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Carl Nielsen

June 9, 1865 - October 3, 1931
born in Sortelung, Denmark, composed during the Romantic period
Although Finland's extraordinary Jean Sibelius may be foremost among Nordic composers, his contemporary, Carl Nielsen -- best known for six highly original symphonies and simple popular songs -- holds an honored place as Denmark's foremost post-Romantic musical ambassador, and has found considerable acclaim amongst musicians and audiences alike.

A painter by profession, Nielsen's father spent as much or more energy on his secondary activities as a violinist, and it was in this way that young Carl received his first musical instruction. At 14 Carl auditioned for a position with a military wind ensemble at Odense (he was hired as a bugler, despite his lack of formal training on the instrument). During a visit to Copenhagen in 1883, Nielsen was introduced to composer Niels W. Gade, who suggested that the young musician enroll at the Conservatory for serious studies. During Nielsen's three years at the Conservatory (1884-1886) his primary subjects were violin and theory, and at no time did he actually receive formal instruction in composition. Nevertheless, in 1888 his Suite for Strings, Op.1 received a successful debut in Copenhagen.

In 1889 Nielsen was hired as a violinist at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, a position he retained until 1905 (though in 1891 he journeyed to Paris, where he met and married Danish sculptress Anne Marie Brodersen). During the 1890s Nielsen composed prolifically, and much of his output was put into print. By 1903 he had signed a contract with the Wilhelm Hansen publishing firm in Copenhagen, effectively ending his tenure with the Royal Theatre (though he would not officially resign for two more years). His career as a conductor began in 1908 when he accepted a staff position with the Royal Theatre Orchestra. From 1916 until his death in 1931 (of heart disease), he taught at the Royal Danish Conservatory.

Nielsen's music is highly individual in both content and construction, although only the symphonies and the three concertos (violin, flute, and clarinet) have earned places in the repertory outside Denmark (where many of his choral pieces have become part of the national heritage). Each of the three concertos is a worthy contribution to its instrument's literature, though perhaps the Clarinet Concerto deserves the most attention. While starting out from the perspective of Classical form and harmony, his music later developed into an "extended" tonal and even atonal language, born of his highly expressive melodic style.

Like his colleague Sibelius, Nielsen poured his finest material into the symphonic mold. From the early First Symphony of 1892 (which is one of the first such works to begin and end in different keys), to the famous Fourth Symphony ("The Inextinguishable," a reference to the enduring power of both life and music), each is a noble testament to a remarkable man's view of the world around him. ~ Blair Johnston, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Carl Nielsen: Orchestral Music

Title: Maskarade (Masquerade), Opera, FS 39

1. Maskarade (Masquerade), Opera, FS 39: Overture

2. Maskarade (Masquerade), Opera, FS 39: Cockerel's Dance

Title: Herr Oluf Han Rider (Master Oluf Rides), Incidental Music, FS 37

3. Herr Oluf Han Rider (Master Oluf Rides), Incidental Music, FS 37: Forspil (Prelude): Andantino Giusto

Title: Snefrid, Melodrama, FS 17

4. Snefrid, Melodrama, FS 17: Forspil (Prelude)

5. Snefrid, Melodrama, FS 17: Andante Quasi Sostenuto

6. Snefrid, Melodrama, FS 17: Efterspil (Postlude): Allegro Non-troppo

7. Snefrid, Melodrama, FS 17: Snefrids Sovn: Andante - Quasi Allegretto - Andante

8. Snefrid, Melodrama, FS 17: Sorgemusik: Andante Sostenuto

Title: Saul Og David (Saul And David), Opera, FS 25

9. Saul Og David (Saul And David), Opera, FS 25: Forspil Til 2. Akt (Prelude To Act 2): Allegro Marziale

Title: En Fantasirejse Til Faerøene (An Imaginary Trip To The Faroe Islands), Rhapsodic Overture For Orchestra, FS 123

10. En Fantasirejse Til Faerøene (An Imaginary Trip To The Faroe Islands), Rhapsodic Overture For Orchestra, FS 123: En Fantasirejse Til Faeroerne

Title: Willemoes, Incidental Music, FS 44

11. Willemoes, Incidental Music, FS 44: Forspil Til 3. Akt (Prelude To Act 3): Andantino Espressivo

Title: Pan Og Syrinx (Pan And Syrinx), For Orchestra, FS 87 (Op. 49)

12. Pan Og Syrinx (Pan And Syrinx), For Orchestra, FS 87 (Op. 49): Naturscene For Orkester, Op. 49

Title: Amor Og Digteren (Amor And The Poet), Incidental Music, FS 150 (Op. 54)

