Nielsen: Symphony No. 1; Symphony No. 6 (Sinfonia semplice); Overture and Prelude to Act II of ‘Maskarade’

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COMPOSERS: Nielsen
LABELS: Sony Essential Classics
WORKS: Symphony No. 1; Symphony No. 6 (Sinfonia semplice); Overture and Prelude to Act II of ‘Maskarade’
PERFORMER: Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy
CATALOGUE NO: SBK 63040 ADD 1966/67
Ormandy tackled Nielsen at a time when strings had problems forging a clear path through the thicket of notes found in late works like the Sixth Symphony. Engineering, too, couldn’t always cope with such dynamic extremes. What remains impressive is this conductor’s sense of a single line, most notable in the early First Symphony’s Andante (which can easily lose its way) and across the hectic flushes unleashed in the Sixth’s finale. How astonishing, incidentally, to find the annotator believing in the avowed simplicity of this often devastating work, especially as Ormandy leaves us in no doubt when chaos threatens. David Nice

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