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Nielsen: Symphonies Nos 2 & 3

February 11, 2013 | Format: MP3

Also available in CD Format
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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: February 11, 2013
  • Release Date: February 11, 2013
  • Label: LSO Live
  • Copyright: 2013 London Symphony Orchestra Ltd
  • Total Length: 1:06:32
  • Genres:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #397,802 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The promotional blurb reprinted by Amazon says that this CD of Nielsen's Sym. 2 and 3 completes Colin Davis's cycle with the London Sym. in concert, but it diplomatically covers the fact that the first installment was considerably better than the second. If Davis had stopped with Sym. 4 and 5, he would have added something valuable to Nielsen's discography, a recording by a famous octogenarian leading very vigorous readings with a great international orchestra. Even with the lesser readings of Sym. 1 and 6, the standards of orchestral playing and recorded sound were high, and anyway, nobody is going to win over mass audiences to Nielsen's first and last symphonies, since the former is immature and the latter full of enigmas.

I'm not sure that the blurb is right in calling Sym. 3, "Sinfonia Espansiva," Nielsen's greatest international achievement - it waited fifty years after its 1912 premiere to get a hearing in the UK. For most listeners outside Denmark, the work burst on the scene in 1965 thanks to Leonard Bernstein's inspired recording, made in Denmark with a Danish orchestra. The sudden recognition of Sym. 3, 4, and 5 carried Sym. 2 "The Four Temperaments" in their wake, but it falls sort of the composer's great breakthrough in the "Espansiva," when he found his ebullient, joyful voice and a unique if limited harmonic signature. I'm no expert in the Nielsen Second, but Davis seems to skate through it. The first movement is fairly energetic but not much more than a skillful run through. The second movement waltz is perky and briskly led, but it doesn't evoke its label of "flemmatico," just as the first movement, which is supposed to be choleric, is too mild-mannered to fit the bill.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Evan Wilson on February 23, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The first two installments of Colin Davis' Nielsen cycle have been split decisions with the 5th Symphony far superior to the 4th, and the 1st outdoing the 6th. On this disc, alas, Davis' batting average declines. Neither of these performances is anywhere near the top rank. In fact, there's a curious lack of involvement with these performances that make it sound as if Davis had lost interest in the project and was just looking to get it over with.

In the 3rd, the opening hammered chords need to create the momentum for the movement, but here they plod along. It isn't really a matter of tempo, so much as understanding where the phrases are going. Understanding Nielsen's harmonic sense helps in this regard, and throughout the series, Davis seems to slight this fact. (He's better in the 5th perhaps because it's built on larger harmonic blocks in the way Sibelius.) As a result, there is much that seems aimless here.

But, Davis' handling of tempo isn't particularly strong either. The 'pastorale' second movement of the 3rd is played extremely fast. In fact, the marking is Andante, so there is call for a quicker tempo than one usually hears, but here things fly by as if Davis wants to get to the magical passage late in the movement. That passage isn't terribly balanced and doesn't 'sound' like it should because the vocal soloists are positioned too far forward AND aren't very good or subtle.

The third movement suffers from the same flaccidness as the first, while the finale doesn't really make much effect. Davis handles the 'swimming' music well, but the powerful opening 'march' theme simply doesn't make a strong effect and its reappearance near the end doesn't cap the symphony at all.

In the 2nd, things are little better.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 22, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Sir Colin Davis, the longest-serving principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra has died at age 85 (September 25, 1927 - April 14, 2013). Davis's contribution to British musical life was nothing short of immense. From 1959 when he first conducted the orchestra, he rose to become its principal conductor in 1995 and remained in the position until 2006, when he was appointed president. For those of us who had the pleasure of being present in the concert hall when he guest conducted in the US he will long be remembered for his stately and graceful stage presence and for hi complete immersion in the music at a hand - a rather broad spectrum of composers with whom he seemed to communicate.

This recording contains the eagerly awaited recording of Symphonies 2 & 3, Sir Colin Davis completes his enlightening Nielsen symphony cycle. The first title in the series, Symphonies Nos.4 & 5, was Editor's Choice in Gramophone and Orchestral Choice of the Month in BBC Music Magazine. The second, with Symphonies 1 & 6 was awarded CD of the Week in the Sunday Times.

The information accompanying this recording states, `Nielsen's second symphony was inspired by a naïve but vivid painting representing the four temperaments of the human personality. Adopting these defining characters for each of the symphony's movements Nielsen realized a sonic depiction of emotion. His third symphony, the most openly Danish of his symphonies, portrays spaciousness, power and vitality and is considered his greatest international achievement.'
Davis conducts the London Symphony Orchestra in `The Four Temperaments' (Symphony No. 2) and the `Sinfonia Espansiva' (Symphony No.
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