Carl Nielsen (1865-1931)

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COTW01186420151026

COTW01186420151026

Donald Macleod explores Carl Nielsen's childhood on Fyn in the aftermath of the 1864 war.

COTW01186420151026

Donald Macleod explores Carl Nielsen's childhood on Fyn in the aftermath of the 1864 war.

COTW01186420151026

COTW01186420151026

Donald Macleod explores the composer Carl Nielsen's early life in rural Denmark in the aftermath of the catastrophic 1864 war.

When the sculptor Anne-Marie Nielsen created a monument to her husband, the Danish composer Carl Nielsen, she said she had wanted to capture "the forward movement, the sense of life, the fact that nothing stands still" in his work. From his early years in the woods and fields of Fyn (Funen), to his studies and triumph as a composer in Copenhagen, and years of restless travel and touring beyond, Donald Macleod traces the evolution of a composer determined to forge his own path.

Towards the end of his life Carl Nielsen wrote his autobiography 'My childhood', which looked back at his early years on Fyn. The book focuses on the idyllic aspects of rural life, despite the fact that these were the years immediately following the 1864 war, when Denmark lost two-fifths of its land area and one third of its population. But the prevailing national mood led to a determination to "win on the inside" what had been lost on the outside. Reforms were put into effect and young talent fostered. Nielsen's musical ability took him first to Odense and then to Copenhagen, though as a child roaming the woods and fields of Fyn, he may not have been aware of how Denmark was changing. With Donald Macleod.

The Fog is Lifting ('Moderen')

Richard McNicol, flute; David Watkins, harp (members of the Athena Ensemble)

String Quartet in G minor op.13 (3rd and 4th mvts)

The Young Danish String Quartet

Wind Quintet Op.43 (2nd mvt)

Bergen Wind Quintet

Little Suite

Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra; Ulf Schirmer, conductor

Fynsk Forar (Springtime on Funen), Op. 42

Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor

Producer: Megan Jones.

COTW01186420151026

Donald Macleod explores the composer Carl Nielsen's early life in rural Denmark in the aftermath of the catastrophic 1864 war.

When the sculptor Anne-Marie Nielsen created a monument to her husband, the Danish composer Carl Nielsen, she said she had wanted to capture "the forward movement, the sense of life, the fact that nothing stands still" in his work. From his early years in the woods and fields of Fyn (Funen), to his studies and triumph as a composer in Copenhagen, and years of restless travel and touring beyond, Donald Macleod traces the evolution of a composer determined to forge his own path.

Towards the end of his life Carl Nielsen wrote his autobiography 'My childhood', which looked back at his early years on Fyn. The book focuses on the idyllic aspects of rural life, despite the fact that these were the years immediately following the 1864 war, when Denmark lost two-fifths of its land area and one third of its population. But the prevailing national mood led to a determination to "win on the inside" what had been lost on the outside. Reforms were put into effect and young talent fostered. Nielsen's musical ability took him first to Odense and then to Copenhagen, though as a child roaming the woods and fields of Fyn, he may not have been aware of how Denmark was changing. With Donald Macleod.

The Fog is Lifting ('Moderen')

Richard McNicol, flute; David Watkins, harp (members of the Athena Ensemble)

String Quartet in G minor op.13 (3rd and 4th mvts)

The Young Danish String Quartet

Wind Quintet Op.43 (2nd mvt)

Bergen Wind Quintet

Little Suite

Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra; Ulf Schirmer, conductor

Fynsk Forar (Springtime on Funen), Op. 42

Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor

Producer: Megan Jones.

COTW0220151027

COTW0220151027

Donald Macleod explores the composer's relationship with the Danish capital.

COTW0220151027

Donald Macleod explores the composer's relationship with the Danish capital.

COTW02Copenhagen20151027

COTW02Copenhagen20151027

Donald Macleod traces the course of Nielsen's relationship with the Danish capital, Copenhagen, as a student, jobbing violinist, triumphant composer and disheartened conductor

When the sculptor Anne-Marie Nielsen created a monument to her husband, the Danish composer Carl Nielsen, she said she had wanted to capture "the forward movement, the sense of life, the fact that nothing stands still" in his work. From his early years in the woods and fields of Fyn, to his life in Copenhagen, and years of restless travel and touring beyond, Donald Macleod traces the evolution of a composer determined to forge his own path.

