair-bbc-philharmonic-july-2016
One of my friends said that the performance of the Nielsen made the second movement sound like Shostakovich's 4th Symphony and it was an incredibly intense experience. As for recordings I like the new Gilbert recording but the most anarchic side drummers feature on Jascha Horenstein's Unicorn recording with the New Philharmonia Orchestra and on the just released Barbirolli recording. After the concert I'm tempted to get the Storgards recording but that is only part of a complete set of the symphonies on Chandos.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: The new erato on August 04, 2016, 01:01:07 AM
I totally agree with your Schuman comment Karl.
 :)
Yes, one of my favorite violin concertos from the last century.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Scion7 on August 04, 2016, 01:11:26 AM
re: your Proms concert - I will be watching YT in case someone posts anything from it there
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 04, 2016, 01:36:10 AM
...And I've always thought that Nielsen's Violin Concerto is inexplicably poor compared to his other works.
I've never considered the Violin Concerto at all disappointing. To me, that would be like finding fault with L'oiseau de feu because it isn't  Le sacre du printemps.

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 04, 2016, 01:37:40 AM
You like that piece? It seems rather meandering and long, anyway not surprised it is so infrequently performed.
I do like it, though I also remember mild disappointment on my first hearing. I got over it  8)

Time to listen again, to be sure ....

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: North Star on August 04, 2016, 01:44:22 AM
I've never considered the Violin Concerto at all disappointing. To me, that would be like finding fault with L'oiseau de feu because it isn't  Le sacre du printemps.
Hear, hear, Karl.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: (: premont :) on August 04, 2016, 02:18:42 AM
I've never considered the Violin Concerto at all disappointing. To me, that would be like finding fault with L'oiseau de feu because it isn't  Le sacre du printemps.

Thi is certainly common sense.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 04, 2016, 02:24:14 AM
You like that piece? It seems rather meandering and long, anyway not surprised it is so infrequently performed.

And (with both respect and affection) wouldn't a Wagnerite incline towards “meandering and long”?  :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 04, 2016, 05:50:19 AM
Thanks John. Thomas Zehetmair.
Here is a review:
https://bachtrack.com/review-prom-23-storgards-zehetmair-bbc-philharmonic-july-2016
One of my friends said that the performance of the Nielsen made the second movement sound like Shostakovich's 4th Symphony and it was an incredibly intense experience. As for recordings I like the new Gilbert recording but the most anarchic side drummers feature on Jascha Horenstein's Unicorn recording with the New Philharmonia Orchestra and on the just released Barbirolli recording. After the concert I'm tempted to get the Storgards recording but that is only part of a complete set of the symphonies on Chandos.

Thanks for the info, Jeffrey. I have to voice an opinion of indifference to Storgards' Nielsen set (w/ the BBC Philharmonic). I think the performances lack the drive that's needed in the music, which conductors like Bernstein, Oramo, Gilbert, Chung, among others supply by the truckloads. I'm not trying to steer you away from that set, but think the Oramo would be a better way to go (if you feel you would like another Nielsen symphony cycle).
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on August 04, 2016, 08:29:50 AM
Thanks for the info, Jeffrey. I have to voice an opinion of indifference to Storgards' Nielsen set (w/ the BBC Philharmonic). I think the performances lack the drive that's needed in the music, which conductors like Bernstein, Oramo, Gilbert, Chung, among others supply by the truckloads. I'm not trying to steer you away from that set, but think the Oramo would be a better way to go (if you feel you would like another Nielsen symphony cycle).
Thanks John. I'm afraid that temptation got the better of me before I read your post and I have ordered the Storgards set ???. However, I read a very good review of the performance of Symphony No.5 and as this is the one I heard Storgards conduct I shall still look forward to hearing it. I like Oramo's recording of Prokofiev's 5th and 6th symphonies which I recently acquired - so I shall look out for his Nielsen cycle. I thought that Sjorgards recording of the Korngold Symphony was rather underrated. I don't think that I have a complete Nielsen cycle by a single conductor. I have the Bernstein/Ormandy cycle and the historic Jensen/Tuxen one plus many individual recordings of symphonies 4-6.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on August 04, 2016, 01:53:36 PM
Thanks John. I'm afraid that temptation got the better of me before I read your post and I have ordered the Storgards set ???. However, I read a very good review of the performance of Symphony No.5 and as this is the one I heard Storgards conduct I shall still look forward to hearing it. I like Oramo's recording of Prokofiev's 5th and 6th symphonies which I recently acquired - so I shall look out for his Nielsen cycle. I thought that Sjorgards recording of the Korngold Symphony was rather underrated. I don't think that I have a complete Nielsen cycle by a single conductor. I have the Bernstein/Ormandy cycle and the historic Jensen/Tuxen one plus many individual recordings of symphonies 4-6.

Well, perhaps you'll enjoy Storgards much more than I did. I do hope that BIS boxes up their Oramo cycle someday or even better if Oramo conducts more of Nielsen's music (hopefully with the same orchestra, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic).
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on August 04, 2016, 09:51:42 PM
Well, perhaps you'll enjoy Storgards much more than I did. I do hope that BIS boxes up their Oramo cycle someday or even better if Oramo conducts more of Nielsen's music (hopefully with the same orchestra, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic).
I'll report back in due course. Yes, I noticed the Oramo are only available separately and are a bit pricey - so, holding back for the moment.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on November 17, 2016, 05:05:02 PM
Not mainly Nielsen, but plenty:

There's Something Wonderful In The State Of Denmark
(http://blogs-images.forbes.com/jenslaurson/files/2016/11/Wonderful-Denmark_Music_Forbes_Sound-Advice_Jens-F-Laurson_1600__Nielsen_Symphonies_Gilbert_Clarinet-Cto-Frost-1200x446.jpg?width=960)
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2016/11/17/theres-something-wonderful-in-the-state-of-denmark/#7a50e5cc5a73 (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2016/11/17/theres-something-wonderful-in-the-state-of-denmark/#7a50e5cc5a73)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Turner on November 18, 2016, 01:27:50 PM
Thank you for the link. Some refreshing thoughts in the article, such as likening Nielsen a bit to Martinu, and Langgaard a bit to Rheinberger and Rautavaara. Though capricious, perhaps, another step in widening the horizon as regards the often somewhat provincial reputation of Danish culture. And dealing with the largely unknown, even in his own country, Leif Kayser, is highly unusual.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: calyptorhynchus on December 11, 2016, 11:59:30 PM
Can someone help with some information.

I remember reading somewhere, though I can't remember where, that after Nielsen had completed his 29 Small Preludes for Organ FS 136 the Church Music Board of the Lutheran Church looked them and approved their use except for two of them (and can't remember which two).

However at the time I listened to a recording carefully and the two that the Church didn't approve seemed very similar to the others. The only reason I could think of at the time they might have rejected them was that these two alluded to Danish songs that were too secular or indelicate.

Does anyone know the reason?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Turner on December 12, 2016, 01:07:59 AM
I browsed a few internet sources including Danish ones, and the three books I own about Nielsen (Carl Nielsen Companion, and Steensen´s and Jensen´s biographies), but didn´t find the exact pieces that were criticized. It seems that the criticism came from Povl Hamburger (music critic) and Knud Hjortø (an author), among others.

Hamburger criticized them in Dansk Musik Tidsskrift magazine. The main reason is not given in the summary I have, but he also wrote, that they were too old-fashioned stylistically. He wrote that only nos. 14 & 29 were appropriate for the church music of the day.

Hjortø wrote briefly, that some of the preludes lacked a solemn atmosphere or they were maybe even too humorous, in the magazine "Vor Ungdom" (Our Youth).
Nielsen then gave a detailed answering, in the same magazine.

However, reviews after the first performance (28 of them, in Skovshoved church, by Poul Schierbeck) were positive. There was a complete performance later, in Skt. Johannes Church, by Peter Thomsen.

There´s an English article about the set of organ preludes here, including the mentioning of 2 further ones composed about a year after the first set of 29:
http://img.kb.dk/ma/cn/forord/CNU_II_12_13_pr.pdf

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DaveF on December 12, 2016, 01:24:42 AM
The story as I've read it is that the original dedicatee, one Johannes Hansen, though that all the preludes were unsuitable for church use (and Nielsen cheerfully agreed, but said something like "They'll get used to them").  The first performance omitted only one which the performer, Poul Schierbeck, thought unsuitable - no.23.  But I wasn't aware of any actual intervention by the church.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on December 12, 2016, 04:35:42 AM
Most interesting.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: calyptorhynchus on December 12, 2016, 12:27:49 PM
After typing my question I went back to try to find where I might have gained the information, and of course it was exactly where you'd expect, in the CD notes to the Bis recording (by Elisabeth Westernholz).

These notes, by Knud Ketting, state that:
1. Nielsen himself on one occasion said that nos 8, 9, 15, 18, 22, 26 & 28 of the Preludes were 'definitely not suitable for Church use in our time'.
2. At the premiere Poul Schierbeck refused to play no.26
3. Soon after, however, all 29 were played in a Church by Peter Thomsen.

So I misremembered about two of them being not authorised.

However, as I said, they all sound suitable to me, none of them sound frivolous.

Which reminds me of another story: when Havergal Brian was a young man, in the 1890s, he worked as a church organist. He was reproved, however,  for playing extracts from the Ring on the organ in his practice sessions!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: DaveF on December 25, 2016, 03:21:52 PM
Could this be my ideal Clarinet Concerto that I've been seeking for years?:



Just been rounding off Christmas Day excerpting lots of recordings of it on Spotify, and this Swedish/Finnish collaboration is seriously exciting - sounds like Ib Eriksson come back to life - but with all the right notes :).  The way she rips into the second cadenza is quite thrilling.  The band are good, too, with a side-drummer who wants us to realise that actually it's a double concerto.  (We had Petri Sakari in Cardiff once for a very fine Inestinguibile, so he knows his stuff.)  Anybody else know this disc/have opinions?  I'll probably download from Qobuz (sorry to keep mentioning Euro-Qobuz), which will also make me the proud owner of a short concerto by John Fernström and a half-hour monster by Jouni Kaipanen - ?? anybody ??  Just hope they're as good as Kalevi Aho's that Martin Fröst recorded on his Nielsen disc.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on December 26, 2016, 03:05:39 AM
(sorry to keep mentioning Euro-Qobuz),


Don't be! Qobuz is the only company that gets classical downloading/streaming right. I include them in every link on my posts, too, despite their non-US presence (for now), simply because everyone should know how it CAN be done. ;-)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on January 18, 2017, 09:38:07 AM
Really enjoying this CD. The placing of Helios, Saga-Drom, Pan and Syrinx and An Imaginary Journey to the Faroe Islands in sequence is wonderful - very fine performances and recordings too. The Aladdin music is the icing on the cake - a great CD:

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on January 18, 2017, 07:49:27 PM
Really enjoying this CD. The placing of Helios, Saga-Drom, Pan and Syrinx and An Imaginary Journey to the Faroe Islands in sequence is wonderful - very fine performances and recordings too. The Aladdin music is the icing on the cake - a great CD:



There are many fine recordings of all those works of course, but I would be curious how these particular performances stack up against others like Willen, Dausgaard, and Jarvi? How's the audio quality?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on January 18, 2017, 10:57:20 PM
There are many fine recordings of all those works of course, but I would be curious how these particular performances stack up against others like Willen, Dausgaard, and Jarvi? How's the audio quality?
I'll get back to you on that. It sounds very good to me John although I don't listen on very expensive equipment.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on January 19, 2017, 07:53:34 AM
I'll get back to you on that. It sounds very good to me John although I don't listen on very expensive equipment.

Ah okay, sounds like a plan, Jeffrey. :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: SymphonicAddict on January 31, 2017, 08:01:15 PM
Nielsen is one of my favorite absolutes, a composer who overflows brilliance in everything he composed. His style is so resolute and that makes it even more unique. Everything I've heard from him I liked a lot. As an inexhaustible lover of symphonies in general, I have Nielsen's symphonies in a very high esteem. For me the best symphonies are 3-5 without deserving the other 3, but the first mentioned have an overwhelming energy (it's difficult not to be astonished at such a display of power). Among his other works I like Pan and Syrinx, the tremendous Flute concerto, the magnificent Clarinet concerto, the so lovely and fine Hymnus Amoris and the kaleidoscopic Commotio for organ. I was listening to the fourth movement of the third symphony and it is absolutely infectious, I can't get it out of my head!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on January 31, 2017, 08:16:10 PM
Nielsen is one of my favorite absolutes, a composer who overflows brilliance in everything he composed. His style is so resolute and that makes it even more unique. Everything I've heard from him I liked a lot. As an inexhaustible lover of symphonies in general, I have Nielsen's symphonies in a very high esteem. For me the best symphonies are 3-5 without deserving the other 3, but the first mentioned have an overwhelming energy (it's difficult not to be astonished at such a display of power). Among his other works I like Pan and Syrinx, the tremendous Flute concerto, the magnificent Clarinet concerto, the so lovely and fine Hymnus Amoris and the kaleidoscopic Commotio for organ. I was listening to the fourth movement of the third symphony and it is absolutely infectious, I can't get it out of my head!

