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ClassicsOnline Home » NIELSEN, C.: Symphonies Nos. 2, "The 4 Temperaments" and 3, "Sinfonia espansiva" (New York Philharmonic, Gilbert)
Symphonies Shine in new SACD
Carl Nielsen was one of the great symphonists of the 20th century, as this live recording readily demonstrates. His second symphony, The Four Temperaments features four movements, each depicting a different mood (four different modes of expression). Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic take full advantage of the score, and offer up an exciting reading that not only shows the contrasts between the movements, but highlights the overarching continuity between them.
Nielsen's Symphony No. 3 is subtitled the Sinfonia Espansiva, for good reason. Gilbert and the Philharmonic deliver on the bigness of the work, without making it sound bloated. Rather, Nielsen's music seems to just open up and build in a natural and unhurried manner.
Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic perform these symphonies in an organic fashion. Conductor and orchestra work together as one to create a unified artistic vision (not surprising, given Gilbert's strong ties to the ensemble). The lyrical passages sing, and the climaxes arrive with power and authority. These are dramatic readings, but not overly dramatic. The music is dynamic and flowing, but never overwrought.
Although you can play this on a regular CD player, I highly recommend listening to it on an SACD player. The expanded detail and presence makes the performances even more engaging. I gained new appreciation for the precision for the Philharmonic's bass section, particularly during the third symphony. And for a live recording, the sound is amazingly clean and free of audience noise.more....
Considering the precarious financial profile of so many major US orchestras as well as the consequent paucity of orchestral recordings on this side of the Atlantic, it’s a treat to have this brand new disc with the Philharmonic and their music director, Alan Gilbert.
It’s the initial entry in a projected cycle of all six of the Nielsen symphonies. The results are topnotch: keenly judged tempi, precise balances, supple phrasing and most importantly impassioned, committed playing.
The sonics are just as good: big-boned, detailed and natural. The SA incarnation is particularly effective. While there is significant competition with what is now clearly regarded by many as standard repertoire, Gilbert and the players more than hold their own.
If subsequent releases in this series are of a comparable caliber, this cycle may very well take its place among the best available versions.more....
By Jerry Dubins
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NIELSEN, C.: Symphonies Nos. 2, "The 4 Temperament...