Author Topic: The Nielsen Nexus  (Read 195983 times)

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Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: The Nielsen Nexus
« Reply #1180 on: April 25, 2021, 01:48:10 PM »
It's not so much that he doesn't play the notes as that he's technically incapable of playing them at the speed Nielsen asks.  His performance is 4 minutes longer than anyone else's, which in a piece lasting under 25 minutes (well, except in Goodman's hands) is significant.  Some passages - the notorious lead-in to the second big solo cadenza, for example - are taken about half-speed.  I think the story is that Goodman didn't really bother to practice, being confident that he could just turn up and play.  But yes, worth a listen - he's quite good in the slower sections, even if his cushioned, vibrato-rich sound is probably a world away from the shrieking wildness Nielsen had in mind.  It's especially interesting to follow it immediately with the Stanley Drucker/Bernstein version, which is how the piece really goes.

Thankyou for those insights.  I have the Drucker so I will do just as you suggest......

Offline OrchestralNut

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Re: The Nielsen Nexus
« Reply #1181 on: May 04, 2021, 06:33:29 AM »
First listen to these recordings.  Marvelous!  A generous gift to me from John (MI).  Thank you!  ;)

Nielsen

Violin Concerto
Flute Concerto
Clarinet Concerto


Nikolaj Znaider, violin
Robert Langevin, flute
Anthony McGill, clarinet

Alan Gilbert, conducting
New York Philharmonic

DACAPO


Offline krummholz

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Re: The Nielsen Nexus
« Reply #1182 on: May 04, 2021, 03:58:43 PM »
I never knew that the sixth was anything but well received!  Well I guess that is what I get for not reading liner notes.
Actually, some of the most scathing criticism of the 6th that I've ever read came from the pen (typewriter?) of Robert Simpson, who in the original edition of his book Carl Nielsen, Symphonist accused Nielsen in that work of descending from Objectivity to Subjectivity, that it was a singular product of the depression that afflicted him around the time he turned 60, and felt the Humoreske 2nd movement couldn't have taken much strength to write, or words to that effect. Simpson completely revised his opinion of the work years later, but I know that my first hearings of the work were influenced by having read Simpson's original account, and I had a hard time really coming to terms with it for a long time.

Today I find the first movement brilliant and the work as a whole, as Karl said "brilliant and quirky". VERY quirky. I still prefer the 5th, but the 6th contains music I wouldn't want to be without. I guess overall, I'm closer today to Simpson's later thoughts on the piece, but I still find it difficult.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: The Nielsen Nexus
« Reply #1183 on: May 04, 2021, 04:21:09 PM »
Actually, some of the most scathing criticism of the 6th that I've ever read came from the pen (typewriter?) of Robert Simpson, who in the original edition of his book Carl Nielsen, Symphonist accused Nielsen in that work of descending from Objectivity to Subjectivity, that it was a singular product of the depression that afflicted him around the time he turned 60, and felt the Humoreske 2nd movement couldn't have taken much strength to write, or words to that effect. Simpson completely revised his opinion of the work years later, but I know that my first hearings of the work were influenced by having read Simpson's original account, and I had a hard time really coming to terms with it for a long time.

Today I find the first movement brilliant and the work as a whole, as Karl said "brilliant and quirky". VERY quirky. I still prefer the 5th, but the 6th contains music I wouldn't want to be without. I guess overall, I'm closer today to Simpson's later thoughts on the piece, but I still find it difficult.