When Nielsen arrived in Copenhagen as a student in 1884, the atmosphere in the city was sturdily optimistic. Donald Macleod traces the course of Nielsen's relationship with the Danish capital, Copenhagen, where he was at first thrilled by the opportunities and the new musical horizons it opened up to him. But over time, as conductor of the Royal Theatre Orchestra, and as a composer pushing against the German domination of music, he would experience a series of bitter disappointments, eventually finding the city stifling, and longing to escape.

COTW02Copenhagen20151027

Donald Macleod traces the course of Nielsen's relationship with the Danish capital, Copenhagen, as a student, jobbing violinist, triumphant composer and disheartened conductor

When the sculptor Anne-Marie Nielsen created a monument to her husband, the Danish composer Carl Nielsen, she said she had wanted to capture "the forward movement, the sense of life, the fact that nothing stands still" in his work. From his early years in the woods and fields of Fyn, to his life in Copenhagen, and years of restless travel and touring beyond, Donald Macleod traces the evolution of a composer determined to forge his own path.

When Nielsen arrived in Copenhagen as a student in 1884, the atmosphere in the city was sturdily optimistic. Donald Macleod traces the course of Nielsen's relationship with the Danish capital, Copenhagen, where he was at first thrilled by the opportunities and the new musical horizons it opened up to him. But over time, as conductor of the Royal Theatre Orchestra, and as a composer pushing against the German domination of music, he would experience a series of bitter disappointments, eventually finding the city stifling, and longing to escape.

COTW03A Stormy Sea20151028

COTW03A Stormy Sea20151028

The impact of marriage, separation from his wife and World War I on the composer.

COTW03A Stormy Sea20151028

The impact of marriage, separation from his wife and World War I on the composer.

COTW03A Stormy Sea20151028

COTW03A Stormy Sea20151028

Donald Macleod explores the impact that marriage, separation from his wife, and the First World War had on Carl Nielsen and his work.

When the sculptor Anne-Marie Nielsen created a monument to her husband, the Danish composer Carl Nielsen, she said she had wanted to capture "the forward movement, the sense of life, the fact that nothing stands still" in his work. From his early years in the woods and fields of Fyn during the aftermath of the catastrophic 1864 war, to his studies and triumph as a composer in Copenhagen, and years of restless travel and touring beyond, Donald Macleod traces the evolution of a composer determined to forge his own path.

Carl Nielsen and his wife, the sculptor Anne-Marie, lived with their three children in homes around Copenhagen that became bustling meeting places for artists. But the domestic scene wasn't always happy. Both parents spent increasing time away from home, as they each pursued their own successful careers. There were increasing tensions, leading to a period of his life Nielsen would describe as "a stormy sea". The world events of 1914 appalled Nielsen: "It's as if the whole world is disintegrating. What will become of it?" Through his letters it's possible to trace the evolution of his Fourth Symphony during a time of personal as well as political turmoil due to the war.

COTW03A Stormy Sea20151028

Donald Macleod explores the impact that marriage, separation from his wife, and the First World War had on Carl Nielsen and his work.

When the sculptor Anne-Marie Nielsen created a monument to her husband, the Danish composer Carl Nielsen, she said she had wanted to capture "the forward movement, the sense of life, the fact that nothing stands still" in his work. From his early years in the woods and fields of Fyn during the aftermath of the catastrophic 1864 war, to his studies and triumph as a composer in Copenhagen, and years of restless travel and touring beyond, Donald Macleod traces the evolution of a composer determined to forge his own path.

Carl Nielsen and his wife, the sculptor Anne-Marie, lived with their three children in homes around Copenhagen that became bustling meeting places for artists. But the domestic scene wasn't always happy. Both parents spent increasing time away from home, as they each pursued their own successful careers. There were increasing tensions, leading to a period of his life Nielsen would describe as "a stormy sea". The world events of 1914 appalled Nielsen: "It's as if the whole world is disintegrating. What will become of it?" Through his letters it's possible to trace the evolution of his Fourth Symphony during a time of personal as well as political turmoil due to the war.

COTW04New Patron, New Car20151029

COTW04New Patron, New Car20151029

Donald Macleod explores the composer's post-World War I life in Sweden.

COTW04New Patron, New Car20151029

Donald Macleod explores the composer's post-World War I life in Sweden.

COTW04New Patron, New Car20151029

COTW04New Patron, New Car20151029

Donald Macleod looks at the post-war period in Nielsen's life, when he found in Sweden a respect and appreciation of his music that he had never had in Copenhagen.

