Nielson

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Nielson
LABELS: Naxos
ALBUM TITLE: Aladdin Suite
WORKS: Aladdin Suite, Op. 34; Helios Overture, Op. 17; Saga-Dream, Op. 39; Pan and Syrinx, Op. 49; Maskarade; Cupid and the Poet, Op. 54
PERFORMER: Scouth Jutland SO/Niklás Willén
CATALOGUE NO: 8.557164
The programme is lovely, and it would be good to be able to recommend it to anyone who’s keen to explore beyond the symphonies and concertos. Unfortunately the performances only hover around the adequate. Relatively familiar items like the Maskerade Overture and the ‘Negro Dance’ and ‘Marketplace in Isphahan’ from Aladdin come over best: there’s some spirit and affection in the playing here. But the magnificent Helios Overture fails to achieve lift-off in the central Allegro, and the slow outer sections are a long way short of magical. Nielsen may not have been ideally pragmatic when he marked the opening horn figures ppp, but still there ought to be more distinction between those and the later forte big tune. Cupid and the Poet and Saga-Dream are similarly short on atmosphere and lyrical warmth – and where’s the humour? The recordings are clear enough but dull-toned, and the strings tone can sound a bit desiccated. Stephen Johnson

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