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Carl Nielsen: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3 / Royal Stockholm PO; Sakari Oramo

Album Summary

>Nielsen, Carl : Symphony no 1 in G minor, Op. 7
>Nielsen, Carl : Symphony no 3, Op. 27 "Sinfonia espansiva"
Conductor Ensemble
  • >
Composer

Notes & Reviews:

MusicWeb International, April 2015
This is a Nielsen First to sweep listeners off their feet and blow old favourites into the proverbial weeds... [and the] Third is no less gripping...This is a field-leading release, both musically and sonically; roll on Two and Six.

BBC Music Magazine, March 2015
It's a joy to find so much intelligent care and attention expended on Nielsen's First Symphony...You can feel the exuberance, the intellectual control, and also the sense of danger...But there's also a tender, affectionate streak in this symphony, which Oramo and his orchestra bring out well while resisting the temptation to indulge...The Sinfonia Espansiva (No. 3) is also finely controlled and full of character.

The new benchmark' and 'set to become the reference recordings' - these are a couple of the verdicts on the new Carl Nielsen cycle from Sakari Oramo and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, based on the team's performances of the Fourth and Fifth symphonies, released in 2013 (BIS-2028). For the present installment, Sakari Oramo has chosen the composer's first attempt in the genre, completed in 1892: a work by a composer still in his mid-twenties, and mindful if not overly respectful of previous models. Thoroughly classical in its proportions, Symphony No.1 owes much to Schumann, while at the same time displaying affinities with the fieriness of Berlioz, with the lyrical tone of Grieg, and with the rhythmic vitality of Grieg's fellow-Norwegian Johan Svendsen, who conducted the work's première. (In later years Nielsen often conducted his own music, but at this time he was still dependent on his income as an orchestral player, and sat among the second violins.) If the work met with a certain sympathy - one influential critic wrote that the work promised 'a coming storm of genius' - what might be termed Carl Nielsen's 'definitive' breakthrough as a symphonist only came some 20 years later, with the première of Symphony No.3, later subtitled Sinfonia espansiva. The work was described by one reviewer as 'genuinely Carl Nielsenesque in all its strange mixture of naiveté and refinement, humor and lyricism, violence and grace', and it was soon taken up by orchestras across Europe. In the second movement, Andante pastorale, Nielsen unusually adds vocalises for solo soprano and baritone: as he put it in one of his program notes, the aim was 'to underscore the peaceful atmosphere you might imagine in Paradise before the Fall of our first parents, Adam and Eve'. The movement was played at Carl Nielsen's funeral, in Copenhagen Cathedral on 9th October 1931.

Gramophone Magazine, March 2015
Oramo had his Royal Stockholm Philharmonic wind players relax into [No. 1's] almost Baroque-like ornateness, and when the tune 'turns' in the violins, its does so with effortless charm...The 'Espansiva' heart of the [Third] is the second movement...and is a departure in every sense - it's a rarefied air that Oramo breathes.

Sunday Times, 18th January 2015
Bravo...to the Finnish conductor, a Sibelian whose credentials need no advertisement, for championing his national composer's exact Danish contemporary's symphonies. This second instalment of his Nielsen cycle offers bracing accounts of the G minor (No 1) and "Espansiva" (No 3).

American Record Guide, July/August 2015
Oramo's reading of the First Symphony is the most high-spirited, fresh, and uplifting one I know. It never gets out of hand and is always under control. Everything is fresh and alive. The reading of the Third Symphony is also bursting with life and enthusiasm. The Stockholm Philharmonic plays very well in both works. Lovers of these symphonies should hear this newcomer, especially for the First Symphony.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Stockholm Concert Hall, Sweden (01/2013/05/2014).



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Works Details

>Nielsen, Carl : Symphony no 1 in G minor, Op. 7
  • Conductor: Sakari Oramo
  • Running Time: 33 min. 28 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1891-1892

>Nielsen, Carl : Symphony no 3, Op. 27 "Sinfonia espansiva"
  • Conductor: Sakari Oramo
  • Running Time: 37 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1910-1911