Sibelius, Nielsen, Ravel, Bartok, and RVW. These composers are my musical soulmates (yes, one can have more than one ;) ). I wrote this rather short paragraph on Facebook beside a photo of Nielsen about a year or so ago that read:

"It took me about six years to come to grips with Nielsen's idiom. For some, the attraction to the music is immediate, but, for me, I had to work at it. I was allured by his sound-world but I didn't love it. I'd say I finally cracked this music wide-open. Nielsen draws from many sources: Mozart, Brahms, Beethoven, Danish folk music, but this is all projected through his own unique lens and the result is something a bit off-the-wall, passionate, emotionally absorbing, half sweet, half sour, but, ultimately, his music was a reflection of who he was like all the great composers. His compositional voice is one of challenging traditional notions of symphonic music. I'm glad I never stopped listening. Great things do come to those who are patient enough to wait for it."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

His symphonies are by far some of the most engrossing music ever written. I also love all three of his concerti, most of his orchestral works like Saga-Dream, Imaginary Voyage to the Faroe Islands, Helios Overture, Pan & Syrinx, the Wind Quintet, and Violin Sonata No. 2. These particular works stand out to me and are reason enough to hold that Nielsen flag high and keep it waving. An extraordinary musical mind.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: SymphonicAddict on January 31, 2017, 08:50:12 PM
Great and accurate words!

It is interesting to know that there are people who like this music as much or more than me and can share those impressions. All of the above enriches each topic of conversation in general, whether or not there are favorable comments on it.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on January 31, 2017, 09:35:58 PM
Great and accurate words!

It is interesting to know that there are people who like this music as much or more than me and can share those impressions. All of the above enriches each topic of conversation in general, whether or not there are favorable comments on it.

Absolutely. That's the great thing about GMG in general is that you're not always alone in your likes (and sometimes even your dislikes as well). 8)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on February 01, 2017, 01:21:41 AM
I'm definitely catching the Nielsen bug. Once I've got to the end of the Da Capo orchestral set, I will undoubtedly exploring further. Because so far there's not a single weak piece in there.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 01, 2017, 09:45:21 AM
I'm definitely catching the Nielsen bug. Once I've got to the end of the Da Capo orchestral set, I will undoubtedly exploring further. Because so far there's not a single weak piece in there.

Hear, hear.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 24, 2017, 08:49:48 AM
I wrote a review on Amazon of the Schonwandt cycle that I’m rather proud of:

Title: Lacking Power In Nielsen’s Forward Moving, High-Octane Symphonic Cycle

Carl Nielsen (1865 - 1931) is the most important composer to come out of Denmark. He’s recognized as Denmark’s most celebrated composer and rightfully so: he bridged his own highly individual musical language with classical music’s rich musical past to forge a style that is ultimately his own. One of the main characteristics of his style or at least in his symphonic writing is how his music is structured not only in musical form but in terms of harmony. To a person just coming to Nielsen for the first-time, I highly recommend Leonard Bernstein’s recording of “Symphony Nos. 3 & 5”. This will give you an idea rather quickly of where Nielsen was coming from and how his own musical language works. You just can’t go wrong with this Bernstein recording and any Nielsen fan will tell you this.

As for the cycle at hand, Schønwandt has received many favorable reviews over the years and his cycle received a 10/10 on ClassicsToday from David Hurwitz, but I’m afraid I just can’t agree with the positive reviews given my own preferences and the way I like to hear this music performed. What makes Schønwandt’s performances fall flat for me is there’s a smoothed over, almost uniform quality to all of the performances that makes me think that he views all the symphonies the same when they couldn’t be any more different from each other. There are six symphonies in Nielsen’s symphonic cycle and each one, for me, represents a different side to the composer. I’ll give a short break-down of each symphony’s musical personality:

“Symphony No. 1” - This is Nielsen's first stab at a symphony and it has a ‘young man showing what he can do’ kind of sound to it if that makes any sense. He was clearly finding his own voice and you can hear it in the sheer exuberance of the music and the fact that the symphony itself struggles to find a key (even though it’s labeled as being in G minor).

“Symphony No. 2, The Four Temperaments” - Nielsen is still testing the waters here, but this is probably his most lushly ‘Romantic’ symphony. There is sort of a program behind this particular symphony and you can go read about it, but basically each movement represents a side of the human experience. Like most of Nielsen’s symphonies, it starts off with a bang from the get-go.

“Symphony No. 3, Sinfonia espansiva” - I’ll go ahead and say it “Symphony Nos. 3-6” are where’s it at for me in terms of Nielsen’s symphony cycle. The 3rd pretty much has done away with the kind of Romantic gesturing you hear in the 1st and 2nd and we start to hear Nielsen’s compositional voice come into the fore. This is energetic, driven music that sounds like nothing you’ve heard before. Nielsen makes use in the second movement of two vocalists (a soprano and a baritone) singing in a wordless vocal style that calls to mind Vaughan Williams’ usage of this kind of sound in his “Pastoral Symphony”. This said, the “Sinfonia Espansiva” could be viewed as his “Pastoral Symphony” but even this description would be undermining the sheer energy and power this symphony projects to the listener.

“Symphony No. 4, The Inextinguishable” - What a symphony! This is where Nielsen began structuring his music in an organic way, where each movement is played without pause and are interlocked. The finale of “The Inextinguishable” is a raucous timpani battle where the timpanists are given a significant amount of creative liberty to play as loudly as they can so they’re almost drowning out the orchestra. It’s a real hoot!

“Symphony No. 5” - Perhaps reflecting the horrors of World War I, the 5th is one of Nielsen’s most menacing works. It contains a first movement where a side drummer is making one aggressive statement after another while the woodwinds are chattering away with their own embittered snipes before giving away to a beautiful “Adagio” section. This symphony, like all of Nielsen’s mature symphonies, displays a remarkable amount of moods and emotions, but, also as I mentioned before, it doesn’t sound like any of the other symphonies, which, in itself, is an astonishing achievement for any composer. This kind of thinking clearly shows that he wasn’t too concerned with creating a ‘unity’ in his symphonies per se, but wanted each of the symphonies to display a different idea and sound-world that was uniquely its’ own.

“Symphony No. 6, Sinfonia semplice” - The oddball of Nielsen’s symphony cycle, but it’s actually not so odd if you actually sit down and listen to it. When I finally understood this symphony, I was so happy that I persevered and continued trying to wrap my mind around it. This work contains some gnarly dissonances and is possibly the most forward-looking of all of his symphonies. There are many sporadic episodes here and there and sometimes you may wonder what relevance do any of them have in connection with each other, but you soon realize that the nature of this symphony, or, at least in my opinion, is that life as Nielsen knew it was coming to an end (he was quite in ill health whenever he wrote what would be his final symphony) and these episodes reveal a troubled mind, but also someone who was continuing to question the existence of all things. In this regard, this is actually the most tragic of all his symphonies and it reminds one of how our time is indeed quite limited.

Some of my favorite Nielsen conductors: Bernstein, Blomstedt (San Francisco SO Decca cycle), Chung, Gilbert, and Oramo. I cannot recommend this Schønwandt set on the account that, for me, there are much better performances offered.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: vandermolen on April 24, 2017, 10:19:36 AM
What a great review John! For me Ormandy is without equal in No.6. I love the newly reissued Barbirolli version of No.5 for the manic side-drummer. I also like Horenstein's Unicorn version. I like Alexander Gibson in 4 and 5 too.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 24, 2017, 11:04:19 AM
I cannot recommend this Schønwandt set on the account that, for me, there are much better performances offered.

Agree. For me Schønwandt's is the most disappointing Nielsen cycle.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 24, 2017, 11:07:23 AM
What a great review John! For me Ormandy is without equal in No.6. I love the newly reissued Barbirolli version of No.5 for the manic side-drummer. I also like Horenstein's Unicorn version. I like Alexander Gibson in 4 and 5 too.

Thanks, Jeffrey. One thing is for certain: we surely do have a plethora of recordings of these magnificent works available to us, which is something that probably couldn’t have been said when LPs and such were being offered to the public. Nielsen has come a long way.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 24, 2017, 11:09:31 AM
Agree. For me Schønwandt's is the most disappointing Nielsen cycle.

Sarge

I’ve been disappointed with several Nielsen cycles, but, yes, Schønwandt’s performances never quite take off for me.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: amw on April 24, 2017, 02:45:26 PM
Counterpoint: I appreciate the Schønwandt set for its neoclassicist qualities, bringing out Nielsen's deep relationships to Brahms and Haydn. The interpretations sometimes lack rhythmic life (as in No. 3) but Nos. 2 and 6 in particular either avoid this problem or render it less noticeable.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 24, 2017, 03:27:42 PM
Counterpoint: I appreciate the Schønwandt set for its neoclassicist qualities, bringing out Nielsen's deep relationships to Brahms and Haydn. The interpretations sometimes lack rhythmic life (as in No. 3) but Nos. 2 and 6 in particular either avoid this problem or render it less noticeable.

It’s certainly true that Nielsen revered Beethoven, Brahms, and Mozart, but these were merely stepping stones in the affirmation of him as a symphonist of such brilliant ingenuity. Bringing out the more ‘classicist’ aspect of his music, for me, belies the craggy, scorching hot undercurrent of the music, which thrives on forward momentum and surges of vigor in order for it sound more less right. So, while I’m not disagreeing with you completely, I do feel, however, without this particular aspect I spoke of being on display, his music comes off as rather flaccid. All IMHO of course.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on April 24, 2017, 06:57:55 PM
It's good writing, but it seems to me that a lot of it isn't actually a review of the cycle.

Don't get me wrong, I think you should be proud of the writing. I'm just of the view that a review of a particular recording should have more about the recording. I think Amazon does have places where you can write about the music and THEN outline preferred and non-preferred versions, and that may have been a better place for it.

I of course am very happy with Schønwandt’s cycle, but that's neither here nor there.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 24, 2017, 07:05:52 PM
It's good writing, but it seems to me that a lot of it isn't actually a review of the cycle.

Don't get me wrong, I think you should be proud of the writing. I'm just of the view that a review of a particular recording should have more about the recording. I think Amazon does have places where you can write about the music and THEN outline preferred and non-preferred versions, and that may have been a better place for it.

I of course am very happy with Schønwandt’s cycle, but that's neither here nor there.

Thanks, you're right. I could have probably mentioned a bit more about why Schønwandt’s cycle doesn’t do much for me. I think what I did say about Schønwandt’s cycle was more or less to the point and I suppose I could have gone into a side-by-side comparison with other favorite performances and how those particular performances check all the right boxes while Schønwandt’s didn’t. I’m just not one of those reviewers that can write a long novel or go into five paragraphs as to why I thought Schønwandt was this or that. I just don’t have that kind of time to warrant a long-breathed review.

This said, I certainly understand where you’re coming from and even sympathize with your opinion, but there were several other factors coming into play during the writing of this review and one of the main ones is simply time --- there’s never enough of it.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 24, 2017, 07:23:07 PM
Orfeo, if your time permits, please give this performance from Bernstein of the 5th a listen:

https://www.youtube.com/v/y6o3JnyVRCw

After you’ve heard Lenny’s 5th, go back to Schønwandt’s performance of the 5th and tell me which performance you prefer and why. I’d greatly appreciate your participation here. If you don’t want to or you simply can’t do it today, I completely understand.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on April 24, 2017, 07:23:07 PM
To be honest, what I had in mind was more shortening the review, not lengthening it.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on April 24, 2017, 07:26:25 PM
Orfeo, if your time permits, please give this performance from Bernstein of the 5th a listen:

https://www.youtube.com/v/y6o3JnyVRCw

After you’ve heard Lenny’s 5th, go back to Schønwandt’s performance of the 5th and tell me which performance you prefer and why. I’d greatly appreciate your participation here. If you don’t want to or you simply can’t do it today, I completely understand.

Okay, today is a public holiday here as it happens, so I'll probably have time for a comparison. I'll get back to you!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 24, 2017, 07:26:44 PM
To be honest, what I had in mind was more shortening the review, not lengthening it.

Oh man, I’m definitely not going to shorten the review as I don’t even know where I would put my own descriptions of the symphonies other than here. Well, also, it’s not like anyone is actually going to read my review outside of GMG and if they do, then I’d be surprised if they didn’t fall asleep during it. ;D
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 24, 2017, 07:27:42 PM
Okay, today is a public holiday here as it happens, so I'll probably have time for a comparison. I'll get back to you!

Well, this would be greatly appreciated not only by me but by other Nielsen fans here I’m sure. Looking forward to your findings. 8)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 24, 2017, 07:32:24 PM
Speaking of Nielsen’s 5th, I’ve got this Cambridge book lying around that I haven’t read yet....I better get to it!

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on April 24, 2017, 07:36:03 PM
Just noting, you're aware that Hurwitz loves Bernstein's 5th?

https://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-15896/

And the original review of the Schønwandt 5th before the cycle was boxed (by Victor Carr Jr, not Hurwitz) also refers to Bernstein as the reference version. So I reserve the right to come back and say I thought both of them were awesome.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 24, 2017, 07:43:30 PM
Just noting, you're aware that Hurwitz loves Bernstein's 5th?

https://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-15896/

And the original review of the Schønwandt 5th before the cycle was boxed (by Victor Carr Jr, not Hurwitz) also refers to Bernstein as the reference version. So I reserve the right to come back and say I thought both of them were awesome.

