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Nielsen: Symphonies 1 & 2

Carl Nielsen , Bryden Thomson , Scottish National Orchestra Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Scottish National Orchestra
  • Conductor: Bryden Thomson
  • Composer: Carl Nielsen
  • Audio CD (October 28, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Alliance
  • ASIN: B000000ALG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,918 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Symphony No. 1 In G Minor Op. 7: Allegro orgoglioso
2. Symphony No. 1 In G Minor Op. 7: Andante
3. Symphony No. 1 In G Minor Op. 7: Allegro comodo
4. Symphony No. 1 In G Minor Op. 7: Finale: Allegro con fuoco
5. Symphony No. 2 In B Minor ': Allegro collerico
6. Symphony No. 2 In B Minor 'The Four Temperments' Op. 16: Allegro comodo e flemmatico
7. Symphony No. 2 In B Minor 'The Four Temperments' Op. 16: Andante malincolico
8. Symphony No. 2 In B Minor 'The Four Temperments' Op. 16: Allegro sanguineo - Marziale

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Nielsen from Bryden Thomson March 20, 2010
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Bryden Thomson was a somewhat uneven conductor, but when he was on, he was ON. On this disk he is surely right up there with the best. I tend to have a somewhat opposite view of the two performances from the other reviewer: I like the 1st a bit more than the 2nd. But both are strong, potent performances. I agree about the quality of the difficult-to-obtain Garaguly 2nd (LP only), and I think Thomson's 2nd isn't quite there. But his 1st, well, it's as good as they get. A great value and a great introduction to Nielsen for those of you who haven't discovered this marvelous composer's music.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stupendous June 17, 2009
Bryden Thomson had a history with Nielsen's Four Temperaments, having performed it on a radio broadcast with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales that has been released on CD. His performance with the Royal Scottish National is tremendous. It conveys immense authority and is played with exceptional discipline. The highlight is probably the slow, or melancholic, movement, which proceeds with an almost unbearable tension. The outer movements have great thrust and momentum. By comparison, the performance of the First Symphony is a bit of a letdown. It certainly is very good, and the wonderful finale is executed with brio, but it just doesn't have the authority of the Second. The sound engineering throughout the CD is excellent, full and well balanced while conveying the real impact of the orchestral sound. The only recordings I can place in the neighborhood of Thomson's Second are LPs by Ole Schmidt and Carl Garaguly.
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Among Nielsen symphony cycles, Bryden Thomson's stands out as one with a distinctive personality and swagger. These interpretations crackle with excitement, drama, and bite, every note played with urgency and feeling by the Royal Scottish Orchestra, stunningly recorded. This is tough, heroic, electrifying Nielsen, conducted by an interpreter with something interesting to say on each work, who was also not afraid to delve into the darkest corners of Nielsen. These are, I believe, the most intense recordings of these symphonies you will hear.

This CD features the First and the Second, which were recorded two years before the rest of the cycle, when I feel that Thomson and the orchestra really hit their stride. That said, the First is good, if fast. I prefer Previn, Rozhdestvensky, and Blomstedt/Danish on the First. The Second is also on the slightly quick side (the first movement), but overall easily as good as any other version available. Schonwandt offers more warmth, and more centrist take on this work. Paavo Berglund's recording is a fine cerebral reading, and a live recording by Stokowski is a classic.

If you cannot find or afford Thomson's complete Nielsen cycle, certainly snap up these CDs of the individual symphonies before they disappear.
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