Nielsen: Symphonies 2 and 3

Album review
Nielsen: Symphonies 2 and 3


Symphonies 2 and 3

Label: DaCapo
Media: SACD
Genre: Classical

There are now two superb New York performances of Nielsen’s glorious Third Symphony, the first being the famous Bernstein recording from 1965 that brought Nielsen renown in the U.S. The Third is a fascinating if not often performed work, still fresh after all these years—I’ll even call it timeless. There are hints of Grieg; resemblances to Mahler are probably coincidental, but both composers filled their inkwells with Nature. The first movement is a divine waltz; the third is restless but full of grandeur. Nielsen said of the last that he wished to show “the healthy morality inherent in the blessing of work. Everything progresses steadily toward the goal.” Bach is the only other composer I could imagine that statement coming from. The Second Symphony, subtitled The Four Temperaments, depicts Medieval character types. The NYP plays it persuasively; the Allegro Collerico is suitably grouchy, the Andante Malincolico gloomy but not troubling. The finale, Allegro Sanguineo, shows the Philharmonic at the top of its game— energetic and engaged. The sound in these recent live recordings is a bit low in air, but the strings sound rich and natural. 

More Info

  • composer, Nielsen
  • primary artist, New York Philharmonic
  • conductor, Alan Gilbert
  • SACD

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