Oh, well sure. I don’t know one Nielsen fan (or at least that I’ve spoken with) that doesn’t like Lenny’s performance of the 5th (and his Espansiva for that matter). You could very well love both the Schønwandt and Bernstein performances equally. If this ends up being the case, then my hat is off to you. You certainly hear something in Schønwandt that I seem to be missing or can’t quite grasp.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on April 24, 2017, 10:33:15 PM
Okay, right, well...

Honestly, I suspect I'd love the 1st movement of the 5th no matter who played it. It was the thing that made me go wow and conclude I definitely needed a recording of the symphonies.

I'd say I probably prefer Bernstein, principally because he makes more of the first "percussion" episode. There's more drama in general, but that's the section where on a comparison I'd say that Schønwandt perhaps doesn't make enough of it. Later on in the movement I'm fine with both, though again Bernstein is undoubtedly the more dramatic and military.

I want to also observe this is the only one of the 1st movements that's slow, and that's important to point out because the reason I chose Schønwandt over a couple of other cycles after sampling wasn't because of slower movements, it was because of faster ones. I remember trialling some Allegros where Schønwandt allowed the music to breathe in places where others pressed on a bit harder.

And that's relevant now. For the 2nd movement, one of the Classics Today reviews refers to Bernstein's high level of excitement. And I can certainly hear that, but I do feel as if the opening section is set constantly on high voltage. Schønwandt might not be quite as propulsive initially, but there's more light and shade and to me that actually ends up making the louder passages more interesting. By giving my ears a slight rest in between I'm ready for the next bit. In the longer term I don't think Schønwandt is lacking energy (the clarinet is nicely manic in the Presto section). Is Bernstein bigger in the biggest moments? Yes.

So overall I'm leaning to Bernstein for one movement and Schønwandt for the other. It's a damn good piece of music either way.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 25, 2017, 01:08:25 AM
Okay, right, well...

Honestly, I suspect I'd love the 1st movement of the 5th no matter who played it. It was the thing that made me go wow and conclude I definitely needed a recording of the symphonies.

I'd say I probably prefer Bernstein, principally because he makes more of the first "percussion" episode. There's more drama in general, but that's the section where on a comparison I'd say that Schønwandt perhaps doesn't make enough of it. Later on in the movement I'm fine with both, though again Bernstein is undoubtedly the more dramatic and military.

I want to also observe this is the only one of the 1st movements that's slow, and that's important to point out because the reason I chose Schønwandt over a couple of other cycles after sampling wasn't because of slower movements, it was because of faster ones. I remember trialling some Allegros where Schønwandt allowed the music to breathe in places where others pressed on a bit harder.

And that's relevant now. For the 2nd movement, one of the Classics Today reviews refers to Bernstein's high level of excitement. And I can certainly hear that, but I do feel as if the opening section is set constantly on high voltage. Schønwandt might not be quite as propulsive initially, but there's more light and shade and to me that actually ends up making the louder passages more interesting. By giving my ears a slight rest in between I'm ready for the next bit. In the longer term I don't think Schønwandt is lacking energy (the clarinet is nicely manic in the Presto section). Is Bernstein bigger in the biggest moments? Yes.

So overall I'm leaning to Bernstein for one movement and Schønwandt for the other. It's a damn good piece of music either way.

Most interesting, thanks. (I enjoyed John's write-up, but agree that it was more about the music itself.) Fully agree that (to filter slightly) Schønwandt, too, does a damned fine job  8)

I find this post much to the point:

Counterpoint: I appreciate the Schønwandt set for its neoclassicist qualities, bringing out Nielsen's deep relationships to Brahms and Haydn. The interpretations sometimes lack rhythmic life (as in No. 3) but Nos. 2 and 6 in particular either avoid this problem or render it less noticeable.

(I need to revisit the Espansiva to see if I agree to the charge of Rhythmic Lifelessness  ;) )

I find in Lenny generally a genial balance between getting detail right, and The Big Gesture. Perhaps because it is his generation/background, his bottom line trends to the Romantic, the Emotive, but I rarely find that this misshapes the music. I'm not at all saying that he misshaped Nielsen, I'm only explaining something of why I don't expect the same result from Lenny and from Schønwandt. I do like them both, and perhaps someday I'll draw up a defense of the latter  8)

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 25, 2017, 04:41:34 AM
Okay, right, well...

Honestly, I suspect I'd love the 1st movement of the 5th no matter who played it. It was the thing that made me go wow and conclude I definitely needed a recording of the symphonies.

I'd say I probably prefer Bernstein, principally because he makes more of the first "percussion" episode. There's more drama in general, but that's the section where on a comparison I'd say that Schønwandt perhaps doesn't make enough of it. Later on in the movement I'm fine with both, though again Bernstein is undoubtedly the more dramatic and military.

I want to also observe this is the only one of the 1st movements that's slow, and that's important to point out because the reason I chose Schønwandt over a couple of other cycles after sampling wasn't because of slower movements, it was because of faster ones. I remember trialling some Allegros where Schønwandt allowed the music to breathe in places where others pressed on a bit harder.

And that's relevant now. For the 2nd movement, one of the Classics Today reviews refers to Bernstein's high level of excitement. And I can certainly hear that, but I do feel as if the opening section is set constantly on high voltage. Schønwandt might not be quite as propulsive initially, but there's more light and shade and to me that actually ends up making the louder passages more interesting. By giving my ears a slight rest in between I'm ready for the next bit. In the longer term I don't think Schønwandt is lacking energy (the clarinet is nicely manic in the Presto section). Is Bernstein bigger in the biggest moments? Yes.

So overall I'm leaning to Bernstein for one movement and Schønwandt for the other. It's a damn good piece of music either way.

Thanks for your feedback here. Somehow I knew it was going to come down to you preferring both of them, which there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. I like different performances for different reasons, too, but Schønwandt’s performances have been difficult for me to appreciate.

Most interesting, thanks. (I enjoyed John's write-up, but agree that it was more about the music itself.) Fully agree that (to filter slightly) Schønwandt, too, does a damned fine job  8)

I find this post much to the point:

(I need to revisit the Espansiva to see if I agree to the charge of Rhythmic Lifelessness  ;) )

I find in Lenny generally a genial balance between getting detail right, and The Big Gesture. Perhaps because it is his generation/background, his bottom line trends to the Romantic, the Emotive, but I rarely find that this misshapes the music. I'm not at all saying that he misshaped Nielsen, I'm only explaining something of why I don't expect the same result from Lenny and from Schønwandt. I do like them both, and perhaps someday I'll draw up a defense of the latter  8)

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

Completely agree with you about Lenny’s way with music, especially his Nielsen.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 25, 2017, 04:45:17 AM
[...] I like different performances for different reasons, too, but Schønwandt’s performances have been difficult for me to appreciate.

Well, and the Sarge has also expressed disappointment.  It is a set which seems to divide listeners, like the Haitink/RVW set  8)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 25, 2017, 04:49:14 AM
Well, and the Sarge has also expressed disappointment.  It is a set which seems to divide listeners, like the Haitink/RVW set  8)

QFT. :) I’ll also add that I’m quite grateful to hear such a wide variety of performances of Nielsen’s music and I find that, even if I don’t particularly care for a performance, I learn something about the music and myself in the process.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on April 25, 2017, 05:49:52 AM
I know and own only one cycle of Nielsen's symphonies so I don't need to be dissappointed about anything. Having only one performance has it's benefits. Cheaper and less shelf space wasted.

 :)

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 25, 2017, 06:02:15 AM
I know and own only one cycle of Nielsen's symphonies so I don't need to be dissappointed about anything. Having only one performance has it's benefits. Cheaper and less shelf space wasted.

 :)

Which cycle do you own? Let me guess: Leaper’s on Naxos? ::)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on April 25, 2017, 06:09:21 AM
Which cycle do you own? Let me guess: Leaper’s on Naxos? ::)
Now now. I haven't heard that one. In any case there is enough cheap bargain priced Nielsen out there with major conductors and major orchestras. What an embarassment of riches !



“Symphony No. 4, The Inextinguishable” - What a symphony! This is where Nielsen began structuring his music in an organic way, where each movement is played without pause and are interlocked. The finale of “The Inextinguishable” is a raucous timpani battle where the timpanists are given a significant amount of creative liberty to play as loudly as they can so they’re almost drowning out the orchestra. It’s a real hoot!

Hmmm I am surprised you don't particularly like Schumann's 4th Symphony then. It has a unifying theme and is the same "attaca" structure as Nielsen's 4th.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on April 25, 2017, 06:57:38 AM
Which cycle do you own? Let me guess: Leaper’s on Naxos? ::)

Good guess!  0:)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 25, 2017, 07:51:40 AM
Good guess!  0:)

Well, you’re the ‘Naxos guy’ around here! :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on April 25, 2017, 10:26:50 AM
Well, you’re the ‘Naxos guy’ around here! :)
Well, it's better to be a "Naxos guy" than nobody.  ;)

I do have 5 non-Naxos Nielsen discs:

Chamber Music 1 - Dacapo
Chamber Music 2 - Dacapo
Orchestral Music - Dacapo
Theatre Music - BIS
Choral Works - Chandos
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 25, 2017, 05:17:03 PM
Well, it's better to be a "Naxos guy" than nobody.  ;)

I do have 5 non-Naxos Nielsen discs:

Chamber Music 1 - Dacapo
Chamber Music 2 - Dacapo
Orchestral Music - Dacapo
Theatre Music - BIS
Choral Works - Chandos


Consider me a nobody, then. :) But in actuality, I’m probably more of the BIS guy around here since I own so much from their catalog.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 25, 2017, 06:24:25 PM
Now now. I haven't heard that one. In any case there is enough cheap bargain priced Nielsen out there with major conductors and major orchestras. What an embarassment of riches !

Yep, so much to choose from.

Hmmm I am surprised you don't particularly like Schumann's 4th Symphony then. It has a unifying theme and is the same "attaca" structure as Nielsen's 4th.

Yeah, I’ve never been a big fan of Schumann’s orchestral music. I mean his symphonies are ‘okay’ and I can kind of understand their appeal, but compared to his contemporaries, his orchestral music doesn’t come across as interesting enough for me. His chamber music is much more to my liking.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Turner on April 25, 2017, 08:57:04 PM
(((
Yeah, I’ve never been a big fan of Schumann’s orchestral music. I mean his symphonies are ‘okay’ and I can kind of understand their appeal, but compared to his contemporaries, his orchestral music doesn’t come across as interesting enough for me. His chamber music is much more to my liking.

and of course the Manfred Ouverture ... )))
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on April 25, 2017, 11:42:27 PM
Consider me a nobody, then. :) But in actuality, I’m probably more of the BIS guy around here since I own so much from their catalog.

I have collected Suzuki's Bach Cantatas on BIS and it has been an expensive hobby.  ;D I am still missing volumes 51-54 and some of the secular cantatas discs. There's about 20 other BIS discs too including that Nielsen Theatre Music disc. So, I have about 75 BIS discs (around 500 Naxos CDs).
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 26, 2017, 05:38:32 AM
I have collected Suzuki's Bach Cantatas on BIS and it has been an expensive hobby.  ;D I am still missing volumes 51-54 and some of the secular cantatas discs. There's about 20 other BIS discs too including that Nielsen Theatre Music disc. So, I have about 75 BIS discs (around 500 Naxos CDs).

I couldn’t even tell you how many BIS recordings I own.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on April 26, 2017, 05:47:36 AM
I have collected Suzuki's Bach Cantatas on BIS and it has been an expensive hobby.  ;D I am still missing volumes 51-54 and some of the secular cantatas discs. There's about 20 other BIS discs too including that Nielsen Theatre Music disc. So, I have about 75 BIS discs (around 500 Naxos CDs).
Someone bought Volume II (10cds) of that BACH cantata cycle from me for $250 :-*

It was in shrinkwrap and not opened. Do you have any idea how hard it is to have brand new cds but the urge not to open them?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 26, 2017, 06:07:08 AM
Getting back to Nielsen, I’d love to hear all of you guys thoughts on his Sinfonia semplice. What do you think this symphony means? What do you think Nielsen is trying to get across to the listener?

I’ll get the ball rolling with something I wrote in my review from a few days ago:

“Symphony No. 6, Sinfonia semplice” - The oddball of Nielsen’s symphony cycle, but it’s actually not so odd if you actually sit down and listen to it. When I finally understood this symphony, I was so happy that I persevered and continued trying to wrap my mind around it. This work contains some gnarly dissonances and is possibly the most forward-looking of all of his symphonies. There are many sporadic episodes here and there and sometimes you may wonder what relevance do any of them have in connection with each other, but you soon realize that the nature of this symphony, or, at least in my opinion, is that life as Nielsen knew it was coming to an end (he was quite in ill health whenever he wrote what would be his final symphony) and these episodes reveal a troubled mind, but also someone who was continuing to question the existence of all things. In this regard, this is actually the most tragic of all his symphonies and it reminds one of how our time is indeed quite limited.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: TheGSMoeller on April 27, 2017, 02:40:05 AM
The past year I've listened mostly to the 2nd and 6th symphonies, primarily growing a new fondness for the 6th, which I may even find more brilliantly composed than the 3 that came before it. I don't ever think about the meaning of the 6th, or what Nielsen is trying to communicate, but rather just enjoy getting lost in the music. It's like a Jackson Pollock painting that uses every possible color, you can see, or hear, the various textures and colors, but the meaning can be interpreted differently for each viewer.

