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Symphony No.2

Nielsen Carl , Morton Gould Audio CD

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1. Symphony No 2, Op. 16 "The Four Temperaments"; Allegro collerico- Morton Gould
2. Symphony No 2, Op. 16 "The Four Temperaments"; Andante comodo e flammatico- Morton Gould
3. Symphony No 2, Op. 16 "The Four Temperaments"; Andante malincolico- Morton Gould
4. Symphony No 2, Op. 16 "The Four Temperaments"; Allegro sanguineo- Morton Gould
5. Symphony No. 4, Op. 29 "The Inextinguishable"; Allegro- Jean Martinon
6. Symphony No. 4, Op. 29 "The Inextinguishable"; Poco allegretto- Jean Martinon
7. Symphony No. 4, Op. 29 "The Inextinguishable"; Poco adagio quasi andante- Jean Martinon
8. Symphony No. 4, Op. 29 "The Inextinguishable"; Allegro- Jean Martinon
9. Helios Overture, Op. 17- Jean Martinon
10. The Fog Is Lifting- James Galway

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FINALLY-THE BEST Nielsen 4 and a superb 2 are raised from the dead! March 31 2006
By Darin Tysdal - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I had always heard about Martinon's recording of the Nielsen 4 when I was younger (about 20 years younger) but it was out of print at the time (knowing RCA, it probably only lasted about a year). However, my local college library had a copy of the disc and I must have checked it out multiple times. I recorded it on tape and lived with that. Finally I came upon the LP in my local record store (about 5 years later) and just about fainted! It was in great condition and I lived very happily, but wanting it on CD and also wanting others to hear this marvelous performance. In the mid 90's the British Navigator Series came out which had this recording along with Andre Previn's justly famous 1st. I should have bought that right away, because being an import, it was not easy to get after it's initital US run. Thanks to the internet, I found a used copy and was very pleased with the remastering. Now, these recordings now can be enjoyed by the general populace and I hope that their status as being "classics" will live forever. Both of these performances have an essential "Nielsen Quality" that of extreme forward motion and excitement. I have heard so many recordings of these works, and some are so romanticized that they get bogged down. Gould's 2nd is just such an animal. Right away you are transported to Nielsen's sound world. This performance is so exciting and thrilling and also is a testament to the glorious playing of the Chicago Symphony. The sound is not up to normal standards (for that, Chung and the Gothenburg on BIS still is the Gold Standard for me) but this performance is one of the best. The Fourth is another story. Jean Martinon was unlucky to be conducting the Chicago Symphony after Fritz Reiner, but he made so many wonderful recordings! Ravel,Roussel, Bizet, Lalo, Nielsen, Martinon himself, and Peter Mennin were all representative of his years at the CSO. Many of these recordings did not last in the catalogs for long (why was this, RCA?) and my well-taken care of lp's remain my only way to hear these performances-until now! Like Gould's recording of the Nielsen 2, this performance grabs you by the throat and never lets go. No big longuers here (Bernstein is the big sinner here). No unwanted big ritards, no suddenly slow tempos, just how the composer wrote the score. The timpani battle just jumps out at you and the timpanists are actually creditied! The sound seems a little bit more present than the previous remastering, and some allowances have to be made for the sound. BUT THIS PERFORMANCE IS FABULOUS! RUN, DO NOT WALK TO YOUR LOCAL CD STORE (OR AMAZON) and buy this CD before RCA in their infinite wisdom, put this CD out of print! But to do so would be to deprive the world of one of the best performances in the history of recorded sound!
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Among the greatest orchestral recordings July 10 2006
By MichaelE - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Martinon's recordings of the Nielsen Fourth Symphony and Helios Overture are among the greatest orchestral recordings ever made, and their reissue on CD is long overdue. Martinon's performance of the "Inextinguishable" puts every other available recording of this masterpiece in the shade. The brass playing of the Chicago Symphony, and the "duel" between two sets of tympani in the finale are listening experiences to be enjoyed again and again.
There is one small problem regarding the trasition to the last section of the 4th Symphony: at the end of track 7, corresponding to the end of the "Con anima" section that begins at rehearsal no. 42, there is a pause of about 5 seconds, which is 4 seconds too long in terms of what is written in the score. This pause was not in the RCA Navigator version.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong and exciting performances, excellent recording, great playing and conducting May 15 2006
By Larry VanDeSande - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I am not an expert in the symphonies of Carl Nielsen but I can tell you this pairing beats the pants off the last CD I owned that paired the Symphonies 2 and 4 -- one I burned at home that included Stokowksi's 1967 Danish concert version of the "Four Temperaments" with the studio recording of Herbert Blomstedt's "Indistinguishable".

