From my collection.
Bought in 2012.
First listen: 4-12-2012.
Second listen: 10-2-2017.
Label: Membran, licensed from Classico.
Recording dates: August 1999 & January 2001.
Recording venue: Concert hall, Liverpool, England.
Recording engineer: Not mentioned.
Running time: 66:49.
Classical relevance: Essential.
Works performed by:
Royal Liverpool PO, Douglas Bostock.
Nicolas Cox, Clarinet.
Graham Jones, Side drum.
Both symphonies are by no means easy works to listen to or to understand. You could not call them melodious, or full with nice harmonies. Both works are tough cookies and for many hard to digest. I am a bit in the middle with this. I admire the technical skill Nielsen puts into these works, but that does not make them easily approachable for me. They are not of a cuddly nature. The music does not give you rest, it eats energy and is a sucker for constant concentrated attention. No slackening of both things is allowed. If you steer away for a moment you will loose your bearings and wander into resentment for lack of understanding the musical argument. It is well put together, but there is a pressure in it's modernity, that makes you to aware of the music, and the only points of enjoyment are those, when you hear the parts for timpani or winds, cleverly constructed to impress, but not to charm. So what I want to say is this, I miss emotional warmth. Instead I get a cold shoulder at best. In a sense I will never love them, but I like them immensely.
The recording is quite amazing, such depth and detail, even the softest tones are clearly audible.
The orchestra has a brass section that always captures my attention, for its incredibly good. As a performance this one must rank at a high place and is certainly a contender for your attention. Bostock is an versatile conductor who keeps a firm grip on what is going on. Just sample the chaos in the second movement of the fifth symphony. If you can keep the music together at that place, you count in my book as a perfect performer.
It is a pity that this box and its performances are largely ignored, which is undeserved. It is in all respects a top set, and cheap too, and it's properly licensed. So what are you waiting for?
Friday, February 10, 2017
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