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Nielsen: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 6 [Hybrid SACD]

London Symphony Orchestra , C Nielsen , Sir Colin Davis Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £9.17 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Nielsen: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 6 + Nielsen: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3 (LSO/Colin Davis) + Nielsen: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5 (LSO/Davis)
Price For All Three: £25.15

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Product details

  • Conductor: Sir Colin Davis
  • Composer: C Nielsen
  • Audio CD (6 Feb 2012)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD
  • Label: LSO Live
  • ASIN: B006M51FNI
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 156,020 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Symphony No. 1: i. Andante orgoglioso 9:09£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Symphony No. 1: ii. Andante 7:24£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Symphony No. 1: iii. Allegro comodo - Andante sostenuto - Tempo I 7:59£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Symphony No. 1: iv. Finale. Allegro con fuoco 8:47£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Symphony No. 6 'Sinfonia semplice': i. Tempo giusto12:44Album Only
Listen  6. Symphony No. 6 'Sinfonia semplice': ii. Humoreske: Allegretto 5:17£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Symphony No. 6 'Sinfonia semplice': iii. Proposta seria: Adagio 5:38£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Symphony No. 6 'Sinfonia semplice': iv. Tema con variazioni: Allegro11:10Album Only


Product Description

Review

Those who enjoyed the first issue in this Nielsen cycle will certainly not be disappointed with this one. One eagerly awaits Davis's accounts of Symphonies 2 and 3 that are due to be issued later this year... Davis brings a prodigious amount of bracing energy both to the symphony's [Symphony No 1] Scherzo and the Finale, whose triumphant C major ending could hardly be delivered with more exhilaration... Colin Davis and the LSO rise to the challenge of this strange and puzzling symphony [Symphony No 6] with a convincingly thoughtful performance. --SA-CD.net (UK)

Sir Colin Davis and the LSO do both pieces proud, which has been captured in vivid and tangible sound --Time Out (UK)

'This second CD lives up to the high standard set by its predecessor' --Financial Times (UK)

Those who enjoyed the first issue in this Nielsen cycle will certainly not be disappointed with this one. One eagerly awaits Davis's accounts of Symphonies 2 and 3 that are due to be issued later this year... Davis brings a prodigious amount of bracing energy both to the symphony's [Symphony No 1] Scherzo and the Finale, whose triumphant C major ending could hardly be delivered with more exhilaration... Colin Davis and the LSO rise to the challenge of this strange and puzzling symphony [Symphony No 6] with a convincingly thoughtful performance. --SA-CD.net

Sir Colin Davis and the LSO do both pieces proud, which has been captured in vivid and tangible sound Time Out (UK) - This second CD lives up to the high standard set by its predecessor' --Finanical Times (UK)

One cannot doubt the depth and passion of Colin Davis nor his performances of Nielsen ... Davis is too great to make any errors of judgement and the London Symphony Orchestra down to the last musician was born to play Nielsen symphonies ... The LSO simply deliver what the conductor wants. They make it sound easy; I can t give them higher praise than that. --Jack Lawson, MusicWeb International May 2013

Sir Colin Davis and the LSO do both pieces proud, which has been captured in vivid and tangible sound Time Out (UK) - This second CD lives up to the high standard set by its predecessor' --Finanical Times (UK)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Nielsen is a relatively unknown composer to the general masses. However, his music is deeply compelling, exciting and full of passion. Here, the LSO and Davis join together to create something quite magical. Sitting back to listen to this recording at home (using surround sound) this music is a true joy to listen to. Exciting at every turn, the First and Sixth Symphonies are well matched and balance each other out well. A good buy and a welcome addition to my LSO collection.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By tmoklc
Format:Audio CD
I'm quickly becoming a huge Nielsen fan. I'm already a massive fan of Sir Colin Davis and the LSO and this recording sums up what is great about this orchestra - it's impressive, powerful, poignant and the sound quality is incredible. I can't wait for the final release which is due out at the end of the year. Definitely the best recording of this music.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A work of youth - and a work of contemplation 19 Mar 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
As the music of Carl Nielsen gradually spreads to the rest of the world, and more and more foreign conductors take up the challenge of interpreting his symphonies, it must in the nature of things be the particular duty of his compatriots - of whom I am one - to sample and weigh such endeavours, weaned on these national edifices as one is. As expressed in my earlier review of the first disc of symphonies, the now octogenarian Sir Colin Davis certainly digs into Nielsen con gusto, hitting the all-embracing fifth very close to the mark while I still find the fourth to be precipitate and lacking in concentration and detail.

