Carl Nielsen sunget af DRs kor
09 June 2016
James A. Altena
While most of us are likely familiar with Carl Nielsen through his symphonies, concertos, and the celebrated Wind Quintet, he composed an astonishingly large number of songs—almost 300—of which about 100 are for various types of choirs. Many are pitched at a level accessible to amateur ensembles, being appealing monophonic melodies with straightforward piano accompaniments, though as their popularity spread in Denmark, Nielsen recast a number of them in polyphonic versions. The present disc presents a selection of 25 of those choral songs for various ensembles - men, women, children, and various mixtures - in likewise varied versions. Many are well known and much beloved in Denmark, but all are surely unfamiliar elsewhere, and surprises abound. (Who would have suspected that Nielsen penned an alternative tune for the lyrics of the Danish national anthem?)
These brief pieces (all less than five minutes long, most shorter than three) are not to be confused with the larger scale choral works by Nielsen available on several other CDs issued on various labels; it would seem that many of these songs are receiving here either premiere recordings, or else premieres in these versions. The performances by all concerned are superbly done - obviously labors of love - and uniformly well recorded. Complete Danish texts and English translations are provided, supplemented by informative booklet notes. This is simply a delight, and would make an excellent little gift to slip into the stocking hung over the mantelpiece at the year end holidays for the music-loving friend who thinks he (or she) already has everything. Enthusiastically recommended.