Nielsen: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3 / Gilbert, New York Philharmonic

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"I’m sure that Nielsen’s time is coming, and I’m looking forward to sharing this wonderful music with the audience." - Alan Gilbert 2011 = "Mr....

"I’m sure that Nielsen’s time is coming, and I’m looking forward to sharing this wonderful music with the audience." - Alan Gilbert 2011 = "Mr. Gilbert drew colorful, glittering and full-bodied playing from the musicians." - The New York Times, concert review of Nielsen's Symphony No. 3, June 2012 = “Music is life, and like it inextinguishable,” said the Danish composer Carl Nielsen (1865-1931). With indomitable courage and infinite curiosity Nielsen developed into one of the 20th century’s greatest symphonists, after being raised in the Danish countryside as the son of a poor folk musician. With this new series of recordings, Nielsen crosses the Atlantic as the New York Philharmonic and their Music Director Alan Gilbert shed new light on the composer's uniquely Nordic symphonic sound. = ABOUT THE NIELSEN PROJECT = This is the first volume of the new recording series of Denmark's national composer Carl Nielsen's complete symphonies and concertos by The New York Philharmonic and their chief conductor Alan Gilbert. All works are recorded live during the New York Philharmonic's concert series in Avery Fisher Hall which has already impressed critics and audiences alike.


As already suggested, Gilbert’s interpretations take no prisoners, and frankly that is just what Nielsen needs. The Allegro collerico opening of “The Four Temperaments” is really ferocious, the finale almost giddy. And yet, Gilbert’s tempos in the Andante pastorale of the “Espansiva”, or the Andante malincolico of the “Temperaments”, are also perfectly judged, sensitive, and expressive. The former, especially, reveals a combination of tranquility and flow unique in the work’s discography. The string playing is particularly beautiful here, and the Philharmonic’s woodwinds, solo oboe especially, do themselves proud in music that often relies on their artistry and character. Gilbert also very convincingly paces the tricky finale of the same work, with its hymn-like main theme that still has to sound “allegro”.

Dacapo, of course, already has an excellent Nielsen cycle—indeed, the reference edition—in its catalog, featuring Michael Schønwandt and the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (also available on Naxos). So the question must be whether or not this newcomer is distinctive enough to warrant the duplication, and the answer is a definite “yes”. Gilbert reveals a genuine affinity for the music, and Nielsen’s athleticism suits the orchestra very well indeed. If this series keeps up as it has begun, it’s going to be stupendous.


Product Description:

  • Release Date: September 25, 2012

  • UPC: 747313162369

  • Catalog Number: 6220623

  • Label: Dacapo

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Period: 20th Century

  • Composer: Carl Nielsen

  • Conductor: Alan Gilbert

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: New York Philharmonic

  • Performer: Erin Morley, Joshua Hopkins


  1. Symphony No. 3, Op. 27, FS 60, "Sinfonia espansiva"

    Composer: Carl Nielsen

    Ensemble: New York Philharmonic

    Performer: Erin Morley (Soprano), Joshua Hopkins (Baritone)

    Conductor: Alan Gilbert

  2. Symphony No. 2, Op. 16, FS 29, "The 4 Temperaments"

    Composer: Carl Nielsen

    Ensemble: New York Philharmonic

    Conductor: Alan Gilbert