The coupling of the symphonies Nos. 1 and 6 is a popular but fiendishly difficult one, as the works are all but diametrically opposite in nature. The first, begun when the composer was only 25, is a real barnstormer, fearless and impetuous as only youth can be, and much more so than the early works by Sibelius, an exact contemporary to whom Nielsen is often compared. No doubt Nielsen took much of his inspiration from Brahms, whose fourth symphony (of 1885) he greatly admired, but there the common ground sort of ends. Unfortunately Davis' grasp - of the orchestra undisputedly second to none - doesn't quite extend to the post-adolescent excesses of the great Dane. Though the music is very well played it comes over as way too ponderous and marinated in a late-romantic "Weltschmerz" entirely alien to pre-WWI Nielsen. When taking in this recording of the G minor symphony I couldn't help wondering if Sir Colin had perhaps Mahler's first - or Rachmaninov's second even - in slightly too fresh a memory; and that is not suitable company for the care-free Nielsen.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a very instightful look into Nielsen's not so "Semplice" symphony 18 Feb 2012
By B. Guerrero - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Wow! What an incredibly sensitive look into Nielsen's masterful "Sinfonia Semplice" (6th symphony). In contrast to what the title might suggest, Nielsen's sixth and last symphony is an amazingly complex look at life and the coming onslaught of modern music. In fact, the second movement is a tounge-in-cheek parody of modern musical trends. The symphony ends humorously enough alright (tuba and contra-bassoon farting away in their lowest registers), but it spans the entire gambit of human moods and emotions along the way. You could almost think of it as Kierkegaard in musical form. It encapsulates that great Scandinavian talent for contemplation and introspective thinking. Yet, Davis captures the perfect tempo for the totally unexpected 'clog dance' that suddenly appears in the finale. I love this work, and I guess it should come as no great surprise that such a dedicated conductor of Sibelius' works should also become a fine conductor of Nielsen - the other truly great 20th century composer from up north. The sound quality strikes me as better than usual from this particular source (LSO Live from London's acoustically challenged Barbican hall).

I would love to comment on Davis' performance of Nielsen's first symphony, but I have a terrible confession to make: I just don't like the piece. Therefore, I just don't have the knowledge to make a fair comparison. As a performance, it certainly sounds plenty good. But for me, Nielsen made huge improvements over his first three symphonies. His third, fourth and fifth symphonies are as profound and artful as any you'll hear, anyplace. The sixth is a great 'autumnal' work. But again, Nielsen's first symphony just doesn't stand comparison to Sibelius' first (however, I'm not so sure that Sibelius always improved his craft). Regardless, if you're not already familiar with it, get this for the incredible "Sinfonia Semplice".
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A work of youth - and a work of contemplation 19 Mar 2012
By Steen Mencke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
As the music of Carl Nielsen gradually spreads to the rest of the world, and more and more foreign conductors take up the challenge of interpreting his symphonies, it must in the nature of things be the particular duty of his compatriots - of whom I am one - to sample and weigh such endeavours, weaned on these national edifices as one is. As expressed in my earlier review of the first disc of symphonies, the now octogenarian Sir Colin Davis certainly digs into Nielsen con gusto, hitting the all-embracing fifth very close to the mark while I still find the fourth to be precipitate and lacking in concentration and detail.

The coupling of the symphonies Nos. 1 and 6 is a popular but fiendishly difficult one, as the works are all but diametrically opposite in nature. The first, begun when the composer was only 25, is a real barnstormer, fearless and impetuous as only youth can be, and much more so than the early works by Sibelius, an exact contemporary to whom Nielsen is often compared. No doubt Nielsen took much of his inspiration from Brahms, whose fourth symphony (of 1885) he greatly admired, but there the common ground sort of ends. Unfortunately Davis' grasp - of the orchestra undisputedly second to none - doesn't quite extend to the post-adolescent excesses of the great Dane. Though the music is very well played it comes over as way too ponderous and marinated in a late-romantic "Weltschmerz" entirely alien to pre-WWI Nielsen. When taking in this recording of the G minor symphony I couldn't help wondering if Sir Colin had perhaps Mahler's first - or Rachmaninov's second even - in slightly too fresh a memory; and that is not suitable company for the care-free Nielsen. One of the early promoters of the symphonies, the conductor Erik Tuxen (1902-57), was once asked what he felt the first symphony was about, particularly compared to the warlike image of the fourth. Tuxen dramatically put a hand to his forehead, closed his eyes and said: "I see before me a dog, not a very big one, mind you, running along the fence of a chicken yard". He may have been joking (probably was), but somehow the picture to me is closer to the essence of early Nielsen than Davis' rather grey-faced one. For a performance brimming with the Champagne-sparkle required one must turn elsewhere, and Michael Schønwandt (Dacapo), Jukka-Pekka Saraste (Warner) - and Esa-Pekka Salonen (Sony), in particular - can be trusted to find the right atmosphere of jovial invincibility. For sure-footed navigation through the emotional minefield of the Nielsen symphonies in general, Herbert Blomstedt is still well-nigh unequaled.

