Thomas Dausgaard / Seattle Symphony Orchestra

Nielsen: Symphony No. 3 Sinfonia Espansiva; Symphony No. 4 The Inextinguishable

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With this 2017 release on the Seattle Symphony label, Thomas Dausgaard presents his first recordings of symphonies by Carl Nielsen, the Symphony No. 3, "Sinfonia Espansiva," and the Symphony No. 4, "The Inextinguishable." (DaCapo's 2011 set of Nielsen's works included performances conducted by Dausgaard, who led the Danish National Symphony Orchestra in several popular orchestral pieces, but the six symphonies were conducted by Michael Schønwandt.) As a Danish conductor, Dausgaard has undoubtedly felt an obligation to record Nielsen's symphonies, and their increasing acceptance by orchestras and audiences around the world has secured their place as modern classics. The Symphony No. 3, "Sinfonia Espansiva" gets its nickname from the first movement's tempo marking, Allegro espansivo, though the symphony itself is tightly structured, rather dense in material, and compact in duration, running around 37 minutes. The work's claim to fame is the wordless vocal duet in the Andante pastorale between a soprano and a baritone, a unique feature that gives the second movement a mysterious, ecstatic feeling. Nielsen's most frequently recorded piece, the Symphony No. 4, "The Inextinguishable," is an affirmation of life, the propulsive force that Nielsen felt inspired the work's direction and growth. The symphony's heroic, even combative, character is alleviated by episodes of pastoral calm, thought the famous duel in the finale between opposing timpanists is climactic and one of Nielsen's most memorable passages. The Seattle Symphony plays with a robust ensemble sound, and the live recordings are clean and virtually free of background noise.

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