CARL NIELSEN: Orchestral Music = Maskarade Overture & Handedans; Rhapsody Overture; Snefrid Suite; Helios Overture; Sel. from Hr. Oluf Han Rider; Saul and David; Willemoes; Pan and Syrinx; Cupid and the Poet – Danish Nat. Sym./ Thomas Dausgaard – Da Capo

by | Apr 14, 2007 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

CARL NIELSEN: Orchestral Music = Maskarade Overture & Handedans; Rhapsody Overture: An imaginary journey to the Faroe Islands; Snefrid Suite; Helios Overture; Sel. from Hr. Oluf Han Rider; Saul and David; Willemoes; Pan and Syrinx; Cupid and the Poet – Danish National Symphony orchestra/ Thomas Dausgaard – DaCapo Records Multichannel SACD 6.220518, 72:24 ****:

For many listener/collectors the Helios Overture on this disc may be the only Nielsen work with which they are familiar. It is a pleasure to get acquainted with a variety of the program and incidental music of the Danish composer which has not received the attention of his six symphonies and various concertos.

The theater world was central to the composer’s musical life. He was a violinist in the Royal Danish Orchestra, which was the house band for the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen. He later wrote two operas and music for a number of plays. His music fit into a definition of new or “young” Classicism which differed somewhat from the prevailing Late Romantic tenor of music in Europe at the time. It is sophisticated, playful and direct, and sounds more optimistic in general than the more Germanic-oriented works of the period. There is even a sense of humor in some of the works, such as the sounds of the cockerel strutting amongst the hens in the Maskarade Overture. The Pan and Syrinx piece is subtitled Pastoral Scene for Orchestra, and in keeping with its subject has strong airs of Debussian Impressionism, reminding one of Debussy’s Syrinx for unaccompanied flute. It also brings about an enlargement of the orchestra’s percussion palette with additional instruments.

The surround sonics are clean and precise, with a good feeling of the hall (obtained after a slight boost of the level to the surrounds). The Rhapsody Overture honoring the Faroe Islands seems to depict at the beginning a sunrise. Don’t boast the volume level of the extremely soft and slowly building orchestral fabric or you will be hammered by the climax of the work – the dynamic range is huge!

 – John Sunier

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