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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


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Sommerregn
Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931): 3 songs: O hvor er jeg glad idag; Den spillemand spiller pä strenge; Tidt er jeg glad
Christian SINDING (1856-1941): Frühlingsrauschen, Op:32:3
Ludolf NIELSEN (1876-1939):For Vinden danser, fra Foraar, Op.15.3; Ved Solnedgang Op.47:1.3Piano pieces, Op.21: Paa Legepladsen; Polichinel: Godnat. Stemninger, Op.23: Hvide Sejl; Paa Kirkegãrden; Sommerregn. 4 Piano pieces, Op.17: La Joie, Le douleur, Menuet, Tarantelle, Alfer Smaa, som lege (fra operaen Isbella)
Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907): 8 Piano pieces, Op.12; Arietta; Vals; Vægtersang; Alfedans; Folkevise; Norsk; Albumblad; Fædrelandssang. 2 Sange, Op.5: To brune øjne; Jeg elsker Dig
Pauline Kehlet (soprano), Nicolai Kjølsen (piano)
Recorded 2002 at Focus Studio and Soundtrack Studio, Copenhagen
UK distributor Discovery Records (www.danacord.dk)
DANACORD DACOCD 605 [53.00]


In the 19th and well into the 20th centuries the European art-song was dominated by German and Austrian Lieder; Mendelssohn, Schumann, Hugo Wolf and Richard Strauss were among the many composers who followed in Schubertís footsteps. The Scandinavian countries were recognised for their attractive folk music but, though orchestral works by Grieg, Sibelius, Nielsen and others slowly gained international acceptance, with few exceptions (for example Kirsten Flagstadís thrilling recital of songs by Grieg and Sinding on a 1971 Decca LP, ECS 623) its music was seldom heard outside its native countries.

One effect of this neglect was to encourage Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Finnish composers to write salon pieces for domestic and informal music making. As this disc shows, many are far from being naïve, and have become firm favourites all over the world, for example Sindingís Frühlingsrauschen (Rustle of Spring) and Griegís shorter piano pieces.

This programme covers a period up to Sindingís death in 1941, and draws welcome attention to a Danish composer who, though famous in his own country, is now practically unknown elsewhere. Ludolf Nielsen wrote over 200 songs, many piano and orchestral works and an opera. The songs and piano pieces are charming and fairly undemanding on either singer or pianist, as are the three songs by his namesake Carl Nielsen on this record, though the latter is more strongly influenced by folk music. Schumannís romantic voice can be detected in the characteristic piano pieces, and the four in Op. 7 are similar in inspiration to the German composerís Scenes from Childhood. Griegís eight delightful piano pieces and two songs will probably be familiar to many parlour musicians., but there is an innocence and freshness about them that is fully realised by both performers. English translations of the titles and lyrics of the songs are thoughtfully provided in the insert booklet

If this pleasing record whets the listenerís appetite for more, two recent CDs of songs by Grieg [Anne Sophie von Otter/Bengt Forsberg; Deutsche Grammophon 437 521-2] and Sibelius [Katarina Karnéus/Julius Drake. Hyperion CDA 67318] have both been enthusiastically received, and could more than adequately fill the bill.

Roy Brewer

 



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