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Carl Nielsen: Complete Symphonies 1-6 / Schmidt, London Symphony Orchestra

Nielson / London Symphony Orchestra / Schmidt
Release Date: 11/05/2013 
Label:  Musical Concepts   Catalog #: 2505   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Carl Nielsen
Conductor:  Ole Schmidt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

It seems like ages ago, but it was actually 1974-ish when this set became the first stereo Nielsen cycle to be released under the baton of a single conductor–amazing now that the symphonies have become firmly established in the international repertoire. The engineering was and remains a bit dull on top, and there’s that blast of distortion from the horns at the very end of the Fifth Symphony, but musically these performances have held up extremely well. There are no weak interpretations. Both the First and Second Symphonies sound as fresh and exciting as any on disc. The first movement of the Third, admittedly, has been superseded in the years since in terms of rhythm and color, but the remainder goes extremely well.

The last
Read more three symphonies, through, are the true jewels of the cycle. Schmidt doesn’t put a foot wrong anywhere. The finale of the Fourth is particularly impressive for its sustained energy, especially at the end where so many conductors slam on the brakes for a bloated apotheoses far from Nielsen’s intentions. I will never understand how, hearing it done as Schmidt does here, with a firm and steady quick tempo, anyone could choose to play it differently. The Fifth ironically faced competition from Schmidt’s own original label, Unicorn, which had Jascha Horenstein’s hugely overrated reading on hand, with its admittedly non-pareil snare drum cadenza; but then Horesntein let the music sag terminally in the second movement, and that’s just where Schmidt excels.

As for the Sixth, this version is still wonderful, with a singularly intense first movement and a nicely raucous (where called for) finale. The thought that these performances are forty years old now, at time of writing, and practically qualify as “historical” really is amazing. Historical they may not be, technically, but “historic” they remain.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1 in G minor, Op. 7 by Carl Nielsen
Conductor:  Ole Schmidt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London 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:  Ole Schmidt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1901-1902; Denmark 
3.
Symphony no 3, Op. 27 "Sinfonia espansiva" by Carl Nielsen
Conductor:  Ole Schmidt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910-1911; Denmark 
4.
Symphony no 4, Op. 29 "Inextinguishable" by Carl Nielsen
Conductor:  Ole Schmidt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1916; Denmark 
5.
Symphony no 5, Op. 50 by Carl Nielsen
Conductor:  Ole Schmidt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1921-1922; Denmark 
6.
Symphony no 6, FS 116 "Sinfonia semplice" by Carl Nielsen
Conductor:  Ole Schmidt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924-1925; Denmark 

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