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Nielsen: Aladdin Suite / Pan And Syrinx / Helios Overture
 
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Nielsen: Aladdin Suite / Pan And Syrinx / Helios Overture

1 Aug 2005 | Format: MP3

£5.79 (VAT included if applicable)
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Aug 2005
  • Label: Naxos
  • Copyright: (C) 2005 Naxos
  • Total Length: 1:07:46
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001LZJ7RA
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,503 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 3 Sep 2005
Format: Audio CD
We are used to thinking of Carl Nielsen as one of the great symphonists of the twentieth century and there are multiple sets of recordings of them. But he also wrote a fair amount of orchestral music not in symphonic form, and many of those jewels are included in this wonderful issue from Niklás Willén leading the South Jutland Symphony Orchestra, a very fine regional Danish orchestra. Included here are the Aladdin Suite, Cupid and the Poet, Saga-Dream, the Helios Overture, the Overture and Act II Prelude to his opera 'Maskarade,' and Pan and Syrinx.
All are given really quite good performances. Clearly this orchestra and its Swedish chief conductor have this music in their bones. My own favorite of these is the evocative 'Helios Overture' that Nielsen wrote after he and his wife took a trip to Greece; it portrays the sun rising and setting over the Aegean Sea, and unlike some tone-poems, it actually conjures up in sound those phenomena. I'm particularly fond of the contrapuntal section that always makes me think, 'Aha, a fugue of sunbeams.'
The jolly 'Maskarade' Overture is another favorite of mine, but perhaps best of all is the contemplative 'Saga-Dream' ('Saga-drom'), Op. 39, that has some of Nielsen's most beautiful melodies, including some really quite Brucknerian writing for the horns. 'Pan and Syrinx', Op. 49, is thought by some to be Nielsen's finest short tone poem but it doesn't quite measure up, in my books, to that assessment. Still, it contains reminders of Nielsen's unique approach to orchestral timbre, and it includes one of Nielsen's characteristic raucous outbursts from the percussion section (similar to that in his Clarinet Concerto).
Most intriguing of all, though, is the 'Aladdin Suite.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. H. Allen on 16 Aug 2009
Format: Audio CD
I first heard the Aladdin suite many years ago and when available bought it on LP, the other works on the CD were all new to me and a delight to hear for the first time. As with all Naxos discs this is a real bargain and not to be missed by anyone who likes Nielsen, a real gem.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By I. Giles HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 23 Sep 2013
Format: Audio CD
This disc, well recorded and played in 2002 appropriately in Denmark, makes a useful collection or compilation of many of Nielsen's shorter works. The Helios Overture was one of the first pieces I bought on LP and came with an excellent performance of his Violin Concerto at the beginning of the 1960's.

That overture was written to suggest the journey of the sun as it travelled across the sky in Greece. It is simply built as an arch-shaped piece and is easy to follow. The evocative Aladdin Suite contains music written to accompany a play in much the same way as Grieg's Peer Gynt. Equally, as with the Peer Gynt music, it has been the music that has outlasted the play. This must have been of some satisfaction to Nielsen as he commented that it had caused him quite a bit of heartache as a composition before it was completed. This performance is very good and differs from that by Blomstedt only in so far as it does not include the wordless chorus in the Negro Dance.

The Maskarade Overture is a light-hearted and energetic piece often played as a curtain-raiser. The Act 2 prelude makes a short and enjoyable companion piece. The remaining three short tone poems, Saga-Drom, Pan and Syrinx and Cupid and the Poet are all examples of the composer in a more thoughtful, even pensive frame of mind and they are positioned on the disc to form natural contrasts with the more energetic pieces.

This is a well played, well recorded and idiomatic disc of shorter and accessible compositions by Nielsen. I would suggest that it would make an attractive purchasing option for anyone interested in exploring this aspect of Nielsen's work.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Superb Shorter Orchestral Pieces by Nielsen 2 Sep 2005
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
We are used to thinking of Carl Nielsen as one of the great symphonists of the twentieth century and there are multiple sets of recordings of them. But he also wrote a fair amount of orchestral music not in symphonic form, and many of those jewels are included in this wonderful issue from Niklás Willén leading the South Jutland Symphony Orchestra, a very fine regional Danish orchestra. Included here are the Aladdin Suite, Cupid and the Poet, Saga-Dream, the Helios Overture, the Overture and Act II Prelude to his opera 'Maskarade,' and Pan and Syrinx.

All are given really quite good performances. Clearly this orchestra and its Swedish chief conductor have this music in their bones. My own favorite of these is the evocative 'Helios Overture' that Nielsen wrote after he and his wife took a trip to Greece; it portrays the sun rising and setting over the Aegean Sea, and unlike some tone-poems, it actually conjures up in sound those phenomena. I'm particularly fond of the contrapuntal section that always makes me think, 'Aha, a fugue of sunbeams.'

The jolly 'Maskarade' Overture is another favorite of mine, but perhaps best of all is the contemplative 'Saga-Dream' ('Saga-drom'), Op. 39, that has some of Nielsen's most beautiful melodies, including some really quite Brucknerian writing for the horns. 'Pan and Syrinx', Op. 49, is thought by some to be Nielsen's finest short tone poem but it doesn't quite measure up, in my books, to that assessment. Still, it contains reminders of Nielsen's unique approach to orchestral timbre, and it includes one of Nielsen's characteristic raucous outbursts from the percussion section (similar to that in his Clarinet Concerto).

