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CHAN 10271M
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CHAN 10271
(multiple CD Set)
Complete Symphonies

Nielsen: Complete Symphonies

The Classical Shop
release date: November 2004

Originally recorded in 2004


Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra

Gennady Rozhdestvensky


Stockholm Concert Hall


Brian Couzens


Ralph Couzens

Ben Connellan

Richard Smoker


Record Label
Chandos Classics


Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 223:02
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Complete Symphonies

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Symphony No. 1, Op. 7, FS 16

  in G minor - in g-Moll - en sol mineur  
1 I Allegro orgoglioso 10:07
2 II Andante 8:23
3 III Allegro comodo - Andante sostenuto - Tempo I 8:45
4 IV Finale. Allegro con fuoco 9:43

Symphony No. 4, Op. 29, FS 76 'The Inextinguishable'

  Roland Johansson - Lars Hammarteg timpani soloists  
5 I Allegro - 11:52
6 II Poco allegretto - 4:59
7 III Poco adagio quasi andante - 10:29
8 IV Allegro - Glorioso - Tempo giusto 9:43

Symphony No. 2, Op. 16, FS 29 'The Four Temperaments'

9 I Allegro collerico 10:30
10 II Allegro comodo e flemmatico 5:26
11 III Andante malincolico 12:14
12 IV Allegro sanguineo - Marziale 7:20

Symphony No. 3, Op. 27, FS 60 'Sinfonia espansiva'

  Solveig Kringelborn soprano  
  Karl-Magnus baritone  
13 I Allegro espansivo 12:44
14 II Andante pastorale 11:06
15 III Allegretto un poco 7:06
16 IV Finale. Allegro 11:04

Symphony No. 5, Op. 50, FS 97

  Sölve Kingstedt clarinet  
  Daniel Kåse snare drum  
17 I Tempo giusto - 10:06
18 Adagio non troppo 9:07
19 II Allegro - 6:29
20 Presto - 3:20
21 Andante un poco tranquillo - 4:39
22 Allegro 3:02

Symphony No. 6, FS 116 'Sinfonia semplice'

23 I Tempo giusto - Allegro passionato - Lento ma non troppo - Tempo I (giusto) 13:12
24 II Humoreske. Allegretto 4:15
25 III Proposta seria. Adagio 5:55
26 IV Tema con variazioni 11:26
  Allegro -  
  Tema -  
  Variazioni I-IX -  
 Gennady Rozhdestvensky
  13-14 September 1993, 14-18 March 1994, 16-17 November 1992, 14-15 September 1993 and 16 & 19 November 1992  
1865 was a remarkable year for Scandinavian music, for it was the year in which both Sibelius and Nielsen were born. They belonged to the last generation of composers (which also included Debussy, Delius and Mahler) for whom nature was a primary inspiration and were among the last composers to grow up before the gramophone became a serious cultural force. There are other startling parallels between Sibelius and Nielsen – both were born into relatively modest backgrounds and both were violinists and conductors.

Nielsen was one of Northern Europe’s most important and individual voices and it is in his symphonies that one can hear his music at its finest. Each of Nielsen’s symphonies is a work of character, strongly felt and cogently argued, reflecting a powerful musical personality.

This set of Nielsen’s symphonies is renowned for the special gravitas which Gennady Rozhdestvensky and his Swedish forces bring to the works.

The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra is a highly regarded exponent of Scandinavian repertoire and is able to give these symphonies an unmistakable ring of authenticity.

Three-CD set available at mid-price.

"Nielsen was in his mid-twenties when he composed Symphony No. 1 (1891-92). It is possible to discern the influences of Brahms and Dvo¡rák as well as Danish folk music. Nielsen always retained a strong affection for the work and rightly so, for its prodigality of invention and generosity of feeling have an unfailing power to astonish.

Almost a decade separates his Symphony No. 1 from Symphony No. 2 ‘The Four Temperaments’ (1901-02). The subtitle alludes to a set of caricatures Neilsen had seen in a village inn, depicting the four humours: choleric, phlegmatic, melancholy and sanguine.

The best part of another decade elapsed before Nielsen completed his Symphony No. 3 ‘Sinfonia espansiva’. By now his musical personality had deepened, his sense of confidence and independence of thought were stronger, and the sound world he created more tightly focussed. This symphony is remarkable for its electrifying opening, an explosive torrent which unleashes a flood of energy.

There is a level of violence in Symphony No. 4 ‘The Inextinguishable’ (1914-16) new in Nielsen’s art. The comfortable world of the first three symphonies had been shaken by the shock of the First World War. The work, Nielsen said, gave expression to ‘the elemental Will of Life’.

In Nielsen’s Symphony No. 5 (1921), with its even higher threshold of dissonance, we find ourselves in a totally different climate from that of the confident pre-war Nielsen; his musical language had undergone a radical and irrevocable change which Symphony No. 6 ‘Sinfonia semplice’ (1925) reinforces. This last symphony is the most rarely heard of the cycle and in some ways the most enigmatic. During the 1920s Nielsen was troubled by a series of heart attacks which gradually eroded his strength, and it is hard not to sense this in the climax of the first movement.

Excellent playing from the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and exemplary recording from the Chandos team…
The Penguin Complete Guide

A distinctive reading…
Hi-Fi News

…what a marvellous orchestra this has become in recent years… the orchestral response is first-class in all departments.

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