THE CARL NIELSEN CD-ROM
CARL NIELSEN - The Man and
the Music (Mennesket og Musikken) A multi-media reference
about the composer, Carl Nielsen and his music - in words, pictures, sound
Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT 4.0 only (does not e.g. work with 3.1
Editor-in-Chief: Knud Ketting
Co-production: Danish Music Information centre, The Royal Library, The Carl
Nielsen Museum, Museum Odense, Orfeus, Edition Wilhelm Hansen
AM Production Multimedia K/S CD-ROM ISBN 87-986907-0-1
Price UK: £24.95 plus postage £1.00 UK Price USA: $39.95 plus postage
$2-3.00 depending on where in USA
Executive Summary: a handsomely presented and entertainingly informative
in-depth multi-media presentation on the music and life of the Danish composer
Carl Nielsen. This disc is a pleasure to use and is extremely intuitive to
operate. Recommended both for the casual music enthusiast and for the scholar.
The latter is well served both within the materials on the CD and also by
the research references/bibliography list.
I discovered Nielsen's music through the Fourth Symphony (a DGG Heliodor
LP Markevich?) and the Violin Concerto (Menuhin). The muscular melodies and
clarity of the concerto impressed me more than the dense sound of the symphony
despite the symphony' memorable title Inextinguishable. Later I heard
both the fourth and fifth symphonies in concert. The fifth is easily my favourite
and was indelibly printed on my mind by two performances: Berglund and the
Bournemouth SO live at the Colston Hall in Bristol and a radio tape I once
had and played repeatedly (Netherlands Radio PO/Henk Spruit).
I knew also the First and Second Symphonies from CBS LPs and Helios
(on that Heliodor LP?). Later I bought the gigantic Blomstedt box coupling
all the concertos, symphonies and quite a few of the orchestral 'oddments'.
Sibelius and Nielsen together built and cemented my fascination with Scandinavian
Forgive this personal introduction as a prelude to considering this new CD-ROM.
The disc is presented, not in the usual CD jewel case but in a book style
plastic case which you 'click' to open or close. The case will sit elegantly
and comfortably on your bookshelf amongst other slim volumes. The case has
a paper insert (sealed in) which, in subdued tones, carries a portrait of
Nielsen and his signature blazoned prominently across the background.
The screen design is, as I say, rather sober and many will warm to this.
Neon lights and animations are hardly Nielsen's style. However the text is
legible and buttons to navigate are always on-screen. All the usual facilities
Inside the plastic case is the single CD and a booklet which in Danish and
English gives the installation instructions and maps out the structure of
The booklet introduces Nielsen (though anyone who has bought the disc is
likely to know more than the basics anyway) and sets out the salient details
of his reputation.
His biography is given in detail via 115 soberly attractive screens deployed
across eight chapters. Each screen is free-standing yet sequential screens
can be viewed to follow the story of his life.
There are many photographs and other illlustrations. These make for an extremely
attractive user experience.
The music is dealt with exhaustively. Analyses varying from the highly technical
to the more colourfully subjective tackle 57 of his works. Amongst the nine
contributors appears Gramophone contributor David Fanning.
The works are catalogued under a revised and cleaned up Dan Fog and Torben
Schousboe list. The FS numbers have been suitably updated and the latest
(March 1998) Nielsen scholarship reflected in the end-product. Full details
of editions, arrangements, premieres, scoring, MSS location etc are given.
There is a bibliography organised by language and subdivided into books,
correspondence, essays, newspaper articles, interviews, lectures, speeches
and programme notes. The discography gives full details of all issues of
a particular recording and spans the years 1903-1998. There are also circa
250 pictures and 65 brief audio samples. Four video clips are also given.
The text is full searchable and may be copied into your Windows word processor.
Hyperlinks make casual browsing and pursuit of themes an easy and pleasurable
The written instructions are easy to follow.
The disc is filled to the maximum at 623Mb.
What about the technicalities? I ran my copy on a 3 year old 150Mhz pentium
with 48Mb RAM. According to the booklet it will run on a 486 DX2/66Mhz though
it prefers a 100Mhz Pentium.
It needs an SVGA graphics card with 1Mb RAM and certified for use with Windows
95 and Direct X. The monitor must be able to handle 800x600. To get the sound
you need a 16 bit card. 8Mb RAM is the minimum plus a 4x speed (or better)
CD-ROM and a minimum of 130Mb of free hard disc space. In these days of standard
hard drives of 10Gb hard drives this may not be a problem. However not everyone
has these and while some may have upgraded older machines to meet the other
requirements in years gone by there may well be quite a few people who may
be struggling to free up so much space to run the CD and continue use of
the machine for other purposes. You can however run the reference off the
CD but it will slow down access to the materials on the disc.
There is a brief troubleshooting section in the booklet.
Now I have hopes of similar CD-ROMs for Martinu, Bax and Sibelius. Alternatively
how about a CD-ROM celebrating the lives of the many British composers who
made up the British Musical Renaissance from say 1850-2000? I want it
to be truly encyclopaedic covering the major figures (Elgar, Britten, RVW,
Bax, Tippett) and the 'minor' ones (Foulds, Gibbs, Brian, Holbrooke, Moeran,
Stanley Wilson etc etc).
Music Sales Ltd. Sales & Distribution Centre Newmarket Road, Bury
St. Edmunds Suffolk IP33 3YB United Kingdom Pnce: £24.95 + postage
(£1.00 in UK)
Credit card orders by phone are possible
Shawnee Press, Inc. 49 Waring Drive Delaware Water Gap PA 18327
Price: $39.95 + postage ($2-3 depending on shipping location)
Credit card orders by phone are possible