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Carl Nielsen: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 6 / Royal Stockholm PO; Oramo

Album Summary

>Nielsen, Carl : Symphony no 2 in B minor, Op. 16 "The Four Temperaments"
>Nielsen, Carl : Symphony no 6, FS 116 "Sinfonia semplice"
Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The recently released second volume of the Carl Nielsen symphony cycle from the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Sakari Oramo has already met with acclaim similar to that for the first disc: 'an ideal blend of fieriness and loving care' (Norddeutscher Rundfunk), and 'an impressive second volume from what's turning into a must-hear Nielsen cycle.' (BBC Radio 3 CD Review); The last installment of the cycle opens with the composer's Symphony No.2, 'The Four Temperaments', dating from 1901 - 02, its origins an allegorical picture Nielsen came across in a country inn, illustrating the four temperaments of man as defined in Greco-Roman medicine: anger, apathy, melancholy and carefree abandon. Twenty-three years later the composer completed his sixth and final symphony, giving it the subtitle Sinfonia semplice (Simple Symphony). Nielsen had envisaged a work 'quite idyllic in character' - but by the time he arrived at the last movement, Theme and variations, the work had taken a different course, and as Nielsen later told a friend, the ninth and last variation, scored for tuba and percussion, represents 'death knocking at the door'.

Gramophone Magazine, June 2015
Sakari Oramo's cycle of Nielsen symphonies roars to its conclusion with an account of the Second, The Four Temperaments, irresistibly driven by a fifth - Oramo himself. The choleric hero positively steams into our midst - a Berliozian pirate whose ferocious energy is tamed only by the impassioned lyricism of his more romantic inclinations... a terrific performance of a marvellous symphony, with the delicious easy-going undulations of the phlegmatic fellow really singing here and the melancholic reaches of the slow movement achieving an almost Brucknerian grandiosity... Nielsen's last symphony - anything but 'semplice' - is also finely tuned and disturbingly precise.

MusicWeb International, April 2015
That the music ebbs and flows so naturally here and in the restless third movement is testimony to Oramo's sure grasp of the symphony's architecture, both internal and external. As in his accounts of the First and Third he builds truly commanding climaxes; indeed, there's something of Sibelius's imposing topography at times... there are many fine versions of the Sinfonia Semplice in the catalogue, but in the face of Oramo's overwhelming account there's little point in trotting them out for comparison. To put it bluntly, this the most penetrating, the most complete, account of Nielsen's last symphony that I have ever encountered... a feisty, unfettered Second and a benchmark Sixth; a triumph for all concerned.

The Observer, 3rd May 2015
Oramo is totally in control, letting the panic of the first movement of the sixth take hold with alarming speed but also giving the orchestra space to breathe, as in the broad first movement of "The Four Temperaments", allowing its rich, full-bodied sound to overwhelm us.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Stockholm Concert Hall, Sweden (06/2014).



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Works Details

>Nielsen, Carl : Symphony no 2 in B minor, Op. 16 "The Four Temperaments"
  • Conductor: Sakari Oramo
  • Ensemble: Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Running Time: 30 min. 52 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1901-1902

>Nielsen, Carl : Symphony no 6, FS 116 "Sinfonia semplice"
  • Conductor: Sakari Oramo
  • Ensemble: Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Running Time: 32 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1924-1925