Carl Nielsen
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1865-06-09
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/1be1367d-119f-4b08-bdfe-50b95043e544
Carl Nielsen Carl Nielsen Carl Nielsen Carl Nielsen

Biography

Carl August Nielsen was born on the Danish island of Funen on 9 June 1865, the seventh of 12 children. Though desperately poor in material terms, Nielsen grew up enjoying the love and support of his family, a shared joy ...

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Biography

Carl August Nielsen was born on the Danish island of Funen on 9 June 1865, the seventh of 12 children. Though desperately poor in material terms, Nielsen grew up enjoying the love and support of his family, a shared joy in communal music-making (his house-painter father was also a musician in the village band) and an intense appreciation of the wonders of the natural world.

Nielsen initially learned the violin from his father and, in his teens, played in various local bands and orchestras. His earliest compositions date from around this time. In 1884, after four years as a military bandsman in Odense, and with the help of local benefactors, Nielsen was able to attend Copenhagen Conservatory. There he received instruction in musical theory from Orla Rosenhoff, who encouraged Nielsen’s growing interest in composition. In 1888, the 23-year-old enjoyed his first success with his Little Suite for strings, Op. 1. During the following year, Nielsen became a violinist at the Royal Danish Orchestra, a post he was to hold for some 16 years.

This period coincides with the first flush of Nielsen’s compositional maturity, taking in his two operas, the biblical epic Saul and David (1898–1901) and the comic Maskarade (1904–06), as well as the first two symphonies (1890–92 and 1901–2). The unusually deep psychological characterisation displayed in the operas extends to the Second Symphony, a musical response to a collection of folk paintings depicting the four classical temperaments. The climax of this period is undoubtedly the magnificent Third Symphony, ‘Sinfonia espansiva’ (1910–11), which consolidated Nielsen’s position as the most important Danish composer of his time.

From around the time of the First World War, Nielsen’s musical language took on a darker hue. A sense of intense struggle against inimical forces pervades such masterpieces as the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Symphonies (1914–16, 1921–2, 1924–5).These works are notable for their bold use of what is sometimes called ‘progressive tonality’, where the ultimate key of the work evolves through a process of sustained conflict against other keys. For example, the Fourth Symphony (‘The Inextinguishable’) begins in D minor, a key associated with violence and chaos, which gradually yields to the key of E major, whose appearance is always attended by music of radiant splendour.

Despite the huge intellectual scope of these works, Nielsen never lost touch with his roots and with the people he loved. Throughout his career he continually composed and arranged popular Danish songs and in 1927, four years before his death, he wrote a memoir, My Childhood. Filled with sharp observation and unaffected compassion, yet without any trace of sentimentality, this little book reveals in words the essential human qualities that characterise his music.

Profile © John Pickard

Clips (11)


Tracks

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Martin Fröst, Carl Nielsen, Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra & Herbert Blomstedt
Clarinet Concerto op57
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Clarinet Concerto op57 Clarinet Concerto op57 Clarinet Concerto op57 Clarinet Concerto op57
Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Carl Nielsen & Ari Rasilainen
Overture to Maskarade
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Overture to Maskarade Overture to Maskarade Overture to Maskarade Overture to Maskarade
Björn Fosdal, Bjørn Carl Nielsen, Carl Nielsen, Niels Thomsen, James Galway & Jens Tofte-Hansen
Quintet for wind (Op.43), 2nd movement; Menuet
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Quintet for wind (Op.43), 2nd movement; Menuet Quintet for wind (Op.43), 2nd movement; Menuet Quintet for wind (Op.43), 2nd movement; Menuet Quintet for wind (Op.43), 2nd movement; Menuet
Carl Nielsen, Ditte Højgaard Andersen, Denise Beck, Stephen Milling, Christian Damsgaard-Madsen, Johan Reuter, Michael Schønwandt, Anne Margrethe Dahl, Simon Duus, Niels Jorgen Riis, Guido Paevatalu, DR SymfoniOrkestret, Steffen Bruun, Stig Fogh Andersen, DR SymfoniOrkestret & Kristian Boland
Maskerade - Act 3
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Maskerade - Act 3 Maskerade - Act 3 Maskerade - Act 3 Maskerade - Act 3

