Nielsen: Symphony No. 2, The Four Temperaments; Symphony No. 3, Sinfonia Espansiva
New York Philharmonic
Alan Gilbert, conductor
Carl Nielsen was one of the great symphonists of the 20th century, as
this live recording readily demonstrates. His second symphony, "The Four
Temperaments" features four movements, each depicting a different mood.
Four different modes of expression. Alan Gilbert and the New York
Philharmonic take full advantage of the score, and offer up an exciting
reading that not only shows the contrasts between the movements, but
highlights the overarching continuity between them.
Nielsen's Symphony No. 3 is subtitled the "Sinfonia Espansiva" for good
reason. Gilbert and the Philharmonic deliver on the bigness of the
work, without making it sound bloated. Rather, Nielsen's music seems to
just open up and build in a natural and unhurried manner.
Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic perform these symphonies in
an organic fashion. Conductor and orchestra work together as one to
create a unified artistic vision (not surprising, given Gilbert's strong
ties to the ensemble). The lyrical passages sing, and the climaxes
arrive with power and authority. These are dramatic readings, but not
overly dramatic. The music is dynamic and flowing, but never
Although you can play this on a regular CD player, I highly recommend
listening to it on an SACD player. The expanded detail and presence
makes the performances even more engaging. I gained new appreciation for
the precision for the Philharmonic's bass section, particularly during
the third symphony. And for a live recording, the sound is amazingly
clean and free of audience noise.