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Nielsen; Symphonies Nos.1 & 6

San Francisco So , Hebert Blomstedt Audio CD

Price: 11.50
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Nielsen; Symphonies Nos.1 & 6 + Nielsen: Symphonies 4 & 5, Blomstedt + Nielsen - Symphonies 2 & 3
Price For All Three: 25.97

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1. Sym No. 1: I. Allegro orgoglioso
2. Sym No. 1: II. Andante
3. Sym No. 1: III. Allegro comodo
4. Sym No. 1: IV. Finale
5. Sym No. 6: I. Tempo giusto
6. Sym No. 6: II. Humoreske: Allegretto
7. Sym No. 6: III. Proposta seria: Adagio
8. Sym No. 6: IV. Temo con variazioni: Allegro

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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Robert Layton's Review in Gramophone 19 April 2006
By Record Collector - Published on Amazon.com
I liked Blomstedt's account of the Fourth and Fifth Symphonies (Decca CD), and as some readers will recall, he recorded for EMI not only the six symphonies but Nielsen's complete orchestral works (including the three concertos) with Danish Radio forces in the mid-1970s for EMI. The intervening years have found him developing in stature and his Bruckner Fourth and Seventh Symphonies with the Staatskapelle Dresden on Denon show a very real depth and mastery.

Let's start with the First Symphony, for which Nielsen always nurtured a special affection-and rightly so, for its language is natural and unaffected, it has spontaneity of feeling and a Dvorakian warmth and freshness. To my mind this newcomer is the best account of the work to have appeared for some years: indeed, I'm tempted to say, since the 1967 Previn/LSO account on RCA. It is vital, beautifully shaped and generally faithful to both the spirit and the letter of the score. Tempo markings are observed, though Blomstedt is considerably slower than Nielsen's crotchet=120 in the Andante sostenuto section of the scherzo, which is a pity as it relates to the minim=120 of the finale which he does observe. Otherwise he is completeiy on target and even observes a piu vivo marking in the finale (eight bars after fig. E; track 4, 1'37'') which in Jensen's pioneering Decca version is barely perceptible.

Blomstedt achieves a finely blended wind sound and cultured string playing and although the music is not borne on so highly charged a current as with Jensen's, I would prefer to hear this version before any of those listed above. The recording is good, though the Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco has more clarity than warmth. All the same, the sound has plenty of room to expand. There is also a very good relationship between the various sections of the orchestra and a realistic back-to-front perspective.

Blomstedt gives a powerful account of the Sixth Symphony too, with plenty of intensity and an appreciation of its extraordinary vision. It is by far the most problematic and challenging of the cycle. He opts for a much faster tempo than did Jensen in his 1952 Danacord/Conifer recording--I quote Jensen simply because he is said to have had a particularly good feeling for Nielsen's tempo markings, having played under the composer, and his much broader opening proves stronger in atmosphere. There is (as I see it) an undercurrent of foreboding that escapes Blomstedt in these opening pages, as indeed it did in his mid-1970s version. Mind you, there is much more that he succeeds in penetrating the powerful nervous tension later on in the movement, and the depth in the 'Proposta seria'.

Ole Schmidt and the LSO on Unicorn-Kanchana comes as part of a three-CD set of all six symphonies, and is neither as well played nor as well recorded as this Decca newcomer. Yet Schmidt still has something special to say and opens up the world of this strange and visionary symphony with all its disturbing overtones. Yet had I never heard the Jensen or Schmidt performances, I would have few reservations about this newcomer. Blomstedt brings one into closer contact with the music than he did in his Danish performances and conveys much of its power and, in the finale, humour.

Both these new performances are recommended, though you should not miss hearing the Schmidt. Unicorn-Kanchana should reissue it separately, coupled, as it is in the complete set, with his fine account of the Fifth.
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent performance of rather dull symphonies 31 May 2014
By Joseph Kline PhD, MD - Published on Amazon.com
Herbert Blomstedt's Nielsen symphony cycle with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra has been unmatched for 25 years. That is quite an achievement for any conductor. The present disc includes the Symphonies Nos. 1 and 6. Nielsen wrote his first symphony at 27 years of age. It is a strong work on par with Bruckner's first but certainly less advanced than Mahler's. It begins as so many of his symphonies do, exploding onto the scene before the real work of development occurs. Lyrically, Nielsen demonstrated his talents very successfully in his first symphony, and this at 27! While not a symphony for the ages, it is quite charming. Harmonically, the symphony is rather conventional, an attribute that makes it readily accessible. The 4th movement is a rousing finale. Charming is an apt descriptor for each movement. The Sixth Symphony begins with several strikes of the triangle. In fact ,the triangle is used for the 2nd movement as well as the snare drum. Oddly, Nielsen's final symphony is probably his weakest by any measure.

The SFSO plays this music exceptionally well. Let's face it, the First Symphony is the more interesting. Personally, I don't find enough here to warrant a great deal of interest. Recommended for those collecting the complete symphonies.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Big Al" 16 Jan 2013
By Alan L. Saltzstein - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
The recordings are part of a fine series of the Nielsen symphonies. The Sixth is rarely heard. It is strange but quite interesting and shows the direction Nielsen might have been heading later in his career.
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