13. Amor Og Digteren (Amor And The Poet), Incidental Music, FS 150 (Op. 54): Ouverture: Allegretto Con Brio

Title: Helios, Concert Overture, FS 32 (Op. 17)

14. Helios, Concert Overture, FS 32 (Op. 17): Helios Overture

x

Track List: Carl Nielsen: Symphonies Nos 1 & 6

Title: Symphony No. 1 In G Minor, Fs 16 (Op. 7)

1. Symphony No. 1 In G Minor, Fs 16 (Op. 7): I. Allegro Orgoglioso

2. Symphony No. 1 In G Minor, Fs 16 (Op. 7): II. Andante

3. Symphony No. 1 In G Minor, Fs 16 (Op. 7): III. Allegro Comodo

4. Symphony No. 1 In G Minor, Fs 16 (Op. 7): IV. Finale: Allegro Con Fuoco

Title: Symphony No. 6 ("Sinfonia Semplice"), FS 116

5. Symphony No. 6 ("Sinfonia Semplice"), FS 116: I. Tempo Giusto

6. Symphony No. 6 ("Sinfonia Semplice"), FS 116: II. Humoreske: Allegretto

7. Symphony No. 6 ("Sinfonia Semplice"), FS 116: III. Proposta Seria: Adagio

8. Symphony No. 6 ("Sinfonia Semplice"), FS 116: IV. Tema Con Variazioni

x

Track List: Nielsen: Piano Pieces

Title: Chaconne For Piano, Op. 32 (FS 79)
Title: Den Luciferiske, Suite For Piano, Op. 45 (FS 91)
Title: Tre Klaverstykker (Three Pieces For Piano), FS 131 (Op. 59)
Title: Fem Klaverstykker (Five Pieces For Piano), FS 10 (Op. 3)
Title: Humoreske-bagateller (Humoresque-bagatelles) (6), For Piano, FS 22 (Op. 11)
x

Track List: Nielsen: String Quartets

Title: String Quartet In E Flat Major, FS 23 (Op. 14)

1. String Quartet In E Flat Major, FS 23 (Op. 14): I. Allegro Con Brio

2. String Quartet In E Flat Major, FS 23 (Op. 14): II. Andante Sostenuto

3. String Quartet In E Flat Major, FS 23 (Op. 14): III. Allegretto Pastorale - Presto - Allegretto Pastorale

4. String Quartet In E Flat Major, FS 23 (Op. 14): IV. Finale: Allegro Coraggioso - Allegro Molto

Title: String Quartet In F Major ("Piacevolezza"), FS 36 (Op. 44; Prev. Op. 19)

5. String Quartet In F Major ("Piacevolezza"), FS 36 (Op. 44; Prev. Op. 19): I. Allegro Non Tanto E Comodo

6. String Quartet In F Major ("Piacevolezza"), FS 36 (Op. 44; Prev. Op. 19): II. Adagio Con Sentimento Religioso

7. String Quartet In F Major ("Piacevolezza"), FS 36 (Op. 44; Prev. Op. 19): III. Allegretto Moderato Ed Innocente

8. String Quartet In F Major ("Piacevolezza"), FS 36 (Op. 44; Prev. Op. 19): IV. Finale. Molto Adagio - Allegro Non Tanto, Ma Molto Scherzoso

x

Track List: Nielsen: Symphonies No 4-6 / Blomstedt, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra

Disc 1
Title: Symphony No. 4 ("Det Uudslukkelige"; "Inextinguishable"), Fs 76 (Op. 29)

1. Symphony No. 4 ("Det Uudslukkelige"; "Inextinguishable"), Fs 76 (Op. 29): I. Allegro

2. Symphony No. 4 ("Det Uudslukkelige"; "Inextinguishable"), Fs 76 (Op. 29): II. Poco Allegretto

3. Symphony No. 4 ("Det Uudslukkelige"; "Inextinguishable"), Fs 76 (Op. 29): III. Poco Adagio Quasi Andante

4. Symphony No. 4 ("Det Uudslukkelige"; "Inextinguishable"), Fs 76 (Op. 29): IV. Con Amina - Allegro

Title: Symphony No. 5, FS 97 (Op. 50)