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 27, 2017, 04:27:43 AM
The past year I've listened mostly to the 2nd and 6th symphonies, primarily growing a new fondness for the 6th, which I may even find more brilliantly composed than the 3 that came before it. I don't ever think about the meaning of the 6th, or what Nielsen is trying to communicate, but rather just enjoy getting lost in the music. It's like a Jackson Pollock painting that uses every possible color, you can see, or hear, the various textures and colors, but the meaning can be interpreted differently for each viewer.

Sure, but you feel something for the music or, otherwise, you’d have no reason to return to it. :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 27, 2017, 06:06:15 AM
I’d also add that there’s quite a sardonic edge to Nielsen’s Sinfonia semplice that makes it highly attractive to me.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 29, 2017, 08:47:38 AM
Not sure if I posted this before, but I’d love to see this Nielsen documentary digitally restored and available for purchase as it has some insightful commentary throughout:

https://www.youtube.com/v/r0a1CPcTDEA
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: TheGSMoeller on April 30, 2017, 02:29:24 AM
I’d also add that there’s quite a sardonic edge to Nielsen’s Sinfonia semplice that makes it highly attractive to me.

I agree with this. There's also an air of mystery with the work, it's never obvious with its direction, which I love. Even when I revisit the 6th after many listens I still continue to find, or hear, new things. Its a constant discovery, which might be why I'm starting to find this to be the most intriguing of Nielsen's symphonies.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 30, 2017, 02:31:39 AM
I agree with this. There's also an air of mystery with the work, it's never obvious with its direction, which I love. Even when I revisit the 6th after many listens I still continue to find, or hear, new things. Its a constant discovery, which might be why I'm starting to find this to be the most intriguing of Nielsen's symphonies.

The delicate ambiguity of the work, in contrast to the many bold, clear statements of the earlier symphonies, "beguiles my sad fancy into smiling."
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: TheGSMoeller on April 30, 2017, 02:35:09 AM
The delicate ambiguity of the work, in contrast to the many bold, clear statements of the earlier symphonies, "beguiles my sad fancy into smiling."

+1 Cheers, Karl.  :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on April 30, 2017, 04:22:01 AM
I can't recall whether I've shared this article on the 3rd symphony before.  Them's some fighting words about interpretations...

https://www.gramophone.co.uk/blog/the-gramophone-blog/re-thinking-nielsen%E2%80%99s-centennial-symphony
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2017, 05:08:40 AM
The delicate ambiguity of the work, in contrast to the many bold, clear statements of the earlier symphonies, "beguiles my sad fancy into smiling.”

I agree with this. There's also an air of mystery with the work, it's never obvious with its direction, which I love. Even when I revisit the 6th after many listens I still continue to find, or hear, new things. Its a constant discovery, which might be why I'm starting to find this to be the most intriguing of Nielsen's symphonies.

Thanks for your feedback, gentlemen. I almost felt like a person yelling on top of a mountain and there’s not a soul in sight. :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2017, 05:11:06 AM
I can't recall whether I've shared this article on the 3rd symphony before.  Them's some fighting words about interpretations...

https://www.gramophone.co.uk/blog/the-gramophone-blog/re-thinking-nielsen%E2%80%99s-centennial-symphony

I agree with the writer about Blomstedt’s San Francisco Espansiva. It’s not too good. I haven’t heard his earlier Danish account. One thing the writer did not talk about much was which performances he preferred other than a mention of the Horenstein, Salonen, and Schønwandt performances. Of course, I don’t agree with his choices here either. :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on April 30, 2017, 07:14:03 AM
Regarding the 6th, it is certainly a bit peculiar. Even in its orchestration where the orchestral force is rather modest, except Nielsen called for a variety of percussion instruments. There are moments where it always sounds like Stravinsky wrote it (especially the second mvt) but I can't recall off the top of my head what Stravinsky has written around 1920-1925 that is of this style.

I think part of the reason it is less popular with audiences is that it closes with a theme and variations mvt and not with a bang like most symphonies. I can only think of Brahm's 4th that closes with such a form but Brahms does certainly close it out with a bang. It is the same reason Sibelius 1st has been at times been criticized because the finale isn't as high octaned as we have grown to expect in a symphony. It is also a bit different from Nielsen's other symphonies where there is always something tugging at one another, one musical idea fighting another. Here they more or less co-exist and become inseparable.

Anyway I think it is a great work, not nearly as simple as the name suggests.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 30, 2017, 09:05:21 AM
I can't recall whether I've shared this article on the 3rd symphony before.  Them's some fighting words about interpretations...

https://www.gramophone.co.uk/blog/the-gramophone-blog/re-thinking-nielsen%E2%80%99s-centennial-symphony
I agree with the writer about Blomstedt’s San Francisco Espansiva. It’s not too good.

Thanks for the link, ørfeo. I agree with the critic about Blomstedt. I have 16 Nielsen Thirds; Blomstedt's is the one I really dislike (which I've mentioned many times in the past). The first movement seems robotic: metronome driven as though no human conductor is involved. There is no feeling of catharsis in the development's climactic waltz.

My favorites (especially the first four): Bernstein, Oramo, Kuchar, Schmidt, Rozhdestvensky, Salonen, Bostock, and the historical Frandsen.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Turner on April 30, 2017, 09:56:42 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxMcjkWRChw

Nielsen: 4th Symphony - Juanjo Mena, DRSO (2015)

Holy moly. This is quite good.
Unfortunately no CD release.

Mena: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juanjo_Mena
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2017, 10:58:03 AM
Regarding the 6th, it is certainly a bit peculiar. Even in its orchestration where the orchestral force is rather modest, except Nielsen called for a variety of percussion instruments. There are moments where it always sounds like Stravinsky wrote it (especially the second mvt) but I can't recall off the top of my head what Stravinsky has written around 1920-1925 that is of this style.

I think part of the reason it is less popular with audiences is that it closes with a theme and variations mvt and not with a bang like most symphonies. I can only think of Brahm's 4th that closes with such a form but Brahms does certainly close it out with a bang. It is the same reason Sibelius 1st has been at times been criticized because the finale isn't as high octaned as we have grown to expect in a symphony. It is also a bit different from Nielsen's other symphonies where there is always something tugging at one another, one musical idea fighting another. Here they more or less co-exist and become inseparable.

Anyway I think it is a great work, not nearly as simple as the name suggests.

Good commentary. For me, all of Nielsen’s symphonies are unique, kaleidoscopic works that deserve to be studied as much as the symphonies of Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, etc. I think you nailed the essence of Nielsen’s music with this comment:

Quote
...there is always something tugging at one another, one musical idea fighting another

The idea of struggle is nothing new in music of course, but Nielsen’s approach to this kind of ideal is nothing short than ear-opening. The way his music comes to it’s conclusions, which essentially shatter what had just come before it into a thousand pieces really intrigues me. The continuous forward-momentum of his music is also something that appeals to me. He hardly ever stays in the same spot and there’s always this surging undercurrent that sweeps the music along as if it was a massive wave washing out everything on a shore.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2017, 11:02:03 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxMcjkWRChw

Nielsen: 4th Symphony - Juanjo Mena, DRSO (2015)

Holy moly. This is quite good.
Unfortunately no CD release.

Mena: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juanjo_Mena

Quite good indeed. I’ve heard this Mena performance not too long ago. He seems to get the energy right. Of course, the Danish RSO performance admirably well. They breathe this music.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2017, 11:09:05 AM
Thanks for the link, ørfeo. I agree with the critic about Blomstedt. I have 16 Nielsen Thirds; Blomstedt's is the one I really dislike (which I've mentioned many times in the past). The first movement seems robotic: metronome driven as though no human conductor is involved. There is no feeling of catharsis in the development's climactic waltz.

My favorites (especially the first four): Bernstein, Oramo, Kuchar, Schmidt, Rozhdestvensky, Salonen, Bostock, and the historical Frandsen.

Sarge

I found Blomstedt’s SFSO performance to be all surface and there’s the sense that he’s just rushing and you nailed it about the waltz section. He just sounds like he’s ready for his lunch break without paying much attention to these twists and turns that happen along the way.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on April 30, 2017, 12:00:26 PM
I’d also add that there’s quite a sardonic edge to Nielsen’s Sinfonia semplice that makes it highly attractive to me.

To me Sinfonia semplice sounds like Nielsen is done with writing symphonies. The symphony is a bit "silly" in nature as if Nielsen no longer has an interest of being serious. We would propably have Nielsen's 7th if I was wrong.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2017, 12:03:58 PM
To me Sinfonia semplice sounds like Nielsen is done with writing symphonies. The symphony is a bit "silly" in nature as if Nielsen no longer has an interest of being serious. We would propably have Nielsen's 7th if I was wrong.

“Silly” or not, I love the symphony and you would too if you had a better recording of it. ;D
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: (: premont :) on April 30, 2017, 12:08:41 PM
Thanks for the link, ørfeo. I agree with the critic about Blomstedt. I have 16 Nielsen Thirds; Blomstedt's is the one I really dislike (which I've mentioned many times in the past). The first movement seems robotic: metronome driven as though no human conductor is involved. There is no feeling of catharsis in the development's climactic waltz.

My favorites (especially the first four): Bernstein, Oramo, Kuchar, Schmidt, Rozhdestvensky, Salonen, Bostock, and the historical Frandsen.

Sarge

I have often thought, that Blomstedt seems to favor cold perfection, and his SFSO Nielsen is no exception.

His earlier Nielsen recordings with the Danish RSO (EMI) are a bit "warmer". But still my favorites are almost identical with yours.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2017, 12:12:19 PM
I have often thought, that Blomstedt seems to favor cold perfection, and his SFSO Nielsen is no exception.

His earlier Nielsen recordings with the Danish RSO (EMI) are a bit "warmer". But still my favorites are almost identical with yours.

Blomstedt (SFSO) is excellent in Symphony Nos. 2, 4-6. I have yet hear anyone do a better 1st than Oramo. My favorite Espansiva performances: Bernstein, Oramo, and Chung.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on April 30, 2017, 12:28:11 PM
“Silly” or not, I love the symphony and you would too if you had a better recording of it. ;D

I DO like it nevertheless. Not my favorite Nielsen symphony, but great stuff, silly or not.  ;)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: (: premont :) on April 30, 2017, 12:39:49 PM
Blomstedt (SFSO) is excellent in Symphony Nos. 2, 4-6.

If it must be Blomstedt I much prefer the earlier recording.



Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 30, 2017, 12:44:44 PM
It's specious to take the enigmatic tone of the Sixth Symphony as "indicating" that Nielsen was "tired of being serious."
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2017, 12:54:46 PM
It's specious to take the enigmatic tone of the Sixth Symphony as "indicating" that Nielsen was "tired of being serious."

Yeah, I find that a rather curious assertion on 71 dB’s part. I should have just gave him an ::) and been done with it. :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2017, 12:57:02 PM
I DO like it nevertheless. Not my favorite Nielsen symphony, but great stuff, silly or not.  ;)

I don’t really find the symphony silly anyway. I find some of the music to be be humorous, but that’s about it. This symphony has really affected me over the past few weeks like it never has before. For me, it’s a remarkable achievement.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on April 30, 2017, 01:04:49 PM
It's specious to take the enigmatic tone of the Sixth Symphony as "indicating" that Nielsen was "tired of being serious."

Well, that's the impression I get, honestly. In fact my best friend had similar opinions when I loaned the CD to him long ago...  :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on April 30, 2017, 01:09:16 PM
I don’t really find the symphony silly anyway. I find some of the music to be be humorous, but that’s about it. This symphony has really affected me over the past few weeks like it never has before. For me, it’s a remarkable achievement.

That's ok and it's cool the symphony has become so important for you. I rank the symphonies this way: 4, 3, 2, 5, 6, 1.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Sergeant Rock on April 30, 2017, 01:29:43 PM
Blomstedt (SFSO) is excellent in Symphony Nos. 2, 4-6. I have yet hear anyone do a better 1st than Oramo. My favorite Espansiva performances: Bernstein, Oramo, and Chung.

I forgot to include Chung in my list. Yes...another great Espansiva.

Sarge
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on April 30, 2017, 01:46:27 PM
Yeah, I find that a rather curious assertion on 71 dB’s part. I should have just gave him an ::) and been done with it. :)

You asked people what the 6th symphony "meant", rather than how they felt about it. I'm honestly not surprised that people are attempting to peer into the mind of Nielsen in response.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2017, 02:13:18 PM
I forgot to include Chung in my list. Yes...another great Espansiva.