When the sculptor Anne-Marie Nielsen created a monument to her husband, the Danish composer Carl Nielsen, she said she had wanted to capture "the forward movement, the sense of life, the fact that nothing stands still" in his work. From his early years in the woods and fields of Fyn during the aftermath of the catastrophic 1864 war, to his studies and triumph as a composer in Copenhagen, and years of restless travel and touring beyond, Donald Macleod traces the evolution of a composer determined to forge his own path.

In the early 1920s Nielsen's patron was the industrialist CJ Michaelsen, who, as well as supporting him as he worked on a symphony, bought him a Renault motor car. The generous gift meant that the composer was soon tearing around the countryside he loved, although his skill behind the wheel left a lot to be desired. He also found backing in Sweden, where he established an exceptional rapport with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, and he would spend most of his time away from Denmark. He was reconciled with his wife Anne-Marie in 1922, on the very day he finished the manuscript of his masterpiece, the Fifth Symphony.

COTW04New Patron, New Car20151029

Donald Macleod looks at the post-war period in Nielsen's life, when he found in Sweden a respect and appreciation of his music that he had never had in Copenhagen.

When the sculptor Anne-Marie Nielsen created a monument to her husband, the Danish composer Carl Nielsen, she said she had wanted to capture "the forward movement, the sense of life, the fact that nothing stands still" in his work. From his early years in the woods and fields of Fyn during the aftermath of the catastrophic 1864 war, to his studies and triumph as a composer in Copenhagen, and years of restless travel and touring beyond, Donald Macleod traces the evolution of a composer determined to forge his own path.

In the early 1920s Nielsen's patron was the industrialist CJ Michaelsen, who, as well as supporting him as he worked on a symphony, bought him a Renault motor car. The generous gift meant that the composer was soon tearing around the countryside he loved, although his skill behind the wheel left a lot to be desired. He also found backing in Sweden, where he established an exceptional rapport with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, and he would spend most of his time away from Denmark. He was reconciled with his wife Anne-Marie in 1922, on the very day he finished the manuscript of his masterpiece, the Fifth Symphony.

COTW05Final Years20151030

COTW05Final Years20151030

Donald Macleod explores the composer's final years, lauded but dogged by ill health.

COTW05Final Years20151030

Donald Macleod explores the composer's final years, lauded but dogged by ill health.

COTW05Final Years20151030

COTW05Final Years20151030

Donald Macleod looks at Nielsen's final years, when he was lauded at last, but dogged by ill health

When the sculptor Anne-Marie Nielsen created a monument to her husband, the Danish composer Carl Nielsen, she said she had wanted to capture "the forward movement, the sense of life, the fact that nothing stands still" in his work. From his early years in the woods and fields of Fyn during the aftermath of the catastrophic 1864 war, to his studies and triumph as a composer in Copenhagen, and years of restless travel and touring beyond, Donald Macleod traces the evolution of a composer determined to forge his own path.

Nielsen was by his 60th birthday a celebrated composer, part of a distinguished artistic couple honoured by the Royal Family for their contribution to Danish culture. But despite the national celebrations and torchlight processions on his birthday, shortly afterwards Nielsen confided in an interview that if he had the chance to live his life again he would learn a useful trade, in which he could see results. The steadily deteriorating state of Nielsen's health led him slowly to withdraw from his commitments, but wrapped up in the excitement of rehearsals for a revival of his opera Maskarade in Copenhagen, he overdid things, and he died after a series of heart attacks.

COTW05Final Years20151030

Donald Macleod looks at Nielsen's final years, when he was lauded at last, but dogged by ill health

When the sculptor Anne-Marie Nielsen created a monument to her husband, the Danish composer Carl Nielsen, she said she had wanted to capture "the forward movement, the sense of life, the fact that nothing stands still" in his work. From his early years in the woods and fields of Fyn during the aftermath of the catastrophic 1864 war, to his studies and triumph as a composer in Copenhagen, and years of restless travel and touring beyond, Donald Macleod traces the evolution of a composer determined to forge his own path.

Nielsen was by his 60th birthday a celebrated composer, part of a distinguished artistic couple honoured by the Royal Family for their contribution to Danish culture. But despite the national celebrations and torchlight processions on his birthday, shortly afterwards Nielsen confided in an interview that if he had the chance to live his life again he would learn a useful trade, in which he could see results. The steadily deteriorating state of Nielsen's health led him slowly to withdraw from his commitments, but wrapped up in the excitement of rehearsals for a revival of his opera Maskarade in Copenhagen, he overdid things, and he died after a series of heart attacks.

COTW05 LASTA Flame Extinguished2011092320130426

Donald Macleod on how Nielsen's final years were marked by full recognition of his talent.

