Carl Nielsen

Tre Klaverstykker (Three Pieces for piano), FS 131 (Op. 59)

    Description by Chris Morrison

    Although the best of Nielsen's piano works are among the finest ever produced in Scandinavia, he wrote only sporadically for the instrument. Nearly nine years separate the suite Das Luciferiske of 1921 from the present Three Pieces, the first two of which were given their premieres in April 1928; the third was completed in November of the same year. Nielsen's music had taken a dark, adventurous turn in this period, and these piano pieces share much with the contemporaneous Symphony No. 6 and Clarinet Concerto.

    The Op. 59 pieces are definitely of their time; one can hear clear echoes of Bartók, the Impressionism of Debussy, and even the early twelve-tone works of Arnold Schoenberg. After an Impressionistic opening, the first piece moves to more abrupt and dissonant material. Nielsen's own imagery describing the closing pages cleverly captures the mood: "Think of a tipsy fellow trying to keep his dignity and upright position by holding on to a lamp-post!" The grandiose opening of the Adagio leads to tender and haunting music, with sudden outbursts that have an almost Beethoven-like ring to them. A tough-minded, forceful Allegro non troppo, parts of which are probably the closest to atonality that Nielsen ever got, brings this rich and emotionally complex set to a close.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Impromptu
    2. Molto adagio
    3. Allegro non troppo

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Steinway & Sons STNS 30100
    2017 Dacapo 82012020000
    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
    2007 Summit Records 483
    2006 Erato
    2006 Virgin Classics 349913
    2003 Scandinavian Classics 220540
    2003 Virgin 562040
    2000 Dacapo / Marco Polo 8224080
    2000 Cedille Records 5002
    1999 Danacord 363364
    1999 Dacapo 8224095
    1998 Classico 205
    1998 Naxos 8 553653
    1996 Paula Records 80
    1996 Virgin 45129
    1996 Cedille Records 27
    1994 BIS 167/168
    1993 Gasparo Records 268
    Victoria 19074