Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Nielsen's Fifth

I finished listening to the Nielsen fifth today.
It was written in 1922.
It is written for strings(violin, violas, cellos and contrabasses),3 flutes, 2 piccolos, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets(B Flat Major and A major),2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 french horns(F Major),3 trumpets(B Flat Major),3 trombones,tuba, pair of timpani,cymbals,snare drum,triangle,tambourine and celesta.
This symphony was influenced by the traumatic effects of post first world war in Denmark. It depicts a great battle etween the forces of order and chaos. A snare drummer takes the symbolic chaos trip and keeps interrupting the orchestra playing ad lib and out of time with the intention of destruction. It is to Nielsen's credit that he makes him almost blend in with the universe without sounding ugly. The rest of the orchestra keeps fighting back in six sections of the symphony while the drummer struggles on and he eventually fades with the glorious conclusion as order prevails over chaos.
I have heard Michael Schonwandt conduct the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra today. The sound is rich and effective; good interpretation, I am also attaching a good conclusion of the symphony by Blomstedt and San Francisco. My favourite remains Jascha Horenstein with the New Philharmonia Orchestra of London on Nonesuch Records with the beautiful Saga Drom that I hold as Nielsen's greatest composition.

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