Thursday, June 9, 2016

Happy 151st Birthday Carl Nielsen! The Complete Symphonies: (3 CDs) London Symphony Orchestra, Ole Schmidt - Regis (re-re-issue of classic Unicorn-Kanchana)

I just checked to see how many Nielsen discs I have shared on here and I am almost astonished to see that I have only posted ONE all-Nielsen disc, and then Nielsen appears on a couple compilations. And that's it. As he's one of my favorite composers I am almost ashamed - almost - I do after all have quite a healthy Nielsen collection and, I know Nielsen himself would approve of that. Pretty sure he would be really flattered as well. All in all I think the great symphonist would want to be my pal. Ok maybe not, but he is indeed one of many many figures that I wish I could have met in this lifetime. I'd put the Great Dane (or Great Dean of Danish music) near the top of the list. 

This was the first recording cycle of all six symphonies (1974) and it is still one of the finest around. The original Unicorn LP was issued later on cd by Unicorn, but the sound is even better on this Regis disc as it has been marginally cleaned up. Ole Schmidt is spot-on throughout, and his take on Symphony No. 4 ("Inextinguishable") and Symphony No. 6 ("Sinfonia semplice") in particular are candidates for best recorded versions around I think. I have many other favorite accounts, including (but not limited to) Bryden Thomson on Chandos, Gennady Rozhdestvensky also on Chandos, Herbert Blomstedt on Decca, and Michael Schønwandt on Dacapo being my next top picks. Actually, I will add Adrian Leaper's accounts with the NSO of Ireland from the mid-1990s on Naxos too; I used to play those versions all the time and they are quite fine - and I need to locate them now that I'm thinking of it! 

One of the original Unicorn LPs

Complete symphony cycle gets its premiere - this is one of two diff. covers

(I confess that it's now half past midnight - but still I stand behind this Bday post's authenticity ;)

Gramophone had this to say about the cycle:

'The Inextinguishable' and No.5 are amongst the best-paced on record, No. 4 preferable to Karajan on DG... devastating account of Sinfonia Semplice (No. 6) is surely Schmidt's greatest achievement... No-one should jump to conclusions about this symphony before having heard the burning intensity Ole Schmidt brings to it. --Gramophone

Enjoy all!

Disc 1

Disc 2

Disc 3


Fourcade said...

Thanks a lot for this chance to catch up
on a version I've been searching for ages!
Cheers Daniel, from Spain...

La Danse de Puck said...

As a complete cycle, just about the best ever!! Many thanks and best wishes from Buenos Aires, Argentina!!

Tzadik said...

Hey Daniel, I am happy to know that I was able to help out :)

Be well, and feel free to comment anytime ;) it's appreciated 'round here



Tzadik said...

La Danse de Puck I am happy that you agree :-D You are quite welcome, please enjoy the posts and feel free to say hello when you can!



Paul Terry said...

Hello, Tzadik!
I have been in a monk-like existence for a while, but I'm back and am, as always, impressed with the high quality of your blog, thanks for this. I have been meaning to dip into Nielsen for some time. This looks like just the place to start.
Thanks again, bud!

Tzadik said...

Hi there Paul, it is really nice to hear from you my friend.

I happen to know that existence rather well, at least in the solitary sense (Never is there a state of ease or tranquility in the mix I'm afraid). Thank you for your kind words, and I hope you are and have been enjoying the Nielsen!



Laura S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura S. said...

Hey all! I stumbled across a Unicorn Records print of the complete symphonies though am unable to findo any information on it. Do you all know anything about the Unicorn pressings?

Laura =)