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NA 3653

NIELSEN, C.: Piano Music, Vol. 2

The Classical Shop
release date: August 2008

Originally recorded in 2008


Peter Seivewright


Record Label



Total Time - 62:55
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Fest-praeludium (Festival Prelude), FS 24, "Ved Aarhundredskiftet" (Turn of the Century)


Suite, Op. 45, FS 91, "The Luciferan"

2 I. Allegretto un pochettino 4:01
3 II. Poco moderato 2:15
4 III. Molto adagio e patetico 7:10
5 IV. Allegretto innocente 2:02
6 V. Allegretto vivo 1:31
7 VI. Allegro non troppo ma vigoroso 7:20

3 Piano Pieces, Op. 59 , FS 131

8 No. 1. Impromptu: Allegro fluente 2:59
9 No. 2. Molto adagio 2:45
10 No. 3. Allegro non troppo 5:48

Kavermusik for Smaa og Store (Piano Music for Young and Old), Op. 53, FS 148, Vols. 1 and 2

11 Book I, No. 1. Allegretto 0:29
12 Book I, No. 2. Andante quasi Allegretto 0:43
13 Book I, No. 3a. Allegro scherzoso 0:38
14 Book I, No. 3b. Grazioso 0:41
15 Book I, No. 4. Andantino 0:29
16 Book I, No. 5. Allegro giocoso 0:54
17 Book I, No. 6. Poco lamentoso 1:29
18 Book I, No. 7. Marziale 0:40
19 Book I, No. 8. Cantabile 0:38
20 Book I, No. 9. Allegro civettuolo 0:39
21 Book I, No. 10. Lugubre 1:21
22 Book I, No. 11. Andantino poco tiepido 0:56
23 Book I, No. 12. Adagio drammatico 1:21
24 Book II, No. 13. Andantino canto 0:47
25 Book II, No. 14. Capriccioso 0:59
26 Book II, No. 15. Adagio espressivo 1:10
27 Book II, No. 16. Alla contadino 0:46
28 Book II, No. 17. Largo con fantasia 1:58
29 Book II, No. 18. Preludio 0:35
30 Book II, No. 19. 'Alla Bach' 0:35
31 Book II, No. 20. Adagio 1:15
32 Book II, No. 21. Marcia di goffo 0:45
33 Book II, No. 22. Allegretto pastorale 1:12
34 Book II, No. 23. Etude 0:55
35 Book II, No. 24. Molto adagio - Allegretto commodo 3:31
 Peter Seivewright piano

The Festival Prelude (FS24) is a short piano piece written in 1900 to commemorate the new century. Originally scored for string and wind instruments, it briefly recalls some of the Symphonic Suite’s orchestral qualities. In 1901 it was first printed in the Danish newspaper Politiken and by Edition W. Hansen, and performed by Dagmar Borup.
The Suite, Op 45, (FS91), arguably Nielsen’s most ambitious work for piano, was dedicated to the virtuoso Artur Schnabel. It was composed mainly in Sweden during the 1919-20 season, when Nielsen was engaged as conductor of Stenharnmar’s Gothenberg Symphony Orchestra, and first performed on 14th March 1921 by Johanne Stockmar. When the work was published (by Peters in Leipzig, as the Danes would not pay well enough) the composer dropped the title Luciferan: instead of the Greek mythological Bringer of Light, listeners were expecting some association with the devil. Only the sixth movement has a diabolic element, according to the composer, "urging the player on to stronger contrasts and more violent accents." Nielsen’s foreword acknowledged the freedom of each performer to find his or her own interpretation, but advised. "... the beginning of the first movement rather cold and restrained in tone with a peaceful flowing tempo... The second movement poco moderato with the most beautiful tone and subtle use of pedals, as if one were listening. The third movement with transcendental calm and power, and in many places... a certain brutal humour. The fourth movement with a chilly, glass-like execution, without the slightest trace of feeling, but with exquisite tone. The fifth movement is self-evident."
The third and final phase of Nielsen’s piano music began with some of Nielsen’s ultimate statements in modernism. He had met, among others, Bart6k and Schoenberg, and had returned from the 1927 Music Festival in Frankfurt where the eminent German conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler had conducted Nielsen’s Fifth Symphony. Three Piano Pieces, Op. 59 (FSI31) were composed in the following year. Initially two separate impromptus dated 15th January and 1st March were first performed by Christian Christiansen on 14th April (in reverse order and with the titles Adagio and Impromptu). The third piece was completed on 6th November and the collection was posthumously published in 1937. Like the Sixth Symphony and the Flute and Clarinet Concerti, the Three Piano Pieces not only reflect but anticipate modernism. They reveal Nielsen’s deep concerns in the direction of the new music with its minimal and transparent textures, disintegrating tonality, and thematic discontinuity. Thus it may be in the piano music that Nielsen reaches out to his furthest point of musical impressionism, with subjects containing all twelve notes of the scale (in the fugue of the third piece) and the prominent role of the augmented fourth, the diabolus in musica.
"...pleasingly idiomatic and flowing"
BBC Music Magazine

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