Nielsen: Songs for choir
07 July 2015
American Record Guide
Carl Nielsen came of age in the Danish countryside, surrounded by the music of his country’s folk tradition. As a composer, he crafted nearly 300 songs; many of them reflecting the uncomplicated, rustic fare he had grown up with. The 20 selections here are strophic until strophic screams for mercy; numerous stanzas with the very same tunes, the very same harmonies, and the very same rhythms coming back every blessed time. Nielsen’s subject matter includes the joy of spring, the power of song, the blossoming of Easter, freedom, true love, the plowing of fields, a pensive Simon Peter, and Denmark’s enduring connection to the sea.
The warm, amiable sound of the small chamber group is aptly attuned to his music. As nice as everything is, though, I think you would need an extra-musical agenda to be truly excited by this offering—a soft spot for Nielsen, for example, or a passion for all things Danish, or a keen interest in the Scandinavian choral tradition. If these describe your tastes, don’t hesitate to seek this out.