Carl Nielsen: Kammermusik Vol. 2
30 September 2015
We started with a piece whose opening is ‘brusque’, and here’s one that bursts into life in its initial gesture with that sudden disruptive impulse that opens other works including Saul and David and the first four symphonies. Nielsen’s First Violin Sonata of 1895 speaks of a composer discovering this new, curious, incendiary, angular, anti-lyrical and utterly energetic musical language. The insistence and Janáček-like discourtesy of the sonata’s first movement had Copenhagen critics urging Nielsen to calm down (thankfully, he ignored them). Seek out the Christina Åstrand and Per Salo recording second-hand on the internet, if you can, otherwise the recording here will do just fine. Nielsen’s Violin Sonata No 2 is more refined and celebrated, but this first little treasure seems throughout to present a miniature lesson in all that makes this composer unique.