Carl Nielsen

Fem Klaverstykker (Five Pieces for piano), FS 10 (Op. 3)

    Description by Chris Morrison

    Nielsen's earliest piano works were unpublished: an unfinished sonata and a pair of Character Pieces, FS 3f, all dating from the 1880s. The Five Pieces, Op. 3 were his first published piano music. Three of them, Nos. 1, 3, and 4, were written during a trip to Berlin; the other two were composed back home in Copenhagen.

    Nielsen had yet to find his characteristic voice when he wrote these pieces. Probably the most useful comparison would be to Felix Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words, along with the Lyric Pieces of Grieg and like pieces by fellow Scandinavians Gade and Hartmann. Certainly the most unusual of these pieces is the "Arabeske", which Nielsen felt was his most original composition to date. It features a prefatory motto from Danish poet Jens Peter Jacobsen (1847-1885), a friend of the composer's: "Have you lost your way in the deep woods? Do you know Pan?" The music is curiously abrupt; the sudden ending might be taken as a musical evocation of Pan's mercurial character. Otherwise these pieces are attractive if comparatively ordinary; Nielsen liked the "Elf Dance" so much he reused it in his incidental music for the play Herr Oluf, han rider (FS 37).

    Parts/Movements

    1. Folk-Tune
    2. Humoreske
    3. Arabeske
    4. Mignon
    5. Elf-Dance

    Appears On

    Year Title / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    2015
    Somm
    SOMMCD 01462
    2012
    Membran / Scandinavian Classics
    233378
    2012
    Dacapo
    8206003
    2010
    EMI Classics
    2008
    Hyperion
    67591
    2008
    CPO
    CPO777 413-2
    2008
    CPO
    777413-2
    2008
    EMI Classics / Warner Classics
    5099951942
    2006
    Erato
    2006
    Virgin Classics
    349913
    2003
    Scandinavian Classics
    220540
    2003
    Virgin
    562040
    1999
    Danacord
    363364
    1999
    Dacapo
    8224095
    1998
    Classico
    205
    1997
    Naxos
    8 553574
    1996
    Paula Records
    79
    1996
    Virgin
    45129
    1994
    BIS
    167/168
    1993
    Gasparo Records
    268