When I first heard Nielsen’s 6th, I thought the composer mustn’t suffered a great blow to the head which left him in a completely altered state of mind. I thought “This couldn’t be the same composer of the previous symphonies...could it?” What makes the 6th great is that he tried something new and it worked. I think Robert Simpson was incorrect in his initial statements regarding this symphony. Also, that whole idea he concocted of objectivity vs. subjectivity is a load of BS. Intellectual analysis aside, you either respond to the music or you don’t. Of course, opinions can change as they did for Simpson, but sometimes we’re guilty of speaking before thinking. I find this symphony to be a breath of fresh air and I’m glad he had enough time to compose it.
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Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: The Nielsen Nexus
« Reply #1184 on: May 04, 2021, 05:01:06 PM »
I find it fascinating that Simpson misunderstood the Sixth in the first edition of his book. The second edition of the book wasn't published until 1979, and I haven't been able to find out exactly when Simpson came to his revised opinion. However it's easy to see in Simpson's own work that Nielsen's Sixth fascinated him: the Fourth Symphony (1970-72) has several passages referring, and the opening of the Eighth Symphony (1981, after his revised opinion was published) is almost a paraphrase of the opening of the Nielsen Sixth (the Eighth goes a different way from Nielsen's work).
I've always liked the Sixth and never thought that it was out of place in Nielsen's work.

Offline Madiel

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Re: The Nielsen Nexus
« Reply #1185 on: May 04, 2021, 06:30:35 PM »
It's not hard to understand why people can find the 6th to be a stumbling block. Nielsen is sometimes presented as being a composer who is all about power and force and momentum, and the 6th doesn't fit that mindset.
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Offline krummholz

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Re: The Nielsen Nexus
« Reply #1186 on: May 05, 2021, 05:43:39 AM »
I find it fascinating that Simpson misunderstood the Sixth in the first edition of his book. The second edition of the book wasn't published until 1979, and I haven't been able to find out exactly when Simpson came to his revised opinion. However it's easy to see in Simpson's own work that Nielsen's Sixth fascinated him: the Fourth Symphony (1970-72) has several passages referring, and the opening of the Eighth Symphony (1981, after his revised opinion was published) is almost a paraphrase of the opening of the Nielsen Sixth (the Eighth goes a different way from Nielsen's work).
I've always liked the Sixth and never thought that it was out of place in Nielsen's work.
Hmm... interesting thought about Simpson's 8th. I've always felt the musical inspiration might have been the opening of Brian's 28th, but it could easily have been the Sinfonia Semplice as well. All three works begin simply, even innocently, and then leave innocence far behind, never to return.

I don't think Nielsen's 6th is out of place, I just find it the most difficult of his symphonies to relate to on an emotional level. My guess is that was likely Simpson's problem with the work as well. It refuses to be pinned down - to me it comes across as the most ambiguous of Nielsen's symphonies.

Offline OrchestralNut

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Re: The Nielsen Nexus
« Reply #1187 on: May 10, 2021, 03:52:33 AM »
First listen to this recording.  A generous gift to me from John (MI).  Thank you!  ;)

Nielsen

Symphony No. 1, CNW 25


Alan Gilbert, conducting
New York Philharmonic

DACAPO



An energetic, emphatic performance!  :)

Offline OrchestralNut

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Re: The Nielsen Nexus
« Reply #1188 on: May 12, 2021, 07:17:41 AM »
Re-listening again to the first two symphonies!

Nielsen

Symphony No. 1, CNW 25
Symphony No. 2, CNW 26


Alan Gilbert, conducting
New York Philharmonic

DACAPO



Enjoying these performances so far.  After these repeat performances, I'll move on to a multiple listen to Symphony No. 3

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: The Nielsen Nexus
« Reply #1189 on: May 12, 2021, 08:21:15 AM »
Re-listening again to the first two symphonies!

Nielsen

Symphony No. 1, CNW 25
Symphony No. 2, CNW 26

First I've seen that cataloguing, interesting.
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: The Nielsen Nexus
« Reply #1190 on: May 13, 2021, 03:55:40 PM »
It's an infamous "party record".

On one hand there is the natural curiosity.  But for me it is overruled by "Do I really want to hear the train-wreck of a well-beloved piece, just because a jazz legend is responsible for the wreckage?"
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: The Nielsen Nexus
« Reply #1191 on: May 13, 2021, 05:51:17 PM »
Re-listening again to the first two symphonies!

