Svend Nielsen

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Svend Nielsen
LABELS: Dacapo
WORKS: Carillons; Sinfonia concertante for Cello and Chamber Orchestra; Nightfall
PERFORMER: Jens Lund Madsen (cello)Aarhus Sinfonietta/Elgar Howarth
CATALOGUE NO: 8.224078
The Dane Svend Nielsen is, as the booklet notes with this new Dacapo disc are at great pains to point out, ‘a thoroughly lyrical composer’, yet his gifts for melody and orchestration are tempered by a rigorous control of structure and a careful handling of the pacing of musical events. Carillons (1995) takes as its starting point the familiar descending church-bell sequence and develops its material in a series of slowly evolving episodes whose lush, Takemitsu-like harmony slowly fades each time to the point of silence. The Sinfonia concertante (1994) similarly begins from the bare bones of music and journeys through eerie soundscapes before arriving at the lively third movement, the first time the solo cello line emerges fully from the orchestral texture. Soloist Jens Lund Madsen takes an appropriately restrained approach to this fragile music, but his tone is admirably clear and singing throughout. Nightfall (1989) inhabits a darker, more turbulent sound-world, but its central section includes moments of silence when only the conductor is left performing – the music has refined itself out of existence. The sensitive performance by the Aarhus Sinfonietta under Elgar Howarth is impeccable throughout, with a keen sense of the weight and importance of each line. This is understated, enigmatic music which greatly repays close, careful listening. David Kettle