Sarge

Indeed. 8)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2017, 02:22:23 PM
To me Sinfonia semplice sounds like Nielsen is done with writing symphonies. The symphony is a bit "silly" in nature as if Nielsen no longer has an interest of being serious (1). We would propably have Nielsen's 7th if I was wrong (2).

To the bolded text (1): I’ll also say that if Nielsen had no interest in being serious, then what do we make of the late masterpieces like the Flute Concerto, Clarinet Concerto, Tre Klaverstykker, or Commotio?

To the bolded text (2): Nielsen died in 1931, 71 dB. His Sinfona semplice was finished in 1925. That is a six year gap between completion of the 6th and his passing. He wrote a good bit of music from from the mid-1920s up until the end, but this does in no way indicate that he was done with writing symphonies just because he stopped after his 6th.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: TheGSMoeller on April 30, 2017, 04:41:07 PM
I forgot to include Chung in my list. Yes...another great Espansiva.

Sarge

I agree Chung is great, along with Gilbert/NYP they are my choices for the 3rd.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2017, 04:47:03 PM
I agree Chung is great, along with Gilbert/NYP they are my choices for the 3rd.

The Gilbert cycle overall has grown on me in a big way. For me, not a dud in the bunch and that concerti disc is exemplary.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 01, 2017, 03:44:27 AM
You asked people what the 6th symphony "meant", rather than how they felt about it. I'm honestly not surprised that people are attempting to peer into the mind of Nielsen in response.

I suppose some have yet to weary of the Shakespeare wrote Hamlet when he was sad, and wrote A Midsummer Night’s Dream when he was happy model . . . .
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on May 01, 2017, 03:50:37 AM
I suppose some have yet to weary of the Shakespeare wrote Hamlet when he was sad, and wrote A Midsummer Night’s Dream when he was happy model . . . .

Indeed, it's a very popular model. I spent many years and a string of albums reading how the marriage of my favourite singer, Tori Amos, must be in trouble every time she wrote a song where there was a reference to any kind of conflict or sense of betrayal with another person, because not only must every song be from her own point of view but her husband must be the only significant person in her life.  She got married in 1998, this talk started in 2005, and it's now 2017.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 01, 2017, 03:59:28 AM
Uncanny!  ;)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 01, 2017, 04:34:17 AM
To the bolded text (1): I’ll also say that if Nielsen had no interest in being serious, then what do we make of the late masterpieces like the Flute Concerto, Clarinet Concerto, Tre Klaverstykker, or Commotio?

I said not interested in symphonies. Clearly he got more interested about concertos instead.

To the bolded text (2): Nielsen died in 1931, 71 dB. His Sinfona semplice was finished in 1925. That is a six year gap between completion of the 6th and his passing. He wrote a good bit of music from from the mid-1920s up until the end, but this does in no way indicate that he was done with writing symphonies just because he stopped after his 6th.

The fifth was finished in 1922 so working at that rate he could have finished his seventh by 1928 and even another one just before death.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Turner on May 01, 2017, 04:54:48 AM
These are quite marginal views, but the Danish composers Karl Aage Rasmussen and Bo Holten both got the idea to orchestrate versions of "Commotio" (1930-31) at around the same time recently, and Holten argues that Commotio can be thought of as a symphonic fantasia, that is too ambitiously conceived for just the organ, and works better as a Nielsenesque parallel to Sibelius´ 7th Symphony.

In Danish:
https://www.doks.dk/organistbladet/703-2015/oktober/1895-bo-holten-commotio-maske-carl-nielsens-7-symfoni
http://www.fyens.dk/kultur/Carl-Nielsen-orgelvaerk-som-ny-symfoni/artikel/143830

As it is well-known, Nielsen had planned concertos for the wind quintet instruments, finishing only those for Flute and for Clarinet towards the end of his life (1927-28), leaving those for horn, oboe and bassoon un-attempted. The mere ambition might-might have taken some of his focus away from any symphonic projects too. But what an extraordinary quintet of concertos that would have been ...
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 01, 2017, 05:05:20 AM
I said not interested in symphonies. Clearly he got more interested about concertos instead.

The fifth was finished in 1922 so working at that rate he could have finished his seventh by 1928 and even another one just before death.

But how do you know he wasn’t interested in writing more symphonies? That’s quite presumptuous of you.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 01, 2017, 05:35:41 AM
[. . .] But what an extraordinary quintet of concertos that would have been ...

Forsooth!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 01, 2017, 05:57:01 AM
As it is well-known, Nielsen had planned concertos for the wind quintet instruments, finishing only those for Flute and for Clarinet towards the end of his life (1927-28), leaving those for horn, oboe and bassoon un-attempted. The mere ambition might-might have taken some of his focus away from any symphonic projects too. But what an extraordinary quintet of concertos that would have been ...

Now that would have been something!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 01, 2017, 10:18:51 AM
But how do you know he wasn’t interested in writing more symphonies? That’s quite presumptuous of you.
I know hardly anything. I am just telling what kind of impression I get from the 6th symphony. I am only speculation based on my impressions. Who knows, maybe he wanted to write 10 more symphonies and would have started working on the next one in 1932...
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 01, 2017, 01:17:32 PM
I've never considered the Violin Concerto at all disappointing. To me, that would be like finding fault with L'oiseau de feu because it isn't  Le sacre du printemps.

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk

A bit late to this post, but this is so eloquently put. I completely concur. Firebird is just as mesmerizing as Le sacre just like Nielsen’s Violin Concerto is just as dazzling as his other concerti. I’ll argue further that, while, yes, the Violin Concerto is an early work of Nielsen’s, it shows plenty of inventiveness and contains many wondrous passages. The structure of this concerto is also quite unique.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 01, 2017, 02:37:50 PM
Ordered the Blomstedt San Franss.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 01, 2017, 03:01:00 PM
Ordered the Blomstedt San Franss.

Awesome! Overall, it’s a fine set. I’m not too impressed by his Sinfonia espansiva, but no cycle is perfect.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: TheGSMoeller on May 01, 2017, 04:31:57 PM
Ordered the Blomstedt San Franss.

+1
Excellent!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 01, 2017, 04:57:11 PM
+1
Excellent!

71 dB threw a curveball with that Blomstedt purchase. :) I hope he enjoys the performances.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 01, 2017, 09:55:56 PM
It's interesting that I paid about 25 euros for the "inferior" Leaper cycle back in the day and now about 11 euros for the "superior" Blomstedt cycle. 
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 02, 2017, 12:09:28 AM
It's interesting that I paid about 25 euros for the "inferior" Leaper cycle back in the day and now about 11 euros for the "superior" Blomstedt cycle. 

I don't have an opinion about the Leaper, but of course the Blomstedt is now available at a fraction of what it cost when first released.  Which is to our benefit  :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 02, 2017, 12:42:24 AM
I don't have an opinion about the Leaper, but of course the Blomstedt is now available at a fraction of what it cost when first released.  Which is to our benefit  :)

Yeah. 20 years ago it was like this: CDs are 22 euros unless it's Naxos when it's 8 euros. Sometimes you found a "full price" disc in a bargain bin for 10 euros. No wonder if one learns to appreciate Naxos' business model at those prices. At least I learned.  :) At the time I became interested of classical music 1996/97 Naxos had just become a major player among classical music labels and had a huge price advantage to others. It was time before Brilliant Classics and other dirt cheap big boxes by all labels we have today. Naxos has lost that advantage, but my Naxos collection did become large during those "golden years".

Then came online shopping! Suddenly the local music and book stores aren't your only source of classical CDs. At first online shopping meant MUCH bigger selection of items, but eventually the second hand market evolves and now CDs are available for £0.01 + shipping. At that point local music and book stores totally lose the competition and stop selling CDs. So, it's online shopping only apart of a few persistent classical music stores.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 02, 2017, 05:21:15 AM
It's interesting that I paid about 25 euros for the "inferior" Leaper cycle back in the day and now about 11 euros for the "superior" Blomstedt cycle.

To the bolded text: what are you in 3rd grade? ::) Just because I didn’t like Leaper’s Nielsen doesn’t mean that the same holds true for anyone else. In other words, get over it, man.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 02, 2017, 10:16:39 AM
To the bolded text: what are you in 3rd grade? ::) Just because I didn’t like Leaper’s Nielsen doesn’t mean that the same holds true for anyone else. In other words, get over it, man.

I certainly don't have a problem with you not liking Leaper’s Nielsen. That's not my business. Each to their own.

You told you don't understand why someone listens to Leaper when sets of Blomstedt and Kuchar are so cheap and easy to pick up. That's when I had to explain my choices. I did it and I even ordered the Blomstedt cycle. I think I am well over it by now.  ;)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: snyprrr on May 02, 2017, 10:57:54 AM
Which is to our benefit  :)

Tell that to Blomstedt's nephew, who's struggling to get through college because... "we" can savor his uncle's great work for pennies on the dollar!! Oh, what have "we" become? :'(
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 02, 2017, 12:04:49 PM
Tell that to Blomstedt's nephew, who's struggling to get through college because... "we" can savor his uncle's great work for pennies on the dollar!! Oh, what have "we" become? :'(
Free education is the answer to this "uncle problem".
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Parsifal on May 02, 2017, 01:34:48 PM
I certainly don't have a problem with you not liking Leaper’s Nielsen. That's not my business. Each to their own.

You told you don't understand why someone listens to Leaper when sets of Blomstedt and Kuchar are so cheap and easy to pick up. That's when I had to explain my choices. I did it and I even ordered the Blomstedt cycle. I think I am well over it by now.  ;)

You'd better brace yourself for someone claiming that you should have gotten Blomstedt's other Nielsen cycle with the Danish Radio Symphony, on EMI (now Warner).  :)

(I would definitely expect the Decca set to have more pleasing sound.)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on May 02, 2017, 01:39:58 PM
You'd better brace yourself for someone claiming that you should have gotten Blomstedt's other Nielsen cycle with the Danish Radio Symphony, on EMI (now Warner).  :)

(I would definitely expect the Decca set to have more pleasing sound.)

Nah. Schønwandt. As re-released on Naxos.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Parsifal on May 02, 2017, 02:18:38 PM
Nah. Schønwandt. As re-released on Naxos.

The same ones originally released on DaCapo (which I have somewhere)?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on May 02, 2017, 02:19:59 PM
Yes.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Parsifal on May 02, 2017, 02:23:20 PM
Yes.

Are Naxos and DaCapo somehow the same?

Anyway, the last time I listened to Nielsen symphonies, it was Salonen, which I found adequate but not inspiring.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on May 02, 2017, 02:46:43 PM
Are Naxos and DaCapo somehow the same?

No. But have you never come across licensing of recordings before?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 02, 2017, 03:23:30 PM
Are Naxos and DaCapo somehow the same?

Yes and no. DaCapo is "the Danish National label" Distributed by Naxos.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on May 02, 2017, 03:59:47 PM
Yes and no. DaCapo is "the Danish National label" Distributed by Naxos.

Which is not what I'm talking about. I'm not talking about Naxos distributing discs that are labelled as Da Capo (in the same way they distribute a number of other labels). In the case of the Nielsen symphonies, the recordings have been re-released AS NAXOS DISCS.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: kishnevi on May 02, 2017, 04:35:11 PM
The same ones originally released on DaCapo (which I have somewhere)?

This box maybe?


Or the individual issues on Dacapo have red covers with a portrait of the composer.

Meanwhile, looking at Amazon I just realized I have the set I linked, and two of the Naxos CDs, and never noticed they were the same. Admittedly it has been quite a while since I played the Naxos versions.

BTW, I found this to be a perfectly satisfactory recording:

Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on May 02, 2017, 04:47:23 PM
Regarding Leaper I think these are very good to excellent recordings:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51GoxYYXG4L._SS500.jpg)






(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51RDMd%2BlP6L._SS500.jpg)

Mr. Henning also posted a link awhile ago with Leaper conducting a relatively unknown non-British orchestra in Bax's Tintagel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3lPDkk-8Mk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3lPDkk-8Mk)

From here you can see he has pretty good baton techniques and is a good example of a so-called second-rate conductor teaming with a third rate orchestra producing first rate music that is idiomatic in every sense of the word. I think he is just as good a conductor as other Brits like John Wilson, or Martyn Brabbins, or Andrew Davis all of whom happen to recording on more "expensive" labels with bigger name orchestras.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 02, 2017, 05:37:42 PM
I certainly don't have a problem with you not liking Leaper’s Nielsen. That's not my business. Each to their own.

You told you don't understand why someone listens to Leaper when sets of Blomstedt and Kuchar are so cheap and easy to pick up. That's when I had to explain my choices. I did it and I even ordered the Blomstedt cycle. I think I am well over it by now.  ;)

Well, I’m glad you came to your senses and bought a good cycle of Nielsen symphonies. :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 03, 2017, 12:52:04 AM
Well, I’m glad you came to your senses and bought a good cycle of Nielsen symphonies. :)

I have lived 20 years believing Leaper's cycle IS good.  :P

Naxos needs to put a warning sticker on their Nielsen discs:

"WARNING: THIS IS A MEDIOCRE AT BEST PERFORMANCE. PLEASE BUY BLOMSTEDT'S OR KUCHAR'S CYCLE INSTEAD."
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 03, 2017, 01:02:19 AM
Which is not what I'm talking about. I'm not talking about Naxos distributing discs that are labelled as Da Capo (in the same way they distribute a number of other labels). In the case of the Nielsen symphonies, the recordings have been re-released AS NAXOS DISCS.

