Unlike his more conventionally melodic Violin Concerto of 1911, Carl Nielsen's Flute Concerto and his Clarinet Concerto reflect his coming to terms with modernism in the 1920s, and share similar expressions of unease and instability with his Symphony No. 5 and the Symphony No. 6, "Sinfonia Semplice," which were composed in the same decade. Nielsen wrote the Flute Concerto in 1926 for Holger Gilbert-Jespersen and the Clarinet Concerto in 1928 for Aage Oxenvad, both members of the Copenhagen Wind Quintet, an ensemble Nielsen especially admired for its beautiful tone. Yet the music in each work is quite demanding, with solo parts that often play up technical difficulties over lyricism, and the orchestra provides contentious accompaniment, at times threatening to overwhelm the soloists with aggressive outbursts and sniping commentary. For this 2017 album on Signum Classics, flutist Samuel Coles and clarinetist Mark Van de Wiel are joined by Paavo Järvi and the Philharmonia Orchestra in vivid renditions of both concertos, and the exotic Aladdin Suite is provided as filler. While the sound of the recording is exceptional for a standard CD, it's unfortunate that a multichannel version wasn't issued, because the soloists are spectacular in the concertos, and the Philharmonia plays in top form, with clean separation of parts, remarkable depth, and wonderfully rich tone colors. Recommended for any newcomers to Nielsen's music.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Flute Concerto, FS 119|
|Clarinet Concerto, FS 129|
|Aladdin Suite, FS 89|