Maskerade - Act 3

Performer
Ditte Højgaard Andersen
Denise Beck
Singer
Stephen Milling
Christian Damsgaard-Madsen
Johan Reuter
Anne Margrethe Dahl
Simon Duus
Niels Jorgen Riis
Guido Paevatalu
Steffen Bruun
Stig Fogh Andersen
Kristian Boland
Carl Nielsen, Baiba Skride & Lauma Skride
Sonata no. 2 Op.35 for violin and piano
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Sonata no. 2 Op.35 for violin and piano Sonata no. 2 Op.35 for violin and piano Sonata no. 2 Op.35 for violin and piano Sonata no. 2 Op.35 for violin and piano
Athena Ensemble & Carl Nielsen
Serenata in vano FS.68
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Serenata in vano FS.68 Serenata in vano FS.68 Serenata in vano FS.68 Serenata in vano FS.68
Carl Nielsen, Göteborgs Symfoniker & Neeme Järvi
Helios, Overture
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Helios, Overture Helios, Overture Helios, Overture Helios, Overture
Carl Nielsen
The Wind Quintet op. 43
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The Wind Quintet op. 43 The Wind Quintet op. 43 The Wind Quintet op. 43 The Wind Quintet op. 43
Carl Nielsen, The Philadelphia Orchestra & Eugene Ormandy
Helios Overture, Op.17
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Helios Overture, Op.17 Helios Overture, Op.17 Helios Overture, Op.17 Helios Overture, Op.17
Carl Nielsen, BBC Philharmonic & John Storgårds
Symphony No.3 'Sinfonia espansiva'
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Symphony No.3 'Sinfonia espansiva' Symphony No.3 'Sinfonia espansiva' Symphony No.3 'Sinfonia espansiva' Symphony No.3 'Sinfonia espansiva'
Carl Nielsen, BBC Philharmonic & John Storgårds
Symphony No. 6 'Sinfonia semplice'
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Symphony No. 6 'Sinfonia semplice' Symphony No. 6 'Sinfonia semplice' Symphony No. 6 'Sinfonia semplice' Symphony No. 6 'Sinfonia semplice'
Carl Nielsen, DR SymfoniOrkestret & Thomas Dausgaard
Saul og David - Act 2; Prelude
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Saul og David - Act 2; Prelude Saul og David - Act 2; Prelude Saul og David - Act 2; Prelude Saul og David - Act 2; Prelude
Carl Nielsen, DR SymfoniOrkestret & Thomas Dausgaard
An Imaginary journey to the Faroes - rhapsodic overture (FS.123)
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An Imaginary journey to the Faroes - rhapsodic overture (FS.123) An Imaginary journey to the Faroes - rhapsodic overture (FS.123) An Imaginary journey to the Faroes - rhapsodic overture (FS.123) An Imaginary journey to the Faroes - rhapsodic overture (FS.123)
Carl Nielsen, BBC National Orchestra of Wales & Thomas Søndergård
Symphony No. 5
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Symphony No. 5 Symphony No. 5 Symphony No. 5 Symphony No. 5
Carl Nielsen, Stephen Milling, Johan Reuter, Michael Schønwandt, Anne Margrethe Dahl, Dénise Beck, Guido Paevatalu, DR SymfoniOrkestret, Niels-Jørgen Riis, Ditte Højgaard Andersen & DR SymfoniOrkestret
Maskarade - Opera In 3 Acts Fs.39 (Act 3 Studenter! Studenter!)
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Maskarade - Opera In 3 Acts Fs.39 (Act 3 Studenter! Studenter!) Maskarade - Opera In 3 Acts Fs.39 (Act 3 Studenter! Studenter!) Maskarade - Opera In 3 Acts Fs.39 (Act 3 Studenter! Studenter!) Maskarade - Opera In 3 Acts Fs.39 (Act 3 Studenter! Studenter!)

Maskarade - Opera In 3 Acts Fs.39 (Act 3 Studenter! Studenter!)

Singer
Stephen Milling
Johan Reuter
Anne Margrethe Dahl
Dénise Beck
Guido Paevatalu
Niels-Jørgen Riis
Ditte Højgaard Andersen
Last played on
Carl Nielsen, Nikolaj Znaider, Alan Gilbert & New York Philharmonic
Concerto Op.33 For Violin And Orchestra (i. Prelude)
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Concerto Op.33 For Violin And Orchestra (i. Prelude) Concerto Op.33 For Violin And Orchestra (i. Prelude) Concerto Op.33 For Violin And Orchestra (i. Prelude) Concerto Op.33 For Violin And Orchestra (i. Prelude)
Carl Nielsen, BBC Philharmonic & John Storgårds
Symphony No. 6 Fs.116 (Sinfonia Semplice) (iv. Tema med Var. - end)
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Symphony No. 6 Fs.116 (Sinfonia Semplice) (iv. Tema med Var. - end) Symphony No. 6 Fs.116 (Sinfonia Semplice) (iv. Tema med Var. - end) Symphony No. 6 Fs.116 (Sinfonia Semplice) (iv. Tema med Var. - end) Symphony No. 6 Fs.116 (Sinfonia Semplice) (iv. Tema med Var. - end)
Carl Nielsen, BBC Philharmonic & John Storgårds
Symphony No. 1 In G Minor Op.7 [fs.16] (i. Allegro)
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Symphony No. 1 In G Minor Op.7 [fs.16] (i. Allegro) Symphony No. 1 In G Minor Op.7 [fs.16] (i. Allegro) Symphony No. 1 In G Minor Op.7 [fs.16] (i. Allegro) Symphony No. 1 In G Minor Op.7 [fs.16] (i. Allegro)
Anders Kilström, Carl Nielsen & Mattias Ermedahl
Irmelin Rose, from 5 Songs to poems of Jacobsen, Op.4, No.4 (1891)
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Irmelin Rose, from 5 Songs to poems of Jacobsen, Op.4, No.4 (1891) Irmelin Rose, from 5 Songs to poems of Jacobsen, Op.4, No.4 (1891) Irmelin Rose, from 5 Songs to poems of Jacobsen, Op.4, No.4 (1891) Irmelin Rose, from 5 Songs to poems of Jacobsen, Op.4, No.4 (1891)