This recording, featuring the Chicago Symphony Orchestra led by Morton Gould (No. 2)and Jean Martinon (No. 4 and the rest), is more dramatic and the sound is far more front loaded with more brilliant highs and better definition in the lows than the two previously mentioned. Martinon and Gould lead very exciting performances of the symphonies, which I thought were pretty bland basedo nmy previous elongated experience through my homemade CD.

I was very surprised to learn this since both the Stokowski No. 2 and Blomstedt No. 4 have received many critical plaudits over the years. This was most of the reason I acquired these versions in the first place. This one blows them both away and includes a couple other pieces by Nielsen, the "Helios" overture and "The Fog Is Lifting" from incidental music to "The Mother".

In the final analysis, this inexpensive CD is exciting, sounds good and provides an excellent introduction into the two most popular and well-known of the Dane's symphonies. While my old CD shows why many people think the moniker "Inexhaustible" should really be "Indistinguishable", you won't think anything like that after you hear this CD.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Martiinon's interesting 4th April 21 2009
By Andrew R. Weiss - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This review pertains to Martinon's performance of the Fourth Symphony only, a symphony which has been a favorite of mine since I first heard it on a mono-only Danish Odeon LP many years ago:

I had the good fortune to hear this recording on the radio over our local classical music station as part of a Chicago Symphony broadcast. The announcer noted the Martinon served in the armed forces during WWII (he was captured in 1940 by the Germans) and that he had a strong affinity with Nielsen's life-affirming "Inextinguishable" because of his war experience. For whatever reason, Martinon conducts a furious, hair-raising, intensely driven version of this piece. Where others emphasize the harmony arising from the cacophany, Martinon emphasizes the cacophany at the expense of the emerging harmony. Instrumental balances favor the woodwinds and brass: you will never hear the detail of Nielsen's score more clearly than in this recording, even with the hair-raising tempi. That said, I find something missing here: Nielsen's humanism seems to get buried by his anguish. The trick of this piece, of all of Nielsen's mature work actually, is to hold these two, almost antithetical elements in their precarious balance. Other well-regarded versions, especially Ole Schimdt's, do this considerably better, in my opinion.

If you are getting a single version of this magnificent piece, I'd recommend Schmidt's as the best-balanced of the many out there. Much as I admire Leonard Bernstein for his dedication to bringing Nielsen's music to a wider audience, I find his recordings of the symphonies in particular to have the opposite problem to Martinon's: too much emphasis on the Brahmsian romanticism and not enough on the modern anguish. Nielsen had both; his works speak to our modern sensibility as surely in 2009 as they did when they were written. This symphony will reward you, but I suggest you start with Schmidt before you dive into Martinon's more harrowing world.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two great Nielsen's recordings, but wait, there's more...! March 13 2013
By Thomas Martin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is welcome reissue of two great performances of Nielsen. Martinon's "Inextinguishable" is one of the great, if not the greatest, recording of the work. One reviewer that I often disagree with said that Martinon could have "dug deeper" - I'm not sure what he meant by that statement or what he was looking for; if any event, I emphatically disagree with his assesment. The conductor's short tenure with Chicago is finally more than just a footnote as more of his recordings with that great band are released Ravel: Rapsodie Espagnole; Daphnis et Chloe; Suite No. 2,Bartok: The Miraculous Mandarin / Hindemith: Nobilissima Visione / Varese: Arcana.

Gould's "Four Temperaments" is very, very good, but I am as equally comfortable with the recordings of Thomson Nielsen: Symphonies 1 & 2and Blomstedt Nielsen: Symphonies 2 & 3 that I own. An alternative CD that I really treasure is an RCA Navigator budget CD available from Amazon.uk.com for under £2.00 (ASIN B000026GJ7) of Previn's justly famous recording of the First Symphony and the same Martinon Chicago performance. This collection also inlcudes the "Saul and David" Prelude, and "The Fog is Lifting" with James Galway. It does not appear to have been remastered, but the sound is very, very good. Highly Recommended in addition to, or in place of the newer Sony/BMG reissue. The Previn First (with the "Saul and David" Prelude) is available on an increasingly expensive CD Nielsen: Symphony No.1 without the Martinon coupling.

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