Nielsen Symphonies 4,5 (2011)

Nielsen

London Symphony Orchestra

Sir Colin Davis

Denmark remained neutral throughout the international upheaval of the 1914–18 War; but its citizens have always been acutely sensitive to the activities of its large and powerful neighbour to the south. For Carl Nielsen there was an added dimension of philosophical crisis. It may be hard to believe now, but many European artists initially welcomed the prospect of war: here was a grand opportunity for ‘spiritual cleansing’, and a celebration of the traditional masculine virtues of courage, loyalty and devotion to one’s country. Before the hostilities Nielsen had been an enthusiastic nationalist. But as he began to realise the horrors men could inflict on each other for Kaiser – or King – and Country, his faith was rocked to the core. Nationalism, he wrote not long after the war, had been transformed into a ‘spiritual syphilis’, the justification for the expression of ‘senseless hate’. Nielsen’s faith in humanity may have suffered a setback, but rather than give in to despair he felt strongly driven to make some kind of affirmative statement: belief, if not in human beings (still less in nationhood), then perhaps in life itself. This is an important clue to the meaning of the title of the Fourth Symphony (1914–16). Nielsen added an explanatory note at the beginning of the score. ‘Under this title’, he tells us, ‘the composer has tried to indicate in one word what music alone is capable of expressing to the full: The elemental Will of Life. Music is life, and like it, inextinguishable’.

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London Symphony Orchestra

The LSO was formed in 1904 as London’s first self-governing orchestra and has been resident orchestra at the Barbican since 1982. Valery Gergiev became Principal Conductor in 2007 following in the footsteps of Hans Richter, Sir Edward Elgar, Sir Thomas Beecham, André Previn, Claudio Abbado and Michael Tilson Thomas, among others. Sir Colin Davis had previously held the position since 1995 and from 2007 became the LSO’s first President since Leonard Bernstein. The Orchestra gives numerous concerts around the world each year, plus more performances in London than any other orchestra. It is the world’s most recorded symphony orchestra and has appeared on some of the greatest classical recordings and film soundtracks. The LSO also runs LSO Discovery, its ground-breaking education programme that is dedicated to introducing the finest music to young and old alike and lets everyone learn more from the Orchestra’s players. For more information visit lso.co.uk

Sir Colin Davis

Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra from 1995, and then President from 2006 until his death in 2013, Sir Colin Davis performed regularly with the LSO at the Barbican and on tour. As well as featuring on many LSO Live recordings, helping to provide the label with significant profile in its early days, he also recorded widely with Philips, BMG and Erato. His LSO Live releases have won numerous prizes, including Grammy and Gramophone Awards, and a BBC Music Magazine Award (2007), and have covered, among others, repertoire by Berlioz, Dvo?.k, Elgar, Haydn, MacMillan, Sibelius, Tippett, and Verdi. Sir Colin was formerly Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (1967–71), became the Music Director of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1971, and was Principal Guest Conductor of the New York Philharmonic from 1998 to 2003. Other orchestras he held prominent positions with include the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchetra, the Dresden Staatskapelle, and the English Chamber Orchestra.

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Nielsen Symphonies 4,5 (2011)

Nielsen

London Symphony Orchestra

    The Guardian

The playing and recording are both exemplary.

    Sunday Times

Davis's Fifth is even finer than his Fourth, and his taut grasp on the pulse of this music is magisterial.

    Hi-Fi News

The LSO is on top form throughout in one of the more successful Barbican recordings – the all-important timpani parts are ideally incisive.

    ClassicalCDReview.com

Cracking energy marks both performances, particularly the Inextinguishable which is given a virtuoso fast-paced reading of immense power. The two sets of timpani in the finale are beautifully recorded.

    American Record Guide

(Davis's) 4th is thrilling ... his strings are excellent, as is the rest of the orchestra ... Davis is able to balance the moments of ferocity with the moments of peace'

    The Sunday Times

The great British maestro brings the expansiveness and rigour of his celebrated Sibelius to two of the Danish composer’s most frequently heard symphonies.

Nielsen Symphonies 4,5 (2011)

Nielsen

London Symphony Orchestra

Mastering Engineer: Classic Sound Ltd. Jonathan Stokes, Neil Hutchinson
Producer: James Mallinson
Recording Engineer: Classic Sound Ltd. Neil Hutchinson, Jonathan Stokes
Recording location: Barbican, London
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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LSO0694: Nielsen Symphonies 4,5
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Tracks.
1.
Symphony no. 4 - Allegro
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2.
Symphony no. 4 - Poco allegretto
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3.
Symphony no. 4 - Poco adagio quasi andante
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4.
Symphony no. 4 - Allegro
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5.
Symphony no. 5 - Tempo giusto
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6.
Symphony no. 5 - Adagio
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7.
Symphony no. 5 - Allegro, Presto, Andante poco tranquillo, Allegro
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