A maverick streak
Nielsen at his best,
with BASIL RAMSEY
Somehow I wasted years in not familiarising myself with the music of
Nielsen, and when I did irritation with myself for the delay set in. This
CD covers a wide span, from the violin concerto in 1911, flute concerto
in 1926, and clarinet concerto in 1928. Nielsen had a multiplicity of ideas,
which one would expect of any composer worthy of the name. Despite that,
in listening I invariably feel that his thematic ideas shine with an extra
gloss, whereas many composers spin their music out of a mere splinter.
Nielsen's Violin Concerto fits the showy style of the 19th
century without the paucity of invention that so easily threatens a blend
of music and pyrotechnics. It is fascinating to discover that Nielsen composed
it in the cabin near Bergen first used by Grieg. The idyllic setting probably
gave both composers motivation for their music.
Written for a friend, Aage Oxenvade, Nielsen's clarinet concerto
has qualities suggested by the clarinet's dual ability for romantic
lingerings and extremes of hypnotic chatter. Nielsen trapped and partnered
these characteristics in a multi-sectioned work exhuding a powerful charisma.
I still regard this work amongst the best of Nielsen.
The flute concerto has its own qualities of lyricism plus an assertive
trombone clowning when least expected, which is a rough-and-tumble gesture
in total contrast to the soloist's brilliant flight. I don't know
another flute concerto quite so welcoming as this. There's a maverick
streak lurking in the background.
These performances are exceptionally lively, and true to the spirit of
Nielsen as I understand it. A budget label treat for us all.
Copyright © 10 January 2001
Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK
CD INFORMATION - NAXOS 8.554189
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