Irmelin Rose, from 5 Songs to poems of Jacobsen, Op.4, No.4 (1891)

Singer
Mattias Ermedahl
Anders Kilström, Carl Nielsen & Mattias Ermedahl
I seraillets have (In the Seraglio garden), from 5 Songs to poems of Jacobsen
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I seraillets have (In the Seraglio garden), from 5 Songs to poems of Jacobsen I seraillets have (In the Seraglio garden), from 5 Songs to poems of Jacobsen I seraillets have (In the Seraglio garden), from 5 Songs to poems of Jacobsen I seraillets have (In the Seraglio garden), from 5 Songs to poems of Jacobsen

I seraillets have (In the Seraglio garden), from 5 Songs to poems of Jacobsen

Singer
Mattias Ermedahl
Anders Kilström, Carl Nielsen & Mattias Ermedahl
Der dukker af disen (Out of the Mist Emerges My Native Soil) (1917)
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Der dukker af disen (Out of the Mist Emerges My Native Soil) (1917) Der dukker af disen (Out of the Mist Emerges My Native Soil) (1917) Der dukker af disen (Out of the Mist Emerges My Native Soil) (1917) Der dukker af disen (Out of the Mist Emerges My Native Soil) (1917)

Der dukker af disen (Out of the Mist Emerges My Native Soil) (1917)

Singer
Mattias Ermedahl
Carl Nielsen, BBC National Orchestra of Wales & Thomas Søndergård
Symphony No.5, (Op.50)
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Symphony No.5, (Op.50) Symphony No.5, (Op.50) Symphony No.5, (Op.50) Symphony No.5, (Op.50)
Carl Nielsen, Sakari Oramo & BBC Symphony Orchestra
Symphony No. 4 'the inextinguishable'
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Symphony No. 4 'the inextinguishable' Symphony No. 4 'the inextinguishable' Symphony No. 4 'the inextinguishable' Symphony No. 4 'the inextinguishable'
Carl Nielsen & BBC Philharmonic
Symphony No.1
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Symphony No.1 Symphony No.1 Symphony No.1 Symphony No.1
Danish String Quartet, Carl Nielsen & Lise Berthaud
Quintet for Strings (op. posth.) 60
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Quintet for Strings (op. posth.) 60 Quintet for Strings (op. posth.) 60 Quintet for Strings (op. posth.) 60 Quintet for Strings (op. posth.) 60
Carl Nielsen, Göteborgs Symfoniker & Neeme Järvi
Maskarade - Act 3; Dance of the cockerels (Hanedansen)
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Maskarade - Act 3; Dance of the cockerels (Hanedansen) Maskarade - Act 3; Dance of the cockerels (Hanedansen) Maskarade - Act 3; Dance of the cockerels (Hanedansen) Maskarade - Act 3; Dance of the cockerels (Hanedansen)
Carl Nielsen, Göteborgs Symfoniker & Myung-Whun Chung
Symphony No. 3 'Espansiva' Op. 27
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Symphony No. 3 'Espansiva' Op. 27 Symphony No. 3 'Espansiva' Op. 27 Symphony No. 3 'Espansiva' Op. 27 Symphony No. 3 'Espansiva' Op. 27
Carl Nielsen, San Francisco Symphony & Herbert Blomstedt
Aladdin: Oriental Festive March
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Aladdin: Oriental Festive March Aladdin: Oriental Festive March Aladdin: Oriental Festive March Aladdin: Oriental Festive March
Phillip Moll, Carl Nielsen & James Galway
Two Fantasy Pieces, Op 2
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Two Fantasy Pieces, Op 2 Two Fantasy Pieces, Op 2 Two Fantasy Pieces, Op 2 Two Fantasy Pieces, Op 2
Carl Nielsen, Ars Nova Copenhagen & Michael Bojesen
Det Er Et Yndigt Land For Voice And Piano
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Det Er Et Yndigt Land For Voice And Piano Det Er Et Yndigt Land For Voice And Piano Det Er Et Yndigt Land For Voice And Piano Det Er Et Yndigt Land For Voice And Piano
Carl Nielsen, Jan Philip Schulze & Johan Reuter
Strophic Songs Fs.42, Op.21 For Voice And Piano (John the Roadman)
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Strophic Songs Fs.42, Op.21 For Voice And Piano (John the Roadman) Strophic Songs Fs.42, Op.21 For Voice And Piano (John the Roadman) Strophic Songs Fs.42, Op.21 For Voice And Piano (John the Roadman) Strophic Songs Fs.42, Op.21 For Voice And Piano (John the Roadman)
Carl Nielsen, DR SymfoniOrkestret & Thomas Dausgaard
Maskarade - Overture
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Maskarade - Overture Maskarade - Overture Maskarade - Overture Maskarade - Overture
Anders Kilstrom & Carl Nielsen
Chaconne for piano (Op.32)
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Chaconne for piano (Op.32) Chaconne for piano (Op.32) Chaconne for piano (Op.32) Chaconne for piano (Op.32)
Carl Nielsen, Danish Royal Opera Orchestra, Johan Reuter, Niels Jørgen Riis & Michael Schønwandt
Saul and David Acts I and II
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Saul and David Acts I and II Saul and David Acts I and II Saul and David Acts I and II Saul and David Acts I and II
Carl Nielsen, Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic & Kristjan Järvi
Overture to Maskerade
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Overture to Maskerade Overture to Maskerade Overture to Maskerade Overture to Maskerade
Emmanuel Pahud, Carl Nielsen, János Fürst & Stadtorchester Winterthur
Flute Concerto (1926) (Allegro moderato; Allegretto)
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Flute Concerto (1926) (Allegro moderato; Allegretto) Flute Concerto (1926) (Allegro moderato; Allegretto) Flute Concerto (1926) (Allegro moderato; Allegretto) Flute Concerto (1926) (Allegro moderato; Allegretto)