Despite ongoing health problems, in later years, Carl Nielsen remained as much of an innovator as in his youth. His Opus 45 Piano Suite shows how receptive he was to current musical trends, while one of his final compositions looks back to the sixteenth century and the music of Palestrina. Presented by Donald Macleod

COTW-20090120091102

Focusing on the recognition for both Nielsen's first symphony and his first choral work.

Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Denmark's best-known composer, Carl Nielsen.

Donald concentrates on how Nielsen met his first wife on his travels through Europe and got public recognition - for both his maiden symphony and first choral work, A Hymn to Love.

Arabesque (Five Piano Pieces)

Martin Roscoe (piano)

Hyperion CDA675912 Tr 42 or 41

Little Suite for Strings

Norwegian Chamber Orchestra

Iona Brown (conductor)

Virgin Classics VC545224-2 Trs 15-17

Song behind the Plough

Aksel Schiotz (tenor)

Danacord DACOCD 365367 CD1 Tr 4

Symphony No 1 (1st mvt)

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra

Myung-Whun Chung (conductor)

BIS-CD-454 Tr 4

Hymnus amoris

Barbara Bonney (soprano)

John Mark Ainsley (tenor)

Lars Pedersen (baritone)

Bo Anker Hansen (bass)

Danish National Radio Choir

Copenhagen Boys' Choir

Decca 452 486-2.

COTW-20090220091103
COTW-200903*20091104

Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Carl Nielsen, Denmark's best-known composer.

He focuses on Nielsen's wife Marie's pursuit of her own career as a sculptor which kept her away from home for months at a time, leaving the composer to face life-changing decisions on his own.

In spite of professional setbacks and a variety of health scares, he continued to compose and in 1906 produced Maskarade, a comic opera about the pleasures and perils of masked balls.

With highlights from Maskarade plus a complete performance of his fourth and final string quartet and part of the successful third symphony - his Sinfonia Espansiva.

Du Danske Mand

Einar Norby (baritone)

Folmer Jensen (piano)

Danacord DACOCD365-367, CD 1 Tr 20

Maskarade (excerpt)

Jeronimus....Aage Haugland (bass)

Leander....Gert-Henning Jensen (tenor)

Henrik....Bo Skovhus (baritone)

Leonard....Kurt Ravn (baritone)

Arv....Michael Kristensen (tenor)

Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra

Ulf Schirmer (conductor)

Decca 460 228/9-2, CD1 Trs 9, 10, 11

String Quartet No 4

Kontra Quartet

BIS-CD-503/4, CD2 Trs 5-8

Symphony No 3 (4th mvt)

National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland

Adrian Leaper (conductor)

Naxos 8.550825 Tr 8.

WIth Nielsen's comic opera about masked balls and his final string quartet.

COTW-200904*20091105

Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Carl Nielsen, Denmark's best-known composer.

In 1914, after his resignation as conductor at the Royal Theatre, Nielsen's conducting career wasn't going so well.

Things began to look up when he was offered work in Sweden and appointed conductor of Copenhagen's Philharmonic Orchestra.

His personal life was in crisis, too - his wife had asked for a legal separation, a situation which would last for the next eight years.

Donald introduces works from those turbulent years, including his Piano Suite, regarded as the most important music Nielsen wrote for the instrument, part of the Wind Quintet written for five friends and his most popular choral work - the folk oratorio Springtime in Funen.

Afsted!

Aksel Schiotz

Danacord DACOCD365-367 CD1 Tr 8

Suite

Martin Roscoe (piano)

Hyperion CDA67591/2, CD2 Tr 1

Wind Quintet (4th mvt)

Athena Ensemble

Chandos 10454 X Trs 1-3

Springtime in Funen

Inga Nielsen (soprano)

Peter Gronlund (tenor)

Sten Byriel (bass-baritone)

Children's Chorus of Sankt Annae Gymnasium

Leif Segerstam (conductor)

Chandos CHAN8853 Tr 3.

Donald Macleod presents works from when Nielsen's career and personal life were in crisis.

COTW-200905 LAST20091106

Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Carl Nielsen, Denmark's best-known composer.

Six years before he died in 1931, Nielsen's sixtieth birthday was declared a national holiday in Denmark.

The festivities held in his honour demonstrated the esteem with which he was held in his native land.

But disillusionment with his lack of international success clouded his final years.

Donald introduces some of Nielsen's works from those years, including his witty flute concerto, part of his final symphony and an evocation of a voyage to the Faeroe Islands.

