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Nielsen: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5 (LSO/Davis) [Hybrid SACD]

London Symphony Orchestra , Carl Nielsen , Colin Davis Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: £10.90 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Nielsen: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5 (LSO/Davis) + Nielsen: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3 (LSO/Colin Davis) + Nielsen: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 6
Price For All Three: £29.17

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Product details

  • Conductor: Colin Davis
  • Composer: Carl Nielsen
  • Audio CD (10 Jan 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD
  • Label: LSO Live
  • ASIN: B004DKDO3I
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 108,185 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Symphony No. 4 - London Symphony Orchestra
2. Symphony No. 5 - London Symphony Orchestra

Product Description


At last! Nielsen s two best-known symphonies in modern performances with real fire in their belly...Inspiring. --Gramophone, Feb 2011

Davis s Fifth is even finer than his Fourth, and his taut grasp on the dramatic pulse of this music is magisterial. It bodes well for the rest of the cycle. --Hugh Canning , Sunday Times CLASSICAL CD OF THE WEEK *****

**** ½ Davis is equally attuned to the quiet dignity of the Sixth as to the joyful noise of the Fifth, making his recording an evocative study in contrasts. This is a lovely performance, with especially alert playing from the LSO in the dancing Allegro molto... I m happy with the sound, as I am with Davis s bold conception and execution of the scores --Audiophile Audition (US)

Album Choice of the Year --HiFi News

Classical Albums of 2011 the great British maestro brings the expansiveness and rigour of his celebrated Sibelius to two of the Danish composer s most frequently heard symphonies --The Sunday 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

Classical Albums of 2011 the great British maestro brings the expansiveness and rigour of his celebrated Sibelius to two of the Danish composer s most frequently heard symphonies --The Sunday Times (UK)

Product Description

LSO 0694; LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA - Inghilterra; Classica Orchestrale

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular playing and sound! 20 Jan 2012
Format:Audio CD
I love this recording. The LSO are completely unified in this interpretation of Nielsen's 4th and 5th Symphonies and the sound quality is incredible - especially when you listen to the SACD layer with surround sound speakers! Keep up the good work LSO!
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four: so-so. Five: hello! 17 Jan 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Let me start by saying that, as mentioned already in one or two comments to this recording, the old proverb about old dogs and new tricks is found wanting once again. At the tender age of 83 Sir Colin Davis has taken on a Herculian task performing and recording the six symphonies by Carl Nielsen for the first time, and, so far, he has acquitted himself with dignity - though honour may still be in the offing.

A Dane myself I have about thirty years' experience with these works performed by conductors of many nationalities. Up until Bernstein's legendary performance of the "Espansiva"-symphony in connection with his accepting the Sonning Award of 1965, Nielsen's symphonies were almost exclusively the playing ground of Danish conductors; not so anymore. Especially the popular third and fourth symphonies have by now found their ways to the furthest corners of the globe, and very deservedly so.

The fourth symphony is not an easily accessible work. Originally an ardent nationalist Nielsen finished the composition during the last throes of WWI, and the music clearly reflects his horror at the increasingly barbaric excesses of soldiers on both sides. He later likened nationalism to "syphilis of the brain", a condition that, though often acquired under happy circumstances, leads to a combination of megalomania and gradual general paralysis - so perhaps not an altogether inappropriate comparison. As for Sir Colin's approach I can't say I'm entirely happy. The fourth IS an aggressive and abrasive affair and a certain amount of brutality is, indisputably, in its place; it is not supposed to carry the day, though.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nielson:Symphonies Nos, 4 &5 22 April 2011
Format:Audio CD
I have many recording of this work but this is the best. Symphony no 4 is an fantastic creation...holds its own in the entire symphonic repertoire and in Nielsen's symphonic output.Anyone new to this work may not like it at first but with repeated listening will reward the listener more and more ...always remember what Nielsen was trying to write about.Erik Sharp
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15 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK, but... 11 Jan 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Sorry, I find this a bit of a disappointment. Maybe, as a Nielsen-lover who has oft bemoaned the lack of the Danish master's symphonies on SACD, my expectations were just a bit too high?

If I were to sum this up in one line, it would go something like `decent performances, in typically one-dimensional LSO Live/Barbican sound.'

Live performances and listening in the home are - of course - very different experiences. Had I heard these readings live, I would probably have been more enthusiastic. For repeated home listening, and in the context of available alternative readings, however, they do not stack up so well.

Both these symphonies are explicit musical depictions of the struggle between good and evil or, if you prefer, the life force and war/destruction. They require great control and nuance to project both forces with equal vigour. It's relatively easy to get the dynamic and loud stuff to work, but conveying charm and simplicity in the same reading is much more elusive.

For me, these readings under-characterise these more tranquil moments. They tend to sound a bit rushed and perfunctory to my ears. Hear, for example II of the Inextinguishable (No 4). Where is its naïve simplicity and intense Danish folk character and flavour?

This lack of flexibility, light and shade in the readings of both symphonies prevents me from rating them higher. They sound like good symphonies in these performances. But they sound truly great when performed by Blomstedt (earlier set, with the Danish RSO) or Karajan (for No 4) or Horenstein (5).

I should note here that the playing (live) is marvellous throughout, but we wouldn't really expect otherwise from this fine orchestra.
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9 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Valiant efforts, but rather disappointing 30 Jan 2011
Format:Audio CD
I looked forward to Sir Colin's foray into Nielsen territority with great anticipation. After all, for many years he's been widely acknowledged as one of the very best Sibelians of his generation.

I went to The Barbican and heard these two performances "live". While there's not a lot wrong with the LSO's playing, the Barbican sound as recorded is not ideal: it's clear enough, not particularly warm, and lacks expansiveness. I'd say it's better to have been there for the concerts than hear the CD.

The performances I found rather effortful and rather too "interpreted", almost as if Sir Colin was a bit too determined to get his points across, rather than just letting the players play and the music flow and evolve. I enjoyed both performances, but they're both some way short of the best ones available on disc. Blomstedt (Decca) is a very sure guide and is well recorded. Schonwandt (now at bargain price on Naxos) is under-rated as a Nielsen conductor and the Danish orchestra play very well indeed for him, while the recording is very natural. Thomas Jensen (Decca - now available on Australian Eloquence) is unsurpassed in Symphony No. 5 in my view, and the fact that the recording is in Decca's best 1950's mono sound shouldn't put you off. The late Bryden Thomson recorded both symphonies for Chandos and I'm always surprised how well they are played and recorded whenever I pop them on - though I think they are separately coupled and quite hard to obtain now.
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