Nielsen: Violin, Clarinet, and Flute Concertos

Nielsen: Violin, Clarinet, and Flute Concertos

by Gareth Davies
     
 

Aside from his six symphonies, Carl Nielsen's most significant orchestral works are his three highly original concertos, all of which are performed with zest and confidence by talented young soloists on this budget-priced disc from Naxos. The Violin Concerto, played here by Jonathan Carney, is the earliest of the three, roughlySee more details below

Overview

Aside from his six symphonies, Carl Nielsen's most significant orchestral works are his three highly original concertos, all of which are performed with zest and confidence by talented young soloists on this budget-priced disc from Naxos. The Violin Concerto, played here by Jonathan Carney, is the earliest of the three, roughly contemporary with Nielsen's Third Symphony. An heir to the Romantic concerto tradition, it's less unusual in rhetoric and form than Nielsen's later woodwind concertos, but it still very much follows its own path, especially in the arresting flourishes and cadenzas of the opening "Praeludium." The merry, folksy finale suggests that in 1911, Nielsen's heart was still looking back to the nationalistic style of the 19th century. What a gulf (including a world war) separates this work from the late Flute Concerto (1926) and Clarinet Concerto (1928) -- Nielsen's death robbed us of further concertos planned for oboe, bassoon, and horn. Postdating the truly bizarre Sixth Symphony, these concertos explore bold new ways of juxtaposing soloist with orchestra. The single-movement Clarinet Concerto, played sensitively -- and, where called for, raucously -- by Kevin Banks, carries its initial folk-like theme off into unpredictable territory, using a side drum (shades of Nielsen's Fifth Symphony) as a sort of antagonist to the soloist. A more even-tempered, gentle, and free-flowing work, the Flute Concerto nevertheless sets up an odd and comically grotesque opposition between the flute and a trombonist in the orchestra. Gareth Davies is the pure-toned and dignified soloist here, and Kees Bakels and the Bournemouth Symphony provide a lush backdrop for all three of these brilliant works.

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Editorial Reviews

Gramophone - Andrew Achenbach
For those on a limited budget, this outstandingly generous Naxos anthology will prove a pretty irresistible purchase, I fancy, and if the disc introduces a wider public to the multi-faceted delights of these wonderfully engaging concertos, then all the better.
BBC Music Magazine - Stephen Johnson
You won't find a better collection of three concertos on one disc.
American Record Guide - John W. Barker
This is a fine release, a real contribution to Nielsen recordings, and another of Naxos's possible best buys.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/18/2000
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0636943418925
catalogNumber:
8554189
Rank:
335562

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Concerto for violin & orchestra, Op 33/FS 61  - Carl Nielsen  - Kees Bakels  -  Bournemouth Sinfonietta  - Jonathan Carney
  2. Concerto for clarinet & orchestra, Op.57 (FS 129)  - Carl Nielsen  - Kees Bakels  -  Bournemouth Sinfonietta  - Kevin Banks
  3. Concerto for Flute, FS 119  - Carl Nielsen  - Kees Bakels  - Gareth Rhys-Davies  - David Ylla-Somers  -  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

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