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Nielsen: Complete Symphonies

Danish National Sym Orch / Schonwandt
Release Date: 06/27/2006 
Label:  Marco Polo   Catalog #: 2110403-05  
Composer:  Carl Nielsen
Conductor:  Michael Schonwandt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 3 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Michael Schonwandt proves a formidable Nielsen conductor as he leads powerful renditions of all six symphonies. Symphonies Nos. 4 and 5 stand out as being exceptionally compelling, but the remainder are also remarkable, due largely to Schonwandt's mastery of Nielsen's idiom and unique style. The video production offers abundant shots of Schonwandt himself, whose smiling countenance throughout many of the performances (at least the lighter, "happier" symphonies 1, 2, & 6) makes you wonder if he isn't playing to the camera. Otherwise we get revealing but not always judicious views of the Danish National Symphony members, who play brilliantly. It's a common error in orchestral concert DVDs--for example, we can hear massive Read more activity in the brass, but we're shown close-ups of the relatively relaxed cellos.


A big disappointment, visually speaking, occurs in No. 4's finale, where the supposedly battling timpani players look more like they're having a polite discussion (a far cry from Seiji Ozawa's Boston Symphony video where the players take fierce and menacing stances). Likewise, the snare drummer's relaxed, Zen-like posture in Symphony No. 5's first-movement climax in no way suggests a Herculean struggle against the orchestra.


But ultimately it's the music that counts, and considering that Nielsen is still not a major presence in the concert hall, for most people in most places this handsomely produced DVD set likely will be their only opportunity to actually see all six symphonies performed. As a bonus, Dacapo includes Karl Aage Rasmussen's intriguing Nielsen documentary that reveals many interesting details about the composer's personal and professional life. The video quality is excellent, while the audio reproduces a heavy hall reverberation that was better clarified on the CD versions with these same forces. No matter, it's perfectly listenable, and overall this DVD set will prove immensely valuable to Nielsen fans.
--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1 in G minor, Op. 7 by Carl Nielsen
Conductor:  Michael Schonwandt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1890-1892; Denmark 
2.
Symphony no 2 in B minor, Op. 16 "The Four Temperaments" by Carl Nielsen
Conductor:  Michael Schonwandt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1901-1902; Denmark 
3.
Symphony no 3, Op. 27 "Sinfonia espansiva" by Carl Nielsen
Conductor:  Michael Schonwandt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910-1911; Denmark 
4.
Symphony no 4, Op. 29 "Inextinguishable" by Carl Nielsen
Conductor:  Michael Schonwandt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1916; Denmark 
5.
Symphony no 5, Op. 50 by Carl Nielsen
Conductor:  Michael Schonwandt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1921-1922; Denmark 
6.
Symphony no 6, FS 116 "Sinfonia semplice" by Carl Nielsen
Conductor:  Michael Schonwandt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924-1925; Denmark 

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