I know. I have some Buxtehude discs released by Dacapo I bought at full price long ago and then a decade later Naxos re-released the same recordings as Naxos discs at Naxos price in order to expand their Buxtehude selection. Quite annoying!  ::)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on May 03, 2017, 01:13:46 AM
My original point was merely that there is another Naxos Nielsen symphony cycle available for those who are into that sort of thing.

I bought the Da Capo box containing the same recordings because I also wanted the Dausgaard disc of orchestral works, and at the time the box was the cheaper method of getting everything.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 03, 2017, 02:03:13 AM
This discussion (and the excellent performance of Tintagel which I posted erewhile, as PW has reminded us) has me curious to try out the Leaper Nielsen cycle . . . I've found Used—Very Good copies of all three discs, $1.11 for the lot;  even adding the inevitable $11.97 shipping, it is like buying Naxos discs at their original price-point at the dawn of their venture  8)  An entirely acceptable risk::reward profile.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 03, 2017, 02:44:31 AM
This discussion (and the excellent performance of Tintagel which I posted erewhile, as PW has reminded us) has me curious to try out the Leaper Nielsen cycle . . . I've found Used—Very Good copies of all three discs, $1.11 for the lot;  even adding the inevitable $11.97 shipping, it is like buying Naxos discs at their original price-point at the dawn of their venture  8)  An entirely acceptable risk::reward profile.

I really like the cover art of these Leaper discs. The paintings of J. F. Willumsen seem so right for Nielsen's music!  0:)

I'd had to pay total £6.63 delivered for these three discs if I had to buy them today.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on May 03, 2017, 04:10:23 AM
“Symphony No. 3, Sinfonia espansiva” - I’ll go ahead and say it “Symphony Nos. 3-6” are where’s it at for me in terms of Nielsen’s symphony cycle. The 3rd pretty much has done away with the kind of Romantic gesturing you hear in the 1st and 2nd and we start to hear Nielsen’s compositional voice come into the fore. This is energetic, driven music that sounds like nothing you’ve heard before. Nielsen makes use in the second movement of two vocalists (a soprano and a baritone) singing in a wordless vocal style that calls to mind Vaughan Williams’ usage of this kind of sound in his “Pastoral Symphony”. This said, the “Sinfonia Espansiva” could be viewed as his “Pastoral Symphony” but even this description would be undermining the sheer energy and power this symphony projects to the listener.

I had to go back quite a lot of pages to go find your review and see what I thought as I'm getting into the symphonies more depth. Though of course, because I'm doing them out of order, I can't tell right now how "Romantic" the first 2 symphonies might be compared to this one!

But it's one of Nielsen's most fascinating qualities, a kind of anti-Romanticism (shared in some ways with Sibelius?) where he refuses to let the music descend into something gluggy. The start of the 2nd movement is an example of something that sounds as if it could turn a bit sentimental, but there's a clarity to the lines that prevents that from happening. Similarly with the wordless vocals, that's something you might expect to get terribly misty-eyed but Nielsen keeps that impulse in check.

Having recently spent a lot of time with the Chailly set of Brahms symphonies and the Gardiner set of Schumann ones, I do think there's something in common with those sorts of composers when they're played well, but Nielsen is from the time when late Romanticism was getting into it's biggest excesses so it's all the more interesting that he was more like an early Romantic than a late one.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on May 03, 2017, 04:32:53 AM
This discussion (and the excellent performance of Tintagel which I posted erewhile, as PW has reminded us) has me curious to try out the Leaper Nielsen cycle . . . I've found Used—Very Good copies of all three discs, $1.11 for the lot;  even adding the inevitable $11.97 shipping, it is like buying Naxos discs at their original price-point at the dawn of their venture  8)  An entirely acceptable risk::reward profile.
Yes there is an edginess and concentration to the playing that is pretty awesome I think. Also a depth and richness to the sound, very atmospheric. I like how the opening flute trills are more prominent here than other recordings.

I found this video of the same orchestra playing of all things Walton's 1st. You hear the same rawness and sense of discovery as you do in Bax's Tintagel. Not Leaper conducting this time...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWe6VWRXo9Q&t=1144s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWe6VWRXo9Q&t=1144s)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on May 03, 2017, 04:41:21 AM
To move to something non-symphonic: who has a recording of Springtime in Funen?

I'm only even aware of 2 recordings, one conducted by Leif Segerstam and the other by Tamás Vetö. I'm particularly curious about the Segerstam recording (which I think, Mirror Image, you might have bought recently?) as the album as a whole ticks some repertoire boxes very neatly, but I'd also like to know about any other recordings out there.

EDIT: The only professional review of the Segerstam disc that I know about, from Gramophone magazine, has a distinct air of disappointment. And the criticisms it makes about Segerstam pressing the music too hard resurface in an Amazon customer review. Hmm.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 03, 2017, 05:08:52 AM
To move to something non-symphonic: who has a recording of Springtime in Funen?

I'm only even aware of 2 recordings, one conducted by Leif Segerstam and the other by Tamás Vetö. I'm particularly curious about the Segerstam recording (which I think, Mirror Image, you might have bought recently?) as the album as a whole ticks some repertoire boxes very neatly, but I'd also like to know about any other recordings out there.

EDIT: The only professional review of the Segerstam disc that I know about, from Gramophone magazine, has a distinct air of disappointment. And the criticisms it makes about Segerstam pressing the music too hard resurface in an Amazon customer review. Hmm.

I've got this, and I remember liking it.  Let me revisit it, and I shall report better.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/519zOyI6FwL.jpg)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 03, 2017, 05:38:37 AM
I've got this, and I remember liking it.  Let me revisit it, and I shall report better.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/519zOyI6FwL.jpg)

I have this too, but I haven't listened to it in ages! J. F. Willumsen's painting on the cover again!  8)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2017, 05:53:39 AM
I had to go back quite a lot of pages to go find your review and see what I thought as I'm getting into the symphonies more depth. Though of course, because I'm doing them out of order, I can't tell right now how "Romantic" the first 2 symphonies might be compared to this one!

But it's one of Nielsen's most fascinating qualities, a kind of anti-Romanticism (shared in some ways with Sibelius?) where he refuses to let the music descend into something gluggy. The start of the 2nd movement is an example of something that sounds as if it could turn a bit sentimental, but there's a clarity to the lines that prevents that from happening. Similarly with the wordless vocals, that's something you might expect to get terribly misty-eyed but Nielsen keeps that impulse in check.

Having recently spent a lot of time with the Chailly set of Brahms symphonies and the Gardiner set of Schumann ones, I do think there's something in common with those sorts of composers when they're played well, but Nielsen is from the time when late Romanticism was getting into it's biggest excesses so it's all the more interesting that he was more like an early Romantic than a late one.

I can understand your sentiment in regards to Brahms and Schumann, but what Nielsen does, IMHO, is nod to tradition while keeping his distinctive approach to the symphony intact. The third movement, Allegretto un poco, has always reminded me of Janáček with those almost speech-like melodies and irregular, off-kilter rhythms. The last movement, Finale: Allegro, is absolutely ecstatic with joy and exuberance.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on May 03, 2017, 12:38:15 PM
Yes I can see that 3rd movement connection.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 03, 2017, 12:52:09 PM
To move to something non-symphonic: who has a recording of Springtime in Funen?

I'm only even aware of 2 recordings, one conducted by Leif Segerstam and the other by Tamás Vetö. I'm particularly curious about the Segerstam recording (which I think, Mirror Image, you might have bought recently?) as the album as a whole ticks some repertoire boxes very neatly, but I'd also like to know about any other recordings out there.

EDIT: The only professional review of the Segerstam disc that I know about, from Gramophone magazine, has a distinct air of disappointment. And the criticisms it makes about Segerstam pressing the music too hard resurface in an Amazon customer review. Hmm.

I like the Segerstam recording a lot;  the soloists, chorus, and children's chorus all sound lovely and assured, the orchestra sound beautiful (of course).  The critique of pressing the music too hard baffles me;  I hear ebullience and exultation, the affable seasonal joy apt to the cantata.  There is no sacrifice of ease, no compulsion.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on May 03, 2017, 01:39:01 PM
A very quick comparison on iTunes shows me that "ease" is not a quality I'd associate with Segerstam in comparison to the Tamas Veto recording in the equivalent passage.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2017, 01:45:06 PM
A very quick comparison on iTunes shows me that "ease" is not a quality I'd associate with Segerstam in comparison to the Tamas Veto recording in the equivalent passage.

So are you saying you like the Veto performance more?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on May 03, 2017, 02:00:52 PM
So are you saying you like the Veto performance more?

After only about 5 minutes listening total I'm not saying anything of the kind. I'm merely saying that I can understand the basis of the criticisms - if reviewers (professional or Amazon) know that performance, then I can well understand them thinking that Segerstam has sacrificed some ease in comparison.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2017, 05:01:13 PM
After only about 5 minutes listening total I'm not saying anything of the kind. I'm merely saying that I can understand the basis of the criticisms - if reviewers (professional or Amazon) know that performance, then I can well understand them thinking that Segerstam has sacrificed some ease in comparison.

Ah okay, the reason why I’m asking is because I own the Veto, but haven’t heard it yet.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on May 04, 2017, 02:28:40 AM
Listening to the 1st symphony today, and yeah, coming to it after the 3rd and 5th I can hear how there are some traces of a slightly more conventional romanticism here.

Reminds me a bit of some Russian composers.

Thoroughly enjoyable.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 04, 2017, 02:37:16 AM
After only about 5 minutes listening total I'm not saying anything of the kind. I'm merely saying that I can understand the basis of the criticisms - if reviewers (professional or Amazon) know that performance, then I can well understand them thinking that Segerstam has sacrificed some ease in comparison.

Several numbers in the score have rather brisk metronome markings, so perhaps their quarrel is with the composer  ;)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: amw on May 04, 2017, 02:47:58 AM
This might be just my experience, but the 1st is one of those pieces that does benefit from a more extrovert Romantic take—needs to sound like the revolutionary work that it was at the time.

Sakari Oramo gets it right: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rhfhq6A9e-M&list=PLxOM2B_2NLkaZ1WuQvDJwdtFIuRpGTujM

(Also a very good performance of the 3rd)

Blomstedt is my other favourite, although maybe he drives things a bit too hard, i.e. at the opposite end of Schønwandt who is maybe too relaxed. Btw I do think the 1st is qualitatively the equal of the rest of the symphonies in the cycle, it's just stylistically different and yes a bit more Russian maybe. (all those flatted 7ths...)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on May 04, 2017, 02:58:20 AM
Several numbers in the score have rather brisk metronome markings, so perhaps their quarrel is with the composer  ;)

I think the excerpt was from the 1st number. I haven't looked at the score.

But while we're at it, can we just marvel at the sheer scope of the project that has made Nielsen's entire output available for free online?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 04, 2017, 03:04:49 AM
Several numbers in the score have rather brisk metronome markings, so perhaps their quarrel is with the composer  ;)

For instance:

Som en græsgrøn Plet : Allegretto un poco ([crotchet] = 96)

Der har vi den aldrende Sol igen : Allegretto moderato ([crotchet] = 84)

Nu vil vi ud og lege : Allegro ([crotchet] = 138)

Kom her, kom her : Allegro molto ([crotchet] = 160)


Of course, I do not know the Veto, and cannot comment on it.


The Segerstam performance, before any other consideration, I find satisfyingly musical.  It honors the markings in the score, and all the chorus, soloists and orchestra are on board, so I hear jubilant music, un-pressed.


I think the excerpt was from the 1st number. I haven't looked at the score.

But while we're at it, can we just marvel at the sheer scope of the project that has made Nielsen's entire output available for free online?


The scope and generosity!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 04, 2017, 03:10:32 AM
This might be just my experience, but the 1st is one of those pieces that does benefit from a more extrovert Romantic take—needs to sound like the revolutionary work that it was at the time.

I’m going to agree cautiously on the Allegro orgoglioso;  but honestly, I do not want the Andante over-Romantified – there is a delicacy there, which comes straight from Nielsen’s musical character, and which I don’t want a broad brush crushing.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: amw on May 04, 2017, 03:11:39 AM
Fair enough. I would apply the same metric to the Allegro comodo I guess.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 04, 2017, 04:43:27 AM
For instance:

Som en græsgrøn Plet : Allegretto un poco ([crotchet] = 96)

Well, Vetô trends more to a bumptious 88, there.  I do not say it is absolutely wrong (maybe the space needed it), nor would I describe his reading simply as languorous 8) but my own preference is for the Segerstam.

Der har vi den aldrende Sol igen : Allegretto moderato ([crotchet] = 84)

This, though, relaxes to 76-ish;  and begging your pardon, I'm going to consider that lazy (and possibly indulging the baritone soloist).
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 04, 2017, 04:54:15 AM
The children's choir number is only modestly under tempo, but the tone of their singing, the character of the performance, I find insufferable.

