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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    



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Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931)
Aladdin, Op. 34 - Fairy Tale drama in five acts to words by Adam Oehlenschläger [79:36]
 Mette Ejsing (contralto); Guido Paevatalu (baritone)
Danish National Chamber Choir (DR)
Danish National Symphony Orchestra (DR)/Gennady Rozhdestvensky
rec. Danish Radio Concert Hall, Copenhagen, 7-9 May 1992. DDD
 CHANDOS CHAN10498X [79:36]
Experience Classicsonline

This is a budget reissue of a full price disc first issued by Chandos on CHAN 9135 in 1993. Nowhere else are you going to be able to hear the complete music for Aladdin. You may well have heard suites from the sequence but rather like Delius's music for Hassan and Sibelius's for The Tempest there is a great deal more magic and enchantment to be found in the full sequence than can be tracked down in the edited highlights offered by concert suites.
 
There are 31 tracks here and the Arabian Nights tale which prompted the commission can be followed through Sussie Grevsen's notes. The ever-flamboyant Rozhdestvensky - what a life-enhancing conductor he is! - takes delight in the heavy brocade of the Oriental Festival March (tr. 11). If there is a suspicion of sluggishness in this all worries are banished by the superbly pointed whirling Blackamoors' Dance. A beautiful square in Isfahan recalls the dancing lightness of Hovhaness (tr. 6). There are some luminously pacific moments in this scoring including the Love Scene (tr. 9) which evokes the warm streams of the moments of repose in the Fourth Symphony. Prisoner's Dance with its black trombones draws on the precedent of the inky trombones and tuba in Rimsky's Scheherazade. One of the most beautiful episodes is Gulnare's song, here taken by Mette Ejsing with a simple harp accompaniment. In tracks 26 and 27 we hear elemental forces at work. Fatime's song at tr 28 has the rise and fall of Nielsen's many Danish folksongs rather than any suggestion of the Orient. The score was commissioned in 1917 for a prestige production in Copenhagen in the 1918-19 season.
 
And yes that's the same Oehlenschläger whose words inspired Busoni in the last movement - with chorus - of his Piano Concerto.
 
This is a score packed deep with characteristic touches and no out and out Nielsen enthusiast can be without it.
 
Rob Barnett
 
Detailed tracklist
Prologue 3:13

Act I 11:08
 
Flute solo 0:55 Franz Lemsser flute 
Funeral procession 0:47 
Andante - Allegretto - Andantino espressivo 4:34 Bo Anker Hansen bass 
Adagio - Tempo di marcia - Allegro non troppo - 4:53

Act II 8:36 
A beautiful square in Isfahan 3:03 
Distant festival music 1:59 
Genie of the Lamp 1:19 
I Gulnare and Aladdin (love scene) 2:15

Act III 29:58
 
Genie of the Lamp 1:16 
Oriental festival march 3:15 
Andante 3:28 
March 1:22 
Chinese dance 3:39 
Prisoners' dance 4:14 
Hindu dance 2:46 
Blackamoors' dance 5:07 
Dance and chorus 4:48

Act IV 12:33 
Gulnare's song 2:45 
Poco adagio 1:08 
Genie of the Lamp 0:58 
Aladdin's dream - Dance of the morning mists 2:58 
Andantino maestoso 0:54 
Aladdin visiting his mother's grave 2:32 
Andante maestoso 1:18

Act V 13:46
 
Andante 2:06 
Andante con moto 1:02 
Fatime's song 2:55 
The messenger and the ghost 1:47 
The Struggle between Hindbad and Aladdin 4:12 
Eulogy 1:41




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