Piano Music for Young and Old No 7

Martin Roscoe (piano)

Hyperion CDA67591-2 CD1 Tr 14

Three Pieces (No 3)

Hyperion CDA67591-2 CD2 Tr 25

A Fantasy Journey to the Faroes

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra

Neeme Jarvi (conductor)

DG 447757-2 Tr 4

Flute Concerto

Gareth Davies (flute)

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

Kees Bakels (conductor)

Naxos 8.554189 Trs 5-6

Three Motets (No 3)

Danish National Radio Chamber Choir

Stefan Parkman (conductor)

Chandos CHAN 8853 Tr 6

Symphony No 6 (4th mvt)

Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra

Jukka-Pekka Saraste (conductor)

Finlandia 3984-29714-2 Tr 8.

Donald Macleod presents some of Nielsen's works from his final years.

COTW-201101A Free Spirit2011091920130422

Donald Macleod considers the reasons behind the differing opinions of Nielsen's music.

The Danish composer Carl Nielsen stands at the helm of Scandinavian music. A master symphonist, he's widely regarded as one of the most important composers of his generation. But at the end of the nineteenth century, Nielsen's adventurous and free spirited outlook was regarded with some suspicion. In some quarters his music was deemed to be cool and academic, until his Third Symphony marked a turning point in his career, garnering praise from Nielsen's advocates and opponents alike.

Today Donald Macleod explores the reasons behind some of these differing opinions.

Donald Macleod considers the reasons behind the differing opinions of Nielsen's music.

The Danish composer Carl Nielsen stands at the helm of Scandinavian music.

A master symphonist, he's widely regarded as one of the most important composers of his generation.

But at the end of the nineteenth century, Nielsen's adventurous and free spirited outlook was regarded with some suspicion.

In some quarters his music was deemed to be cool and academic, until his Third Symphony marked a turning point in his career, garnering praise from Nielsen's advocates and opponents alike.

Today Donald Macleod explores the reasons behind some of these differing opinions.

COTW-201102An Idyllic Childhood2011092020130423

Donald Macleod explores Nielsen's childhood, fondly recalled in Springtime in Funen.

Carl Nielsen spent his childhood on the Danish island of Fünen, where he grew up in a farm labourer's cottage with his parents and eleven brothers and sisters. Although he experienced real hardship during these years, he later recalled his experiences with great affection and raised a salute to the island in his choral masterpiece, Springtime in Fünen. Presented by Donald Macleod.

Carl Nielsen spent his childhood on the Danish island of Fünen, where he grew up in a farm labourer's cottage with his parents and eleven brothers and sisters.

Although he experienced real hardship during these years, he later recalled his experiences with great affection and raised a salute to the island in his choral masterpiece, Springtime in Fünen.

Presented by Donald Macleod

COTW-201103Anne Marie2011092120130424

Donald Macleod Donald focuses on Nielsen's Hymnus amoris and his marriage to a sculptor.

"Hymnus Amoris" and marriage brought Carl Nielsen the hope that he would reach a united goal in life and love, with his young wife, the sculptor Anne Marie Brodersen.

The reality of two such dedicated artists sharing their lives proved even more challenging than his aspiration.

"Hymnus Amoris" and marriage brought Carl Nielsen the hope that he would reach a united goal in life and love, with his young wife, the sculptor Anne Marie Brodersen. The reality of two such dedicated artists sharing their lives proved even more challenging than his aspiration.

COTW-201104Nightmare At The Opera2011092220130425

Donald Macleod explores difficulties Nielsen faced, both personally and professionally.

Carl Nielsen's operas Saul og David and his comic masterpiece "Maskarade" reveal little of the difficulties facing the composer personally and professionally. After resigning from his job in the second violins of the Royal Theatre's orchestra in Copenhagen, Nielsen was faced with the immediate problem of how to support his wife and three children. With Donald Macleod.

Carl Nielsen's operas Saul og David and his comic masterpiece "Maskarade" reveal little of the difficulties facing the composer personally and professionally.

After resigning from his job in the second violins of the Royal Theatre's orchestra in Copenhagen, Nielsen was faced with the immediate problem of how to support his wife and three children.

With Donald Macleod

COTW-201105 LASTA Flame Extinguished20110923

Donald Macleod on how Nielsen's final years were marked by full recognition of his talent.

Despite ongoing health problems, in later years, Carl Nielsen remained as much of an innovator as in his youth.

His Opus 45 Piano Suite shows how receptive he was to current musical trends, while one of his final compositions looks back to the sixteenth century and the music of Palestrina.

Presented by Donald Macleod.