Most intriguing of all, though, is the 'Aladdin Suite.' Written in 1919 as incidental music for a play by Adam Oehlenschläger, it has all the gestures that later came, via movie music, to be associated with music from the mysterious Middle East, including the most amazing section, called 'The Marketplace at Ispahan,' that out-Iveses Charles Ives in its overlay of four distinct musics in different keys and meters; it quite effectively calls to mind the multifarious activities of a busy marketplace. It really must be heard to be appreciated. Willén and his orchestra manage to keep all four planes of sound quite distinct and yet they meld into a glorious whole.

Considering that this is a budget issue, and that is contains masterful performances of some of Nielsen's finest music, this CD is a must-buy.

TT=67:56

Scott Morrison
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2 Great Pieces and a Few Good Ones 5 Dec 2005
By Allen A. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Nielsen's Helios Overture is one the greatest tone poems ever written. Even people who hate Nielsen love it. It really leaves you feeling that you have just witnessed a sunrise from the Acropolis. This piece alone is worth the price of the CD.

"Fantasy Voyage to the Faroes" is a beautiful seascape piece that you will want to play again and again. Both of these great tone poems are well preformed.

The other pieces on this CD are good, but they are mostly for lovers of Nielsen's music.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Fleshing Out the Library of Carl Nielsen's Works on a Shoestring 26 Oct 2005
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
While more and more conductors are regularly programming the gorgeous symphonies of Danish composer Carl Nielsen (and justly so), the other works by this inventive yet resolutely romantic composer appear only as filler on recordings of the symphonies. This fine recording by Niklás Willén conducting the South Jutland Symphony Orchestra of Denmark should change all that. The wealth of beauty and creative ideas in these five shorter works flesh out the thoughts of a composer difficult to categorize.

Nielsen's opera 'Maskarade' receives performances in Denmark and now some smaller opera companies and universities are giving it presence, and if the entire opera follows the pleasures of the Overture, we should hope for greater exposure. The 'Helios Overture' is more of a tone poem then overture in its structure: it makes sonically visual the play of the sun on the sea both at sunrise and sunset. 'Pan and Syrinx' while short suggests some of the wonderful percussion writing found in 'The Inextinguishable' symphony without the overtones of war. 'Saga Dream' is simply Nielsen at his best and for those who know the symphonies, this will conjure the majesty of the 'Sinfonia Espansiva' and the 5th, while for those unfamiliar with the symphonies will gain a quick course on why they are so well loved.

This very affordable album is a must for those who love Carl Nielsen and also a very fine introduction to those for whom this will be an introduction to an important 20th Century master. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, October 05
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Recordings 28 Dec 2005
By David A. Wend - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is a great collection of Carl Nielsen's incidental and shorted orchestral works. His music for Aladdin has been recorded in its entirety by Chandos but the suite captures the best of the music, including the evocative The Marketplace in Ispahan. The many dances in the suite are tuneful and memorable. Cupid and the Poet is also incidental music but differs from Aladdin in that it comes from Nielsen's later period prior to his Fifth and Sixth symphonies, which this music is akin to. Saga Dream is a tone poem is a mood piece, somber and contemplative in its music. The piece is somewhat reminiscent of Sibelius' tone poems but with the playful melodies of Nielsen. The Helios Overture was written after a journey to Greece and is beautifully evocative of the azure blue Aegean Sea, taking us from the dawn to dusk and darkness. The Overture has a lively middle section the perhaps was influenced by the spirit of the heroic Greek past.

The overture to the opera Maskarade has enjoyed much more success than the opera itself. The sprightly music is very ear-catching and literally bursts on the audience like the Marriage of Figaro. Pan et Syrinx was composed following the Fourth Symphony and reflects the advances in orchestration the Nielsen reached in the symphony. The extended percussion section makes use of the xylophone, tambourine and glockenspiel.

The music is beautifully recorded and played by the South Jutland Symphony Orchestra and makes a fine introduction to Carl Nielsen's music or a nice addition to ones collection.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A lovely potpourri of Nielsen outside the symphonies 7 Feb 2006
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Something must be right in the world when the South Jutland Symphony Orchestra can play this well. Naxos has employed a lot of provincial orchestras, and there's no doubt that the musicians in Jutland, like their confreres in Slovakia and Ukraine, are not first-rate, but they play here wiht great enthusiasm and commitment under Niklas Willen. I think Nielsen peaked as a composer with his Sym. #3, 4, and 5, along with the violin, flute, and clarinet concertos. But this very enjoyable omnium gatherum of shorter works has some surprises in store.

The two pieces that deserve to be promoted to the level of Sibelius's best tone poems are the Saga-Dream, which is both static and ecstatis, and the tone poem Pan and Syrinx, which despsite a title that would baffle most modern listeners unfamiliar with the crannies of Greek mythology, is as spicily varied as Nielsen's mature symphonies. I expected more from Cupid and the Poet, but it came off as bits and pieces from the anarchic Fifth Symphony. The two best-known works, the Helios and Maskarade Overtures, have been much better performed by Esa-Pekka Salonen and his Sweidsh orchestra on Sony. South Jutland isn't ready for the world stage, but it's given Nielsen lovers everywhere a valuable colleciton.
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