Nielsen: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 6

Nielsen: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 6

by Michael Schønwandt
     
 

Written a quarter-century apart, Nielsen's first and last symphonies provide a contrasting yet somehow consistent musical portrait of the composer. The First owes a large debt to Brahms, although one can already feel Nielsen's individual approach to the form, creating strong fields of harmonic tension through stark juxtapositions of distantly related keys. It's a… See more details below

Overview

Written a quarter-century apart, Nielsen's first and last symphonies provide a contrasting yet somehow consistent musical portrait of the composer. The First owes a large debt to Brahms, although one can already feel Nielsen's individual approach to the form, creating strong fields of harmonic tension through stark juxtapositions of distantly related keys. It's a masterful piece of craftsmanship for a 24-year-old composer, and it deserves to be heard much more often. Michael Schønwandt and the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, concluding their acclaimed Nielsen cycle with this CD, give the best performance on record since André Previn's superb account with the London Symphony (on RCA, but as of yet unavailable on CD). The abundance of vigor and warmth is a delight, but what really sets this interpretation apart is the overarching sense of youthful confidence that Schønwandt communicates. The Sixth is much more difficult to bring off, and here Schønwandt is even more impressive. Nielsen subtitled the work "Sinfonia semplice," although there is nothing at all simple about the musical contents. Schønwandt revels in the quirky characters that make up this dramma giocoso, without "overacting." This straightforward approach not only respects the composer's rather subtle directive, but it also allows us to appreciate the music's endless invention without distraction. The Danish musicians have this music in their blood and their fingers, and they play with authority, grace, and a contagious enthusiasm. One could quibble with the recording quality, which seems a bit diffuse, but the quality of the performance sweeps away such petty criticisms. Stunning!

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Product Details

Release Date:
01/16/2001
Label:
Marco Polo
UPC:
0730099986922
catalogNumber:
8224169

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Op 7/FS 16  - Carl Nielsen  -  Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra  - Michael Schønwandt
  2. Symphony No. 6, FS 116 "Sinfonia semplice"  - Carl Nielsen  -  Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra  - Michael Schønwandt

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