The sixth symphony, on the other hand, is a work right up Sir Colin's alley, technically tortuous and minimalistic at the same time. Nielsen was equally horrified and morbidly fascinated by the musical expressions of the Second Vienese School; in the "Sinfonia semplice", however, he does take us for a stroll through the zoo - never too close to the cages, though. Trough a finely ballanced combination of normal and extended tonality, plus the odd unexpected dissonance - not infrequently interpreted (probably correctly) as vitriolic stabs at Schoenberg - he presents us with a work that is both new, exciting, puzzling ... AND securely anchored in the traditional musical ideom. At the time of composition Nielsen was already a marked man due to congestive heart failure, and there is a certain frailty and perseverance - an almost desperate reluctance to let go - in the music along with the occasionally rather brash statements. Sir Colin never recorded much of the early 20th century avant-garde himself, and his insistence on a basically romantic sound succeeds in highlighting the scattered instances of modernity that keep the symphony rather unevenly suspended - much like the poles of a circus tent. Others like Blomstedt and Salonen have made fine recordings of the sixth, but Davis provides a certain old-school charm that I personally find very appealing. In the field of Nielsen six'es you need look no further.

The sound of the recordings is fine - slightly better in SACD, without the mind-blowing effect of recordings such as Osmo Vänskä's recent Beethoven and Sibelius symphonies (BIS) - and as usual the cooperation of the LSO and its illustrious conductor is a wonder in and of itself.

Again we have a disc that should rightfully be cut in half, but as that tends to result in a somewhat inferior sound reproduction, I'll keep the first symphony as a reminder that most things conceived by the young are perhaps best handled by the young. Being youthful isn't always enough. Sorry, Sir Colin.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars *** 1/2 Nothing really outstanding happens, although Davis and the LSO are always appealing 2 Mar 2012
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is a case of lightning not striking twice. The octogenarian Davis delivered a surprise with his first Nielsen recording on LSO Live, a pairing of the Fourth and Fifth Symphonies that was superb on every account but most especially in the vigor and thrust of the conducting. That the LSO played so well was a bonus. Here the pairing is of two problem symphonies that seem a bit beyond Davis's reach. He is moderate and conventional throughout, despite some standout moments, and one has a suspicion that the label's urge to have a complete Nielsen cycle was the overriding reason for this installment.

The problems are diametrically different between the First and Sixth. The former contains only hints of the unique voice Nielsen came to develop. the outer movements are the most cautious and tentative. The best music comes in the slow movement, with its lulling barcarolle sway and light passing melodies. It would take special conviction to make the score sound better than it is, and Davis supplies only a certain grace and poise - nice things, no doubt - without finding a key to the work.

The Sixth, being Nielsen's last symphony, distills many strange, quirky, even disturbing notions of what belongs in a symphony - its alternation of whimsy and ferocity is peculiar, hinting at personal meanings not quite revealed (which was also true of the Fifth, which feels like a wartime portrayal of brutality in the trenches of WW I, despite the composer's insistence that no such reference was intended). Each movement of the Sinfonia Semplice is far from simple - was the subtitle ironic? - and given the outstanding skills of the LSO, there are stretches in the finale's dark jumbled circus, the slow movement's sad threnody, and the first movement's unprepared outbursts of violence that really tell. Indeed, if the whole reading were as exciting and varied as the finale, this would be a great Nielsen Sixth.

But in the first movement Davis misses lots of opportunities for bringing out the score's strangeness, preferring instead to smooth out the kinks, and the peculiar percussion and wind chirping in the Scherzo, which cries out for satire and irony, here ticks away too mechanically. In other words, Davis doesn't read between the lines in a work where the conductor has to in order to make sense of so many oddments and quirks. On the positive side we get vivid, detailed, close-up sound and the expert execution of a virtuoso orchestra, a luxury that the Nielsen symphonies too rarely enjoy.
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