Nielsen

Symphony No. 1, CNW 25
Symphony No. 2, CNW 26


Alan Gilbert, conducting
New York Philharmonic

DACAPO



Enjoying these performances so far.  After these repeat performances, I'll move on to a multiple listen to Symphony No. 3

Always a good idea, Ray. Right now, I’m stuck on the Schwarzkopf/Szell recording of Strauss’ Vier Letzte Lieder and other orchesterlieder.
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Offline Daverz

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Re: The Nielsen Nexus
« Reply #1192 on: May 13, 2021, 08:23:46 PM »
On one hand there is the natural curiosity.  But for me it is overruled by "Do I really want to hear the train-wreck of a well-beloved piece, just because a jazz legend is responsible for the wreckage?"

Yes, and said Jazz Legend even made some nice classical recordings, so why dwell on this one bad miscalculation.  I only have this because it's coupled with Gould's recording Symphony No. 2.  I don't think I ever listened to it.

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: The Nielsen Nexus
« Reply #1193 on: May 13, 2021, 10:49:24 PM »



Trying to work out if that last cover is circling something significant in Copenhagen or (my current theory) a completely random waterway...

I don’t remember anything musical in that spot.

Nor do I. But if you can find out, I would like to hear.
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Offline MusicTurner

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Re: The Nielsen Nexus
« Reply #1194 on: May 14, 2021, 01:10:50 AM »
Nielsen's address in Copenhagen from 1915-31 was at Materialgården at Frederiksholms Kanal = the circle spot on the map. Originally because his wife Anne Marie, a sculptor, got access to those premises as a flat + studio.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2021, 05:48:52 AM by MusicTurner »

Offline Madiel

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Re: The Nielsen Nexus
« Reply #1195 on: May 14, 2021, 02:05:39 AM »
Nielsen's adress in Copenhagen from 1915-31 was at Materialgården at Frederiksholms Kanal = the circle spot on the map. Originally because his wife Anne Marie, a sculptor, got access to those premises as a flat + studio.

Oh right, thank you!
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Offline Madiel

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Re: The Nielsen Nexus
« Reply #1196 on: May 14, 2021, 02:07:11 AM »
First I've seen that cataloguing, interesting.

As in the first time you've seen the CNW numbers?

Yeah, it's kind of the new standard thing apparently. It's one of those catalogues where it's chronological within a category, which I don't entirely love. Although it does end up highlighting that songs represent a huge amount of Nielsen's output.

http://www5.kb.dk/dcm/cnw/navigation.xq
« Last Edit: May 14, 2021, 02:09:05 AM by Madiel »
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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: The Nielsen Nexus
« Reply #1197 on: May 14, 2021, 03:10:53 AM »
As soon as a word has left the lips, not even the fastest horse can catch up with it.

Offline krummholz

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Re: The Nielsen Nexus
« Reply #1198 on: May 14, 2021, 04:14:26 AM »
As in the first time you've seen the CNW numbers?

Yeah, it's kind of the new standard thing apparently. It's one of those catalogues where it's chronological within a category, which I don't entirely love. Although it does end up highlighting that songs represent a huge amount of Nielsen's output.

http://www5.kb.dk/dcm/cnw/navigation.xq

But not, apparently, otherwise chronological. That's a pity. Given how chaotic Nielsen's opus numbers are, we really need a purely chronological catalogue of his works - or at least one that is more nearly chronological, something like the Meta numbers for Holmboe's oeuvre.

Offline Madiel

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Re: The Nielsen Nexus
« Reply #1199 on: May 14, 2021, 04:22:03 AM »
But not, apparently, otherwise chronological. That's a pity. Given how chaotic Nielsen's opus numbers are, we really need a purely chronological catalogue of his works - or at least one that is more nearly chronological, something like the Meta numbers for Holmboe's oeuvre.

Yes. I'm not sure why the FS numbers didn't stick as I understood them to be closer to a chronological list.

But there are other composers where a similar approach is taken, for example the MWV numbers for Mendelssohn, the JW numbers for Janacek. I don't really understand why some musicologists like working this way, separating out genres. Possibly it's when they're not confident they can get a chronological list for all works? So they split it up into more manageable chunks. I don't know.
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