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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931)
Symphony No. 1 (1893)
Symphony No. 5 (1922)
Helios Overture (1904)
Danish State Radio SO/Thomas Jensen
Danish State Radio SO/Erik Tuxen.
Mono ADD
Rec Concert Hall, Danish State Radio, 14-15 June 1952 (Sym 1); 7 Apr 1954 (Sym 5); 8 June 1952 (Helios)
DUTTON LABORATORIES CDLXT2502 [78.36]


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These three works are from venerable Decca LXTs of the early 1950s: 1952, 1954 and 1953 respectively. Dutton’s Cedarised sound derived from the Decca originals is very healthy. It is without glare. I recall these recordings from Decca LP budget Eclipse series in the early 1970s when the sound (occasionally in faked stereo!) was meagre in the extreme. Dutton have banished such parsimony.

The symphonies are conducted by Jensen; the overture by Tuxen. These recordings are as close as we can get to an ‘authentic’ tradition in so far as that phrase has any useful meaning. Jensen (a cellist) was an orchestral musician in orchestras conducted by Nielsen so could lay some claim to authority. Frankly though, such debate is empty of significance in the face of the reeling commitment of these performances. Jensen's recording is of analytical clarity and Dutton faithfully capitalise on this without compromising warmth.

The First Symphony reverberates with the voices of Dvorak and Brahms. Jensen keeps things in virile motion and is sensitive to the emergent individuality of Nielsen's voice. As for the Fifth this stands as a reference version. Only the accident of the coincidence of monophonic history and the time and inclination of Decca, Danish Radio and Jensen prevent this recording being first choice. Certainly anyone who is already captivated by Nielsen and perhaps has one of the other symphonic cycles will want this as a supplement. The sound is as good as it could be given the dates and circumstances of the recording sessions.

Robert Layton's notes and Dutton's discriminating decision to use reproductions of the original LP sleeves complete a catalogue-significant issue.


Rob Barnett


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