5. Symphony No. 5, FS 97 (Op. 50): I. Tempo Giusto

6. Symphony No. 5, FS 97 (Op. 50): II. Adagio Non Troppo

7. Symphony No. 5, FS 97 (Op. 50): III. Allegro

8. Symphony No. 5, FS 97 (Op. 50): IV. Presto

9. Symphony No. 5, FS 97 (Op. 50): V. Andante Un Poco Tranquillo

10. Symphony No. 5, FS 97 (Op. 50): VI. Allegro

Disc 2
Title: Symphony No. 6 ("Sinfonia Semplice"), FS 116

1. Symphony No. 6 ("Sinfonia Semplice"), FS 116: I. Tempo Giusto

2. Symphony No. 6 ("Sinfonia Semplice"), FS 116: II. Humoreske: Allegretto

3. Symphony No. 6 ("Sinfonia Semplice"), FS 116: III. Proposta Seria: Adagio

4. Symphony No. 6 ("Sinfonia Semplice"), FS 116: IV. Tema Con Variazioni

Title: Little Suite, For String Orchestra In A Minor, Fs 6 (Op. 1)

5. Little Suite, For String Orchestra In A Minor, Fs 6 (Op. 1): I. Prelude

6. Little Suite, For String Orchestra In A Minor, Fs 6 (Op. 1): II. Intermezzo

7. Little Suite, For String Orchestra In A Minor, Fs 6 (Op. 1): III. Finale

Title: Hymnus Amoris, For Soloists, Chorus & Orchestra, FS 21 (Op. 12)

8. Hymnus Amoris, For Soloists, Chorus & Orchestra, FS 21 (Op. 12): I. Amor Mihi Vitam Donat

9. Hymnus Amoris, For Soloists, Chorus & Orchestra, FS 21 (Op. 12): II. Amor Est Dolor Meus

10. Hymnus Amoris, For Soloists, Chorus & Orchestra, FS 21 (Op. 12): III. Amor Est Pax Mea

x

Track List: Nielsen: Symphonies no 1-3 / Blomstedt, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra

Disc 1
Title: Symphony No. 1 In G Minor, Fs 16 (Op. 7)

1. Symphony No. 1 In G Minor, Fs 16 (Op. 7): I. Allegro Orgoglioso

2. Symphony No. 1 In G Minor, Fs 16 (Op. 7): II. Andante

3. Symphony No. 1 In G Minor, Fs 16 (Op. 7): III. Allegro Comodo

4. Symphony No. 1 In G Minor, Fs 16 (Op. 7): IV. Finale: Allegro Con Fuoco

Title: Symphony No. 2 ("De Fire Temperamenter"), FS 29 (Op. 16)

5. Symphony No. 2 ("De Fire Temperamenter"), FS 29 (Op. 16): I. Allegro Collerico

6. Symphony No. 2 ("De Fire Temperamenter"), FS 29 (Op. 16): II. Allegro Comodo E Flemmatico

7. Symphony No. 2 ("De Fire Temperamenter"), FS 29 (Op. 16): III. Andante Malinconico

8. Symphony No. 2 ("De Fire Temperamenter"), FS 29 (Op. 16): IV. Allegro Sanguineo

Disc 2
Title: Symphony No. 3 ("Sinfonia Espansiva"), FS 60 (Op. 27)

1. Symphony No. 3 ("Sinfonia Espansiva"), FS 60 (Op. 27): I. Allegro Espansivo

2. Symphony No. 3 ("Sinfonia Espansiva"), FS 60 (Op. 27): II. Andante Pastorale

3. Symphony No. 3 ("Sinfonia Espansiva"), FS 60 (Op. 27): III. Allegretto Un Poco

4. Symphony No. 3 ("Sinfonia Espansiva"), FS 60 (Op. 27): IV. Finale, Allegro

Title: Overture To Maskarade, FS 39

5. Overture To Maskarade, FS 39: Maskarade: Overture

Title: Aladdin, Incidental Music, Op. 34 (FS 89)

6. Aladdin, Incidental Music, Op. 34 (FS 89): Oriental Festival March

7. Aladdin, Incidental Music, Op. 34 (FS 89): Aladdin's Dream And Dance Of The Morning Mist

8. Aladdin, Incidental Music, Op. 34 (FS 89): Hindu Dance

9. Aladdin, Incidental Music, Op. 34 (FS 89): Chinese Dance

10. Aladdin, Incidental Music, Op. 34 (FS 89): The Marketplace In Ispahan

11. Aladdin, Incidental Music, Op. 34 (FS 89): Prisoner's Dance

12. Aladdin, Incidental Music, Op. 34 (FS 89): Negro Dance

x

Track List: Nielsen: Symphony 3

Title: Symphony No. 3 ("Sinfonia Espansiva"), FS 60 (Op. 27)

