Carl Nielsen sunget af DRs kor
28 June 2016
American Record Guide
Paul L Althouse
Nielsen wrote some 300 songs, and about 100 of them were conceived as choral works. Others, including many here, began as solo songs that were later arranged for group singing. They are very lovely pieces with folk-like simplicity; the style is conservative: even though Nielsen lived until 1931, these songs could have been written in 1830. All of the ones here are without accompaniment, and by and large they are homophonic, with little contrapuntal interest.
Five different choruses take part, ranging from professional groups to children’s choirs; most are for mixed chorus, though some are for men or women (or children) alone. All the groups are wonderful, even the children (!), though we have to acknowledge that this isn’t the toughest repertory out there. What comes through again and again is the beauty of Nielsen’s writing, heavily triadic with sparing dissonance and no hint of dark emotion. Only a few pieces - e.g. ‘Danmark, du Kornblonde Datter’ - stretch the singers.
An enjoyable release, then, of music that would be better known were it not in Danish. Extensive notes and texts in both Danish and English.