The men's choir number which follows is utterly indulgent, suet-ey slow, and although the very last measure is marked poco (!!) rall. they pour it on molto in the penultimate measure.  A number of my quarrels with the performance I am willing to overlook, but this is ghastly, IMO.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 04, 2017, 05:07:51 AM
. . . which of course pretty much leads us to expect . . .

Kom her, kom her : Allegro molto ([crotchet] = 160)

Nothing in the previous numbers of the cantata would lead us to expect that they are capable of this velocity, and they do go big and slow, 136.  Trying (whether by active intent, or passive disposition) to make it too Beethovenian, I suppose.

So, sure, reviewers who are accustomed to this reading of (or this manner of reading) the piece are going to consider a performance which means to honor the composer's engraved preferences, pressed.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 04, 2017, 05:08:55 AM
Looks like I should just stick with Segerstam in Springtime in Funen. :)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 04, 2017, 05:10:42 AM
Looks like I should just stick with Segerstam in Springtime in Funen. :)

That would be my recommendation, but of course, your taste may run otherwise than mine!

And here, you can give it a try:

http://www.youtube.com/v/oerjskq5t-s
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 04, 2017, 05:21:56 AM
That would be my recommendation, but of course, your taste may run otherwise than mine!

And here, you can give it a try:

http://www.youtube.com/v/oerjskq5t-s

Thanks, Karl. I recently bought the Veto recording. I just haven’t gave it a spin yet.

(http://target.scene7.com/is/image/Target/51144282?wid=520&hei=520&fmt=pjpeg)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 04, 2017, 05:46:21 AM
Well, rather disappointed with the St Klemens School Choir!  0:)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on May 04, 2017, 06:03:12 AM
Karl, I don't think I've ever seen you dissect a performance so thoroughly.

That's what they get for making Nielsen scores thoroughly available. With tempo markings.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 04, 2017, 06:04:55 AM
Just got an email: The seller canceled my order (symphonies 4-6), but I am getting symphonies 1-3.  :-X
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 04, 2017, 06:13:13 AM
Just got an email: The seller canceled my order (symphonies 4-6), but I am getting symphonies 1-3.  :-X

That stinks. Well, definitely try to reorder it.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 04, 2017, 06:22:38 AM
That stinks. Well, definitely try to reorder it.
Yeah. These cancellations are very annoying.  I'll check out the 1-3 set first how much I like Blomstedt's vision of Nielsen.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 04, 2017, 06:23:51 AM
Yeah. These cancellations are very annoying.  I'll check out the 1-3 set first how much I like Blomstedt's vision of Nielsen.

The first and second symphonies are given great performances, but it’s the Espansiva that doesn’t quite engage this listener, but YMMV.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 04, 2017, 07:13:24 AM
Karl, I don't think I've ever seen you dissect a performance so thoroughly.

I guess it is a while since I've done.  I don't think it's officially the first time  ;)

Quote from: ørfeo
That's what they get for making Nielsen scores thoroughly available. With tempo markings.

Aye, but (especially given the Segerstam as a point of comparison) some things (the men's choir most especially) sound wrong-headedly stodgy to me, even without the support of the source document.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 04, 2017, 06:53:55 PM
I’d love to watch someone perhaps on YouTube do an analysis of Nielsen’s Sinfonia semplice with plenty of musical examples and audio excerpts being presented along the way.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on May 05, 2017, 05:11:04 AM
I'll stop raving about the 5th soon, but... do you know why I think I'm so immediately in love with the 5th?

I think it's because each of the 2 movements is big enough and rich enough to be a work in its own right. Today I've been particularly focusing on getting to know the 2nd movement better, and it's practically a smaller symphony (2nd section scherzo coming before 3rd section andante in this case).

Combine that with the great broad arch of the 1st movement, fully satisfying on its own terms, and you've got a very rich listening experience for the symphony as a whole. 
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 05, 2017, 05:11:35 AM
I'll stop raving about the 5th soon

Why?  0:)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on May 05, 2017, 05:29:48 AM
Why?  0:)

Because I'll be busy listening to even-numbered symphonies.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 05, 2017, 05:32:55 AM
Well, all right, then!

The Fifth really is a kind of double-bill symphony.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on May 05, 2017, 05:37:42 AM
I’d love to watch someone perhaps on YouTube do an analysis of Nielsen’s Sinfonia semplice with plenty of musical examples and audio excerpts being presented along the way.
You won't get it because it is the least performed of Nielsen's symphonies. No one is going to bother.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 05, 2017, 05:40:45 AM
You won't get it because it is the least performed of Nielsen's symphonies. No one is going to bother.

Well, one can wish can’t they? ;)
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 05, 2017, 05:43:07 AM
I'll stop raving about the 5th soon, but... do you know why I think I'm so immediately in love with the 5th?

I think it's because each of the 2 movements is big enough and rich enough to be a work in its own right. Today I've been particularly focusing on getting to know the 2nd movement better, and it's practically a smaller symphony (2nd section scherzo coming before 3rd section andante in this case).

Combine that with the great broad arch of the 1st movement, fully satisfying on its own terms, and you've got a very rich listening experience for the symphony as a whole.

Talk about the 5th as much as you like, my friend. No worries. I’ll be happy to read your thoughts. I love it, too. Karl called this a 'double-bill symphony' and that’s a good term for it as both movements provide a plethora of ideas and varying moods.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on May 05, 2017, 05:48:01 AM
You won't get it because it is the least performed of Nielsen's symphonies. No one is going to bother.

They'll bother when doing the whole set of symphonies. While I don't think/remember them having the level of analysis Mirror Image, I can remember at least one website having a set of introductions of all 6 works.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 05, 2017, 05:50:21 AM
Well, maybe I see a niche . . . .
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 05, 2017, 07:11:00 AM
They'll bother when doing the whole set of symphonies. While I don't think/remember them having the level of analysis Mirror Image, I can remember at least one website having a set of introductions of all 6 works.

Ah yes, this must be the site you’re referring to perhaps?

http://www.npr.org/sections/deceptivecadence/2015/06/09/411256072/evenly-odd-carl-nielsens-distinctive-symphonies
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: NorthNYMark on May 05, 2017, 11:21:23 AM
I don't recall if it was initially this thread or something else, but I was prompted to explore some Nielsen last night and this morning (via Spotify). I'd started the exploration a couple of years ago and was impressed with his work, but for some reason went into more of a rock and jazz phase for a while. Returning to that exploration, I listened to symphonies 4 and 5, plus the Clarinet Concerto. Wow--the concerto in particular was stunning--I'm surprised it does not get more attention! The symphonies were very impressive as well--very accessible without feeling too corny or film soundtrack-like. It took me a while to decide on what performace of the symphonies to start out with--I sampled the first minute or so (from the 3rd and 4th symphonies) of a bunch of cycles. The ones that felt most engaging were those by both Jarvis (Neeme and Paavo), Chung, and Kuchar (though I realize the limitations of my method--perhaps those who impress most in the opening may not have the most satisfying interpretations of the overall work--still, one has to start somewhere). For the Clarinet Concerto, those that impressed me most were the Blomstedt and the younger Jarvi (I ended up listening to the entire Blomstedt, and look forward to hearing the Jarvi--what an amazing work!!!)

For the symphonies, I decided to begin with the younger Jarvi. While I remember this from my earlier traversal, I was nonetheless struck anew by the orchestral color of both symphonies. For a violinist, Nielsen seems to have a particular affinity for woodwinds, and is also quite effective with percussion. I'll definitely be listening to more of Nielsen--it will take a while to start familiarizing myself with the major works, not to mention exploring the breadth of his oeuvre. Thanks to those of you who have kept this thread going!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on May 05, 2017, 01:18:37 PM
Ah yes, this must be the site you’re referring to perhaps?

http://www.npr.org/sections/deceptivecadence/2015/06/09/411256072/evenly-odd-carl-nielsens-distinctive-symphonies

Yes, that's the one I was thinking of.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 05, 2017, 02:08:40 PM
I don't recall if it was initially this thread or something else, but I was prompted to explore some Nielsen last night and this morning (via Spotify). I'd started the exploration a couple of years ago and was impressed with his work, but for some reason went into more of a rock and jazz phase for a while. Returning to that exploration, I listened to symphonies 4 and 5, plus the Clarinet Concerto. Wow--the concerto in particular was stunning--I'm surprised it does not get more attention! The symphonies were very impressive as well--very accessible without feeling too corny or film soundtrack-like. It took me a while to decide on what performace of the symphonies to start out with--I sampled the first minute or so (from the 3rd and 4th symphonies) of a bunch of cycles. The ones that felt most engaging were those by both Jarvis, Chung, and Kuchar (though I realize the limitations of my method--perhaps those who impress most in the opening may not have the most satisfying interpretations of the overall work--still, one has to start somewhere). For the Clarinet Concerto, those that impressed me most were the Blomstedt and the younger Jarvi (I ended up listening to the entire Blomstedt, and look forward to hearing the Jarvi--what an amazing work!!!)

For the symphonies, I decided to begin with the younger Jarvi. While I remember this from my earlier traversal, I was nonetheless struck anew by the orchestral color of both symphonies. For a violinist, Nielsen seems to have a particular affinity for woodwinds, and is also quite effective with percussion. I'll definitely be listening to more of Nielsen--it will take a while to start familiarizing myself with the major works, not to mention exploring the breadth of his oeuvre. Thanks to those of you who have kept this thread going!

Nielsen’s international status, compared to that of say Mahler, Sibelius, or Strauss, is still something that baffles me. Nielsen was a contemporary of all three composers (and not to mention Debussy) and, yet, it’s still somewhat of a rare thing to hear any of his music outside of Denmark and the other Nordic countries. He certainly was a major composer of the 20th Century and did much to expand on the symphonic form. He’s as distinctive as any of the afore mentioned composers, but it seems Nielsen’s music has alluded many over the years. Also, I find the comparisons people have made of Nielsen and Sibelius to be quite odd. These composers couldn’t be anymore different from each other.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on May 05, 2017, 02:32:22 PM
Nah, Nielsen and Sibelius definitely have some things in common in my view. The key thing being a move away from high/late Romanticism to something more classical/objective.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 05, 2017, 03:05:12 PM
Nah, Nielsen and Sibelius definitely have some things in common in my view. The key thing being a move away from high/late Romanticism to something more classical/objective.

But my point is would you mistake Sibelius for Nielsen or vice versa? I wouldn’t.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on May 05, 2017, 03:08:16 PM
But my point is would you mistake Sibelius for Nielsen or vice versa? I wouldn’t.

No I wouldn't either. But you just referred to comparisons. I would quite happily note things they had in common.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 05, 2017, 03:14:52 PM
No I wouldn't either. But you just referred to comparisons. I would quite happily note things they had in common.

Hmm...that would be interesting. Besides being born in the same year (1865) and pushing their own brand of late-Romanticism into early Modernism, what would you say they have in common?
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: NorthNYMark on May 05, 2017, 03:41:10 PM
Nielsen’s international status, compared to that of say Mahler, Sibelius, or Strauss, is still something that baffles me. Nielsen was a contemporary of all three composers (and not to mention Debussy) and, yet, it’s still somewhat of a rare thing to hear any of his music outside of Denmark and the other Nordic countries. He certainly was a major composer of the 20th Century and did much to expand on the symphonic form. He’s as distinctive as any of the afore mentioned composers, but it seems Nielsen’s music has alluded many over the years. Also, I find the comparisons people have made of Nielsen and Sibelius to be quite odd. These composers couldn’t be anymore different from each other.

Based on my initial impressions, I'd tend to agree. To me, he seems to fit right in with Mahler, Sibelius, and Strauss, but if anything is more interesting (to me, upon initial listens) than any of them. Perhaps Sibelius's 4th Symphony (my favorite of his) could be seen as leaning in a more fashionably modernist direction, but otherwise I'm not sure why Nielsen would be either less critically acclaimed or less popular with the general public. I think the impact of Scandinavian folk music is perhaps slightly more overt in bis work than in that of Sibelius (and I'm aware of its importance to Sibelius), but an overt folk influence certainly never got in the way of Bartok's reputation. It's kind of a head scratcher to me that Nielsen is not as popular as Mahler.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mahlerian on May 05, 2017, 03:52:18 PM
Based on my initial impressions, I'd tend to agree. To me, he seems to fit right in with Mahler, Sibelius, and Strauss, but if anything is more interesting (to me, upon initial listens) than any of them. Perhaps Sibelius's 4th Symphony (my favorite of his) could be seen as leaning in a more fashionably modernist direction, but otherwise I'm not sure why Nielsen would be either less critically acclaimed or less popular with the general public. I think the impact of Scandinavian folk music is perhaps slightly more overt in bis work than in that of Sibelius (and I'm aware of its importance to Sibelius), but an overt folk influence certainly never got in the way of Bartok's reputation. It's kind of a head scratcher to me that Nielsen is not as popular as Mahler.

