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Nielsen: Overture 'Helios'

One of the most evocative sunrises in music.

Nielsen wrote Helios during an extended stay in Greece in 1903. His wife, a sculptor, was studying ancient Greek art and Nielsen, taking a break from his job as a professional orchestral violinist, was for once able to concentrate purely on composition. In Athens, the Conservatoire of Music lent him a room overlooking the Acropolis and it was there, during March and April, that he composed Helios.

The Danish composer was inspired by watching the sun rise over the Aegean Sea. “My overture describes the movement of the sun through the heavens from morning to evening, but it is only called Helios and no explanation is necessary.”


13 minutes


Role Contributor
Performer Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Performer Fabio Luisi