WORKS: Symphony No. 2 (The Four Temperaments); Symphony No. 5
PERFORMER: RLPO/Douglas Bostock
CATALOGUE NO: CLASSCD 296
Both performances are use the newly published scores in the scholarly Complete Edition. In the case of the Second Symphony minor alterations and corrections Nielsen made in the orchestral parts after the printing are restored. Many of these are clearly discernible though it is in the Fifth, which Emil Telm·nyi and Erik Tuxen prepared for publication in the Fifties, that they are most evident. In the Second, Douglas Bostock is closer both in character and tempo to the pioneering Jensen set. There is a splendidly authentic feel to his performance even if Michael Schønwandt gets more cultured playing from the Danish Radio Orchestra. His is a finely paced account with plenty of breadth and nobility, and no lack of fire, which can hold its own with the best.
In the Fifth I was particularly impressed by the keenness of response Bostock gets from his players and the overall feeling of freshness. He obviously knows his Nielsen and has real feeling for it. So, of course, does Michael Schønwandt who brings a thrilling intensity and magisterial breadth to the Sinfonia espansiva. He has the advantage of the splendid Danish Orchestra whose strings have the greater bloom and depth. His Espansiva is magnificent and probably the finest since Myung-Whun Chung (BIS).
Despite the occasional rough edges, Bostock scores on sheer character while Schønwandt has the advantage of playing of great finesse, and marginally finer recording. On this showing when both cycles are complete, they will probably see off the Blomstedt set (Decca), which has for so long reigned supreme in this repertoire. Robert Layton.