1. Symphony No. 3 ("Sinfonia Espansiva"), FS 60 (Op. 27): I. Allegro Espansivo

2. Symphony No. 3 ("Sinfonia Espansiva"), FS 60 (Op. 27): II. Andante Pastorale

3. Symphony No. 3 ("Sinfonia Espansiva"), FS 60 (Op. 27): III. Allegretto Un Poco

4. Symphony No. 3 ("Sinfonia Espansiva"), FS 60 (Op. 27): IV. Finale, Allegro

5. Symphony No. 3 ("Sinfonia Espansiva"), FS 60 (Op. 27): Symphony #3, Andante Pastorale (Alternative Version)

Title: Silkesko Over Gylden Laest! (Silk Shoe Over Golden Last!), Song For Voice & Piano (Silk Shoe On Golden Last), FS 14/3 (Op. 6/3)

6. Silkesko Over Gylden Laest! (Silk Shoe Over Golden Last!), Song For Voice & Piano (Silk Shoe On Golden Last), FS 14/3 (Op. 6/3): Silkesko Over Gylden Laest Op.6 No.3

Title: Sænk Kun Dit Hoved Du Blomst (Bow Your Head, O Flower), Song For Voice & Piano (Strophic Songs), FS 42/4 (Op. 21/4)

7. Sænk Kun Dit Hoved Du Blomst (Bow Your Head, O Flower), Song For Voice & Piano (Strophic Songs), FS 42/4 (Op. 21/4): Saenk Kun Dit Hoved Op.21 Vol.ii No.1

Title: Helios, Concert Overture, FS 32 (Op. 17)

8. Helios, Concert Overture, FS 32 (Op. 17): Helios Overture

Title: Paraphrase On 'Naermere Gud Til Dig' ("Nearer My God To Thee"), For Winds, FS 63

9. Paraphrase On 'Naermere Gud Til Dig' ("Nearer My God To Thee"), For Winds, FS 63: Paraphrase On "Nearer, My God, To Thee" (Inst./arr. Knud Ketting)

x

Track List: Nielsen: Symphony No. 2 "The Four Temperaments"' Symphony No. 4 "The Inextinguishable"

Title: Symphony No. 2 ("De Fire Temperamenter"), FS 29 (Op. 16)

1. Symphony No. 2 ("De Fire Temperamenter"), FS 29 (Op. 16): I. Allegro Collerico

2. Symphony No. 2 ("De Fire Temperamenter"), FS 29 (Op. 16): II. Allegro Comodo E Flemmatico

3. Symphony No. 2 ("De Fire Temperamenter"), FS 29 (Op. 16): III. Andante Malinconico

4. Symphony No. 2 ("De Fire Temperamenter"), FS 29 (Op. 16): IV. Allegro Sanguineo

Title: Symphony No. 4 ("Det Uudslukkelige"; "Inextinguishable"), Fs 76 (Op. 29)

5. Symphony No. 4 ("Det Uudslukkelige"; "Inextinguishable"), Fs 76 (Op. 29): I. Allegro

6. Symphony No. 4 ("Det Uudslukkelige"; "Inextinguishable"), Fs 76 (Op. 29): II. Poco Allegretto

7. Symphony No. 4 ("Det Uudslukkelige"; "Inextinguishable"), Fs 76 (Op. 29): III. Poco Adagio Quasi Andante

8. Symphony No. 4 ("Det Uudslukkelige"; "Inextinguishable"), Fs 76 (Op. 29): IV. Con Amina - Allegro

Title: Helios, Concert Overture, FS 32 (Op. 17)

9. Helios, Concert Overture, FS 32 (Op. 17): Helios Overture

Title: Moderen, Incidental Music, Fs 94 (Op. 41)

10. Moderen, Incidental Music, Fs 94 (Op. 41): 2. The Fog Is Lifting

Comments

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Some of the bio comments by our esteemed musicologist border on demeaning this fine composer. His flute and clarinet concertos are major pillars of our repertoire. I loved playing them both which is no small task.
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makes me want to know why I never tried learning any instrument.. . C a r l Nielsen is actually a great great (possible another great) uncle of mine on my mother's side...I do love his music even so....
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Amazing
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This is great music. I someday hope to learn to play the violin part.����
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lkgrebnel
Who's the fiddler? Great!!!
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paultwatson
Very pretty
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I have appreciated following the flow of this music.
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Jeg elske Handel, Beethoven, Berlioz, Bruckner, Mahler, Dvorak, Janacek, og Nielsen!
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i like his music
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anthonysaint a m a n t
My Mastro's star must ascend higher!!!
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The french don't have mice ... their cheese is much too good.
Report as inappropriate
.......mouss e ' is a french mouse....... . . w h e r e is everybody?
Report as inappropriate
.......like carl's hairdo...... . i t may predate mousse'..... . . . .

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