Nielsen Symphonies Nos 1 and 2

Carl Nielsen’s First Symphony, written in 1891-2, burst onto the scene at its premiere two years later with the gusto that was to typify the composer’s style for his entire career. While Brahms is a clear influence structurally and in the fullness of the orchestration, the symphony conveys a Danish rusticity that is all Nielsen’s own. It is also typical in that it ends in a different key (C Major) than it begins in (G Minor); reputedly the first symphony ever to do so. In the Second (1902), subtitled “The Four Temperaments”, the composer depicts each of the four human temperaments: choleric, phlegmatic, melancholic, and sanguine.

The Seattle Symphony Orchestra recorded highly praised Dutilleux and Ives discs with their previous Musical Director Ludovic Morlot. While these new live recordings under Thomas Dausgaard are fine, they do not reach those...