Flute Concerto (1926) (Allegro moderato; Allegretto)

Conductor
Orchestra
Stadtorchester Winterthur
Carl Nielsen, CBC Radio Orchestra & Mario Bernardi
Little suite for string orchestra (Op.1) in A minor
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Little suite for string orchestra (Op.1) in A minor Little suite for string orchestra (Op.1) in A minor Little suite for string orchestra (Op.1) in A minor Little suite for string orchestra (Op.1) in A minor
Carl Nielsen, DR SymfoniOrkestret & Thomas Dausgaard
Helios - overture (Op.17)
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Helios - overture (Op.17) Helios - overture (Op.17) Helios - overture (Op.17) Helios - overture (Op.17)
Carl Nielsen, San Francisco Symphony & Herbert Blomstedt
Maskerade Overture
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Maskerade Overture Maskerade Overture Maskerade Overture Maskerade Overture
Carl Nielsen, Bo Holten & Musica Ficta
En Snes Danske viser [A score of Danish songs] - vol.2 FS.78 [with Thomas Laub]
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En Snes Danske viser [A score of Danish songs] - vol.2 FS.78 [with Thomas Laub] En Snes Danske viser [A score of Danish songs] - vol.2 FS.78 [with Thomas Laub] En Snes Danske viser [A score of Danish songs] - vol.2 FS.78 [with Thomas Laub] En Snes Danske viser [A score of Danish songs] - vol.2 FS.78 [with Thomas Laub]

En Snes Danske viser [A score of Danish songs] - vol.2 FS.78 [with Thomas Laub]

Performer
Bo Holten
Musica Ficta
Last played on
Carl Nielsen, Kammerensemble de Paris & Jean-Claude Bouveresse
Humoreske-Bagateller
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Humoreske-Bagateller Humoreske-Bagateller Humoreske-Bagateller Humoreske-Bagateller
Fionian Chamber Choir, Alice Granum, Dyrst, Falck & Carl Nielsen
Himlen morkner stor og grum (The sky is vast and grim)
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Himlen morkner stor og grum (The sky is vast and grim) Himlen morkner stor og grum (The sky is vast and grim) Himlen morkner stor og grum (The sky is vast and grim) Himlen morkner stor og grum (The sky is vast and grim)

Himlen morkner stor og grum (The sky is vast and grim)

Director
Alice Granum
Author
Falck
Choir
Fionian Chamber Choir
Music Arranger
Dyrst
Carl [1865-1931] Nielsen & Den Unge Danske Strykekvartet
Allegro molto (Finale) from String Quintet in G (1888)
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Allegro molto (Finale) from String Quintet in G (1888) Allegro molto (Finale) from String Quintet in G (1888) Allegro molto (Finale) from String Quintet in G (1888) Allegro molto (Finale) from String Quintet in G (1888)

Allegro molto (Finale) from String Quintet in G (1888)

Composer
Carl [1865-1931] Nielsen
Last played on
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