Nielsen: Symphonies Nos. 4 (“The Inextinguishable”) & 5

Denmark’s greatest composer, his greatest symphonies, stellar recordings

Ole Schmidt and the London Symphony Orchestra deliver stunning performances of Carl Nielsen‘s Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5, considered twin masterpieces of Nielsen’s oevure. These recordings have been lauded as among the best ever of these works, receiving outstanding critical praise from Gramophone and the Penguin Guide, the latter awarding it a coveted 3-Star rating. Symphony No. 4 was composed against the backdrop of World War I; it is subtitled by the composer “The Inextinguishable” (more closely “life-force” in Danish) referring to what Nielsen describes as “the elemental will to live.” It is a thrilling and challenging work, as is the post-war Symphony No. 5, which has an unorthodox structure of only two movements (here presented as three tracks).