Speaking from my personal experience only, Nielsen's music doesn't make sense to me.  I can follow it, but all I perceive are its surface structural processes and not its inner life, whereas the music of Mahler and (to a lesser extent) Sibelius is alive and full of resonance.  Nielsen's music is interesting, but (and this is my failing) it doesn't do anything else for me.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 05, 2017, 04:16:28 PM
Based on my initial impressions, I'd tend to agree. To me, he seems to fit right in with Mahler, Sibelius, and Strauss, but if anything is more interesting (to me, upon initial listens) than any of them. Perhaps Sibelius's 4th Symphony (my favorite of his) could be seen as leaning in a more fashionably modernist direction, but otherwise I'm not sure why Nielsen would be either less critically acclaimed or less popular with the general public. I think the impact of Scandinavian folk music is perhaps slightly more overt in bis work than in that of Sibelius (and I'm aware of its importance to Sibelius), but an overt folk influence certainly never got in the way of Bartok's reputation. It's kind of a head scratcher to me that Nielsen is not as popular as Mahler.

I love a lot of Sibelius and Mahler whereas Strauss I can take or leave (I do enjoy some of his music a good deal). Perhaps it has to do with how Nielsen treats his musical material? Perhaps it has to do with his general musical outlook? I really have no idea. All I know is I hear an original voice in his music and I certainly can recognize that this voice perhaps isn’t as universal as us Nielsen fans would like it to be. As for the folk influence, I’d say that’s only a small part of his overall sound. Surely the music of Brahms, Beethoven, Haydn, and Mozart have cast their influence over his music. It’s what he did with tradition in conjunction with what he felt he needed to express that obviously give his music their unique expression. No one sounds like him --- this I do know.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 05, 2017, 04:18:32 PM
Speaking from my personal experience only, Nielsen's music doesn't make sense to me.  I can follow it, but all I perceive are its surface structural processes and not its inner life, whereas the music of Mahler and (to a lesser extent) Sibelius is alive and full of resonance.  Nielsen's music is interesting, but (and this is my failing) it doesn't do anything else for me.

That’s more than fair enough. Nielsen took me quite some time to pin-down but when his music did finally click with me --- there was no turning my back ever again. I will say that, even though in my beginning stages of understanding, and appreciating, I didn’t quite understand it, but the music did have something alluring about it and I did hear what you simply admitted to not hearing: an inner life.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: NorthNYMark on May 05, 2017, 06:50:19 PM
Speaking from my personal experience only, Nielsen's music doesn't make sense to me.  I can follow it, but all I perceive are its surface structural processes and not its inner life, whereas the music of Mahler and (to a lesser extent) Sibelius is alive and full of resonance.  Nielsen's music is interesting, but (and this is my failing) it doesn't do anything else for me.

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. It's interesting how differently certain music resonates with different people. I'm still pretty new to all this music--I've only been listening seriously to classical music for about four or five years now, so my responses to composers like Mahler (not to mention Nielsen) are likely to develop in different ways over time. I was revisiting Mahler not long ago, particularly his 9th symphony. Generally I find his first movements very intriguing and involving (and the main theme in the 7th Symphony's first movement is one of the catchiest I've ever heard), but I seem have a particularly hard time relating to the polkas, the marches, and the vocal parts, so his works sometimes feel like they're being interrupted in midstream to me. I'm finding the 9th to feel a bit more like a coherent whole than some of the others, though. Obviously, there's something about Mahler that keeps me coming back, even when it doesn't fully click with me.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mirror Image on May 05, 2017, 07:39:11 PM
It is quite remarkable how each of us reacts so differently to a composer’s music. For me, Nielsen’s music overflows with energy and he had such a zest for life. As Robert Simpson explains, he wasn’t a composer that looked onto the world with dismay, in fact, he did the opposite. His music isn’t about the sorrows and trials of everyday life and he doesn’t bother with expressing these kinds of feelings like Mahler does for example. Nielsen, at his best, represents the power of the nature and how it can sweep one away if one doesn’t pay attention to their surroundings. If someone doesn’t connect with his music, that’s fine by me, but I’m certainly glad I continued to listen, because I couldn’t live without his music now.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on May 05, 2017, 07:57:37 PM
Hmm...that would be interesting. Besides being born in the same year (1865) and pushing their own brand of late-Romanticism into early Modernism, what would you say they have in common?

Okay, I'll try to construct something sensible... though the first thing I should say is don't underestimate the importance of them both stepping away from Romanticism. Because the way that they did that is quite different to other innovative composers. Where you've got other people of the same generation either being heavily influenced by Wagner or doing things that dissolve tonality, these two wrote music that still feels firmly tonal. Instead they innovated in the ways they developed their forms and themes.

Nordic, obviously (one Danish, one Finnish Swede), which I do think means something culturally. I find it interesting they both wrote quite a bit of incidental music, I'm not sure how much that's just a function of the era but I'm aware of more of that for them than for most composers. Quite a lot of (underappreciated) choral and vocal music, often with a dash of nationalism (again, maybe partly just due to the era but I see that as a commonality).

I don't want to play up the similarities, either. I agree with you that they're not the same. But I don't see them as at opposite poles, either.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 06, 2017, 01:54:46 AM
Nielsen’s international status, compared to that of say Mahler, Sibelius, or Strauss, is still something that baffles me. Nielsen was a contemporary of all three composers (and not to mention Debussy) and, yet, it’s still somewhat of a rare thing to hear any of his music outside of Denmark and the other Nordic countries. He certainly was a major composer of the 20th Century and did much to expand on the symphonic form. He’s as distinctive as any of the afore mentioned composers, but it seems Nielsen’s music has alluded many over the years. Also, I find the comparisons people have made of Nielsen and Sibelius to be quite odd. These composers couldn’t be anymore different from each other.

Nielsen's international status indeed is oddly weak. To me Nielsen is among the most important 20th century composers. I am a Finn who doesn't care much about Sibelius, but Nielsen is among my favorite composers. He was been that ever since I heard his fourth symphony on radio two decades ago and was really blown away, something the music of Sibelius, Mahler, Strauss or Debussy have never done to me. In fact, of all composers of that era only Elgar has a stronger effect on me.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 06, 2017, 02:01:17 AM
Nah, Nielsen and Sibelius definitely have some things in common in my view. The key thing being a move away from high/late Romanticism to something more classical/objective.

Yes, but they moved more or less in different directions. Music is a multidimensional artform so there's a lot of directions to choose from. Even if you move into the same direction in some dimensions, you can move in opposite directions in other dimensions.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Mahlerian on May 06, 2017, 02:05:29 AM
Thanks for your thoughtful reply. It's interesting how differently certain music resonates with different people. I'm still pretty new to all this music--I've only been listening seriously to classical music for about four or five years now, so my responses to composers like Mahler (not to mention Nielsen) are likely to develop in different ways over time. I was revisiting Mahler not long ago, particularly his 9th symphony. Generally I find his first movements very intriguing and involving (and the main theme in the 7th Symphony's first movement is one of the catchiest I've ever heard), but I seem have a particularly hard time relating to the polkas, the marches, and the vocal parts, so his works sometimes feel like they're being interrupted in midstream to me. I'm finding the 9th to feel a bit more like a coherent whole than some of the others, though. Obviously, there's something about Mahler that keeps me coming back, even when it doesn't fully click with me.

Mahler's music is actually very focused, despite the constant variation on the surface, and all of his symphonies present a coherent argument from beginning to end.  The logic can certainly take time to reveal itself, but it's always there.  I don't think of the references to popular forms as any more distracting in Mahler than they are in Beethoven or Haydn.

Anyway, enough of digressions, back to Nielsen!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 06, 2017, 02:59:45 AM
It is quite remarkable how each of us reacts so differently to a composer’s music.

It is, but it's the same with other things such as films. My favorite movies aren't your favorite movies. Our neural networks organize themself in different ways because we have different sets of neural blocks preventing organization. These blocks are results of life experiencies and the purpose of them is most logically to simplify the world for us, inhibite the chaotic flow of information. We all have lived different lives so we have different neural blocks. Blocks can be removed, but there might be another block preventing the removal. It can be a puzzle to remove blocks and that's why it can take a lot of time and effort.

So, when a teenager says heavy metal "rulezzz!"and all other music "suxxx!" it's because he/she has a lot of neural blocks making the world simple and ordered for him/her (heavy metal rules. All other music sucks. Simple as that). When a person manages to remove neural blocks, the world reveals it's extreme level of complexity and that might feel scary and unpleasant. So, we might prefer keeping the blocks, but we can also try to be open-minded and prevent new blocks from appearing with new information.

I liked Nielsen and Elgar instantly so I didn't have neural blocks preventing me to understand and appreciate their music, but I seem to have a persistent "Sibelius block" for example. Maybe I would have to see the world in ways I don't want to in order to really "get" Sibelius?

For me, Nielsen’s music overflows with energy and he had such a zest for life. As Robert Simpson explains, he wasn’t a composer that looked onto the world with dismay, in fact, he did the opposite. His music isn’t about the sorrows and trials of everyday life and he doesn’t bother with expressing these kinds of feelings like Mahler does for example. Nielsen, at his best, represents the power of the nature and how it can sweep one away if one doesn’t pay attention to their surroundings. If someone doesn’t connect with his music, that’s fine by me, but I’m certainly glad I continued to listen, because I couldn’t live without his music now.

I find Nielsen music "sunny" and "zesty". It's like drinking lemon sodapop on a warm sunny summer day. Nielsen music has a wonderful combination of maturity and childishness similar to Elgar. Nielsen also feels creative and inventive.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: Madiel on May 06, 2017, 03:27:57 AM
It is, but it's the same with other things such as films. My favorite movies aren't your favorite movies. Our neural networks organize themself in different ways because we have different sets of neural blocks preventing organization. These blocks are results of life experiencies and the purpose of them is most logically to simplify the world for us, inhibite the chaotic flow of information. We all have lived different lives so we have different neural blocks. Blocks can be removed, but there might be another block preventing the removal. It can be a puzzle to remove blocks and that's why it can take a lot of time and effort.

So, when a teenager says heavy metal "rulezzz!"and all other music "suxxx!" it's because he/she has a lot of neural blocks making the world simple and ordered for him/her (heavy metal rules. All other music sucks. Simple as that). When a person manages to remove neural blocks, the world reveals it's extreme level of complexity and that might feel scary and unpleasant. So, we might prefer keeping the blocks, but we can also try to be open-minded and prevent new blocks from appearing with new information.

I liked Nielsen and Elgar instantly so I didn't have neural blocks preventing me to understand and appreciate their music, but I seem to have a persistent "Sibelius block" for example. Maybe I would have to see the world in ways I don't want to in order to really "get" Sibelius?

I find Nielsen music "sunny" and "zesty". It's like drinking lemon sodapop on a warm sunny summer day. Nielsen music has a wonderful combination of maturity and childishness similar to Elgar. Nielsen also feels creative and inventive.

I was with you for about one sentence until you started talking about neural blocks. It is not simply a case of liking more things as we get older/more experienced, because what you're ignoring is that we have different sets of values.

And values are not "neural blocks". They're not negatives ("I can't appreciate this"), they are positives ("these are the things I like and respond to").

It doesn't matter how much I am exposed to any and every type of music, there are things that I value as part of my personality - not merely musical qualities, but qualities more generally - that are going to influence exactly which music I like regardless of its genre.

I get thoroughly tired of people picking heavy metal as an example. Personally I never liked heavy metal as a teenager. My nephew, on the other hand, loves it. But he's musical, and it's not simply a case of him mindlessly having the same reaction to everything in the genre any more than I have the same reaction to every classical composer or to every female piano-playing singer-songwriter (any website that says "you like Tori Amos? then in that case we think you'll like all these other women" loses points with me).

There is certainly an element of having to get used to styles of music that we find unfamiliar, yes. But there is no way that is the sum total of what determines our responses, and no amount of removal of "neural blocks" will get me to like music that fundamentally doesn't align with my own values.

The world does not consist of billions of people all with the exact same neural network just waiting to be "unblocked".
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 06, 2017, 04:00:10 AM
I find Nielsen music "sunny" and "zesty". It's like drinking lemon sodapop on a warm sunny summer day. Nielsen music has a wonderful combination of maturity and childishness similar to Elgar. Nielsen also feels creative and inventive.

Well said.
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 06, 2017, 04:00:55 AM
The world does not consist of billions of people all with the exact same neural network just waiting to be "unblocked".

Thank heaven!
Title: Re: Carl Nielsen
Post by: 71 dB on May 06, 2017, 05:47:20 AM
I was with you for about one sentence...

That's one more than people typically are.  ;D

...until you started talking about neural blocks. It is not simply a case of liking more things as we get older/more experienced, because what you're ignoring is that we have different sets of values.

It's not as if these blocks get removed as we get older. We remove some, but other blocks are generated. If your life is chaotic and hard you are likely to create more blocks to simplify the world for you. For example populism is based on this. If you are happy, your life is in order and you don't fear anything you are likely to push blocks (such as "all muslims are bad people") away.

And values are not "neural blocks". They're not negatives ("I can't appreciate this"), they are positives ("these are the things I like and respond to").

Blocks are negatives and lack of blocks are positives.