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Complete Symphonies Box set


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Audio CD, Box set, July 16, 2002
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Product Details

  • Performer: Inger Dam-Jensen, Poul Elming
  • Orchestra: Danmarks Radiosymfoniorkester
  • Conductor: Michael Schønwandt
  • Composer: Carl Nielsen
  • Audio CD (July 16, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Alliance
  • Run Time: 215 minutes
  • ASIN: B00006463K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #725,946 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Allegro Espansivo
2. Andante Pastorale
3. Allegretto Un Poco
4. Finale: Allegro
5. Allegro Collerico
6. Allegro Comodo E Flemmatico
See all 8 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Allegro Orgoglioso
2. Andante
3. Allegro Comodo - Andante Sostenuto - Tempo I
4. Finale: Allegro Con Fuoco
5. Tempo Giusto
6. Humoresque - Allegretto
See all 8 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Allegro
2. Poco Allegretto (8 Bars After Tempo Marking)
3. Poco Adagio Quasi Andante
4. Con Anima - Allegro
5. I Tempo Giusto -
6. Adagio
See all 10 tracks on this disc

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By L. Johan on August 16, 2004
Here we have one of the finest Nielsen symphony cycles that ever have appeared on record: Michael Schönwandt is conducting Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. So what we hear is a Danish orchestra conducted by a Danish conductor familiar with Nielsen's music. The orchestral playing is not in the same stylish class as, say, San Francisco SO for Blomstedt, but the Danes play this music with an unmatched passion and integrity. Moreover, the recording quality is outstanding, with all frequencies in natural balance, and the departments of the orchestra are spaciously positioned.

The set is very even, musically and sonically, but I appreciate the takes of the second and sixth symphonies most of all.

Prospective buyers should however consider Ole Schmidt's bargain set on Regis as the first choice, which boasts fine recordings of legendary interpretations.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hegelian on January 20, 2009
When I first listened to this set, I was not enthusiastic. But after several re-hearings, I now appreciate how good these thoughtful and detailed performances are. Tempos are on the slow side, which suits the careful shaping that makes these symphonies sound different. I would still pick the well-played Bloomstedt/San Francisco performances as a first choice, but if you love these symphonies and want a new take on them, this is it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Firebrand on October 6, 2013
4.5 stars

The 1999-2001 Nielsen symphony cycle by Michael Schonwandt and the Danish is one of the most consistently good full Nielsen set recorded. Consistency and clarity are the big strengths of this set. Schonwandt's approach is well-judged, satisfying, and approachable. He brings out lyricism and warmth better than most, and a full, rounded sound is very appealing.

With the exception of the First symphony that is perhaps a bit quick, Schonwandt's tempos are ideal: not too fast, not slow. Contrary to the views of some, Schonwandt's tempos are emphatically not "slower than usual". By comparison, Blomstedt (with the exception of his First and Second symphonies with the Danish Radio) is hyper-fast, blowing by the details and nuances that Schonwandt more often nails.

In terms of complete cycles, the sets of Bryden Thomson, Ole Schmidt, Paavo Berglund are stronger and more idiomatic compared to Schonwandt's more measured takes, but Schonwandt's warmer, more polished centrist approach may appeal to many. Even next to great recordings by the previously mentioned, plus Horenstein (the Third and Fifth), Bernstein, Stokowski (the Second), Previn's First, and the grand versions by Rozhdestvensky, Schonwandt is competitive. This set is superior to those of Blomstedt/SF, Vanska, Gilbert, etc. which are (with the exception of the Fifth) of the "runaway train" variety. His strongest performances come with the Second, where Schonwandt's lyricism is evident, and in an outstanding Fifth that gets everything right. The waltz rhythm in the Third (a clumsy affair for many interpreters), is handled smoothly, tastefully, retaining the melodic line better than most. The Fourth is an example of both plus and minus, smooth but lacking fire, the wicked bite of Thomson and Schmidt.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jsa on May 24, 2012
Verified Purchase
My first exposure to Nielsen was through Jascha Horenstein's recording of the Fifth Symphony, an LP that was issued on the Nonesuch label in the early 1970's; and that was the beginning and end of it. I loved that record, but I never went beyond it until about a year ago when I acquired Theodore Kuchar's much-admired Nielsen cycle (Nielsen: Symphonies (Complete)), which I found somewhat disappointing. Since I wasn't sure whether it was the music or the interpretations, I decided to purchase the Schonwandt set to get a different perspective. I'm glad I did, for I found that my disappointment was a response to music that isn't equally inspired as well as to differences in interpretative approaches.

As is the case with many composers, Nielsen's early works are uneven: the First symphony, not surprisingly given its early opus number, was written while the composer was still finding his voice; and neither Schonwandt nor Kuchar can convince me that the Second is a great piece of music. The Third symphony is a substantial and appealing work, full of good ideas; and the differences between the approaches of the two conductors becomes material. Schonwandt's account is magical and nuanced whereas Kuchar's is much more straightforward, with less mystery and flavor to it. The same can be said of the Fourth. Kuchar is extroverted whereas the Danish conductor seems more intuitive and charismatic, projecting a wonderful sense of atmosphere. Kuchar's aggressiveness, however, really pays off in the Fifth Symphony which demands raw energy, if not outright savagery, not the more relaxed posture that Schonwandt brings to it.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Long-time listener on May 14, 2009
This is a consistently good set of readings, yet I cannot feel that any of the individual performances are equal to the best by other conductors. The 5th is somewhat slow in tempo and lacking forward movement and tension, and a burble by a horn player at a critical moment in the second movement should have been edited out. Having said that, the conductor does well with the later movements, sustaining forward movement and drama as well as anyone. Likewise, his 1st is good, and is an accessible introduction to the work, but simply not the best; the same can be said of his 4th, in which the tempos are well chosen but the performance isn't managed with the same degree of fire and drama that others find in it. So all in all, a cycle with consistently good performances, but Blomstedt, and especially Rozhdestvensky, would really be first choices for a complete set. (Along with the BIS set that mixes performances by Chung and Jarvi.)
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