19.09.2011 - Carl Nielsen
1/5. Donald Macleod considers the reasons behind the differing opinions of Nielsen's music.
2/5. Nielsen's childhood, fondly recalled in Springtime in Funen.
3/5. Nielsen's Hymnus amoris and his marriage to a sculptor.
4/5. Difficulties Nielsen faced, both personally and professionally.
5/5. How Nielsen's final years were marked by full recognition of his talent.
Last edited by french frank; 16-09-11 at 09:17.
A fascinating figure - a genius of sorts and in many ways a naif, who was gradually drawn into acknowledging the advanced idioms he long fended off. I shall do my utmost not to miss this series. Thanks for the notice, FF.
Originally Posted by french frank
Yes, my favourite Scandinavian composer, and it's good to see that there's a wide range of his work on show, including some of the chamber, wind and piano music, not just the usual mature symphonies. These programmes and the lunchtime concerts will be welcome oases between what is for me a bit of an R3 desert in the morning and afternoon (though the Vienna State Opera production of Katya Kabanova next Thursday pm will be worth hearing).
Incidentally during a rare visit to London next month I plan to see one of the LSO/Colin Davis Nielsen symphony cycle concerts (no 3) - I think Nielsen is a composer whose music Davis has rarely conducted.
There's a Radio Times offer for a 3 CD set of the symphonies for £9.99 (incl. p & p), recorded in 2006 by the Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra under Theodore Kuchar. Might be useful for somebody starting out on an exploration of Nielsen's work. Mind you, the San Francisco/Blomstedt recordings are probably available for not much more. Do other Nielsen admirers out there have problems with the 6th symphony? (I'm not sure whether, or how, the various elements relate to one another - if, indeed, they're intended to).
Some commentators have claimed the Sixth expressed Nielsen's sense of mortality. For a man who always stressed the positive, while never skimping on life's trials, this symphony apparently upset and still upsets many who otherwise love this composer's music, as they detect in it a growing sense of futility. Others see in its second and fourth movements a critique of avant-garde musical trends then in what he saw as "fashion". If these parodies are the latter, they are b***dy good ones! The first movement, starting insouciantly in a Haydn territory which subsequently departs as Nielsen ostensibly confronts inner demons with near-Expressionist violence, and the slow, almost Mahlerian third movement, contain some of the most moving music Nielsen ever composed, imv.
Originally Posted by Ofcachap
I'm looking forward to this. I admire his music very much. I discovered it many years ago, when I was working in a record shop on Saturdays, and promptly spent most of my meagre wages on records. At that stage as a teenager I was still discovering Beethoven and Tchaikovsky symphonies, but sometimes I would be daring and some Mozart. I ordered the records I wanted by number, and one day I must have written in down incorrectly, and got, much to my surprise Nielsen's 4th conducted by Martinon. It was a revelation.
Sir Colin's Nielsen Cycle has got off to a very fine start on the lsoLive label.
meles, welcome. I remember a fine Nielsen 4 at the Royal Festival Hall in London with Jean Martinon and the French Radio Orchestra.
For Nielsen lovers:
This extremely powerful and moving performance of the Fifth Symphony with the Frankfurt Radio SO under Paavo Jaarvi will shortly drop off the stored items on Arte Live (live web, their equivalent of iPlayer) as it has been here several months. It is preceded by Eduard Tubin's vigorous Sibelian First Symphony.
Nielsen, one of the great individualist composers as COTW is welcome as was Gretchaninov lost week. I wonder if Tubin (whose music along with many other fine Scandinavian composers, is largely shunned by the current R3 regime) will ever be COTW as he along with many other of my favourite composers has never been COTW.
Never heard a note of Tubin's music. Will follow CN's link. Thanks for that.