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Gramophone, September 2011

A tone-poem which foreshadows the very distinctive style Nordic orchestral music inhabits today. Did Aho, Rautavaara and Brødsgaard hear those crazy clarinet riffs?

Robert Plyler
The Post-Journal, May 2007

The recording has a running time of 72 minutes and 24 seconds and presents a collection of 14 orchestral overtures, dances, rhapsodies and other relatively short orchestral works, including the overtures to both of the composer’s operas: “Maskarade” and ‘Saul and David.”

The Nielsen sound is less beautiful and more joyous, energetic and kinetic than the Alfven disc. All the same, in nature it is closer to the sound of popular romantic composers such as Brahms and Schubert than it is to much else which was written in the early 20th century.

If you enjoy tonal, highly evocative music, you’ll enjoy the works on this recording. The sound quality is excellent and the conductor’s shaping of the performance is easily followed.

Although released in this country by Naxos, this recording is on the DaCapo label. It bears catalog number 8.220518. For more information, try the Web site

BBC Music Magazine
BBC Music Magazine, May 2007


Thomas Dausgaard conducts all these works with tremendous gusto, balanced by a fine ear for unusual, suggestive textures.

Limelight Magazine, May 2007

Limelight Award Nominee 2007

Thomas Dausgaard conducts with style and spirit and the orchestra is first class. For lovers of finely written orchestral music, this disc is a must.

David Fanning
Gramophone, April 2007

This is outstanding, and unmissable for Nielsen collectors—and not only for the less familiar items, all of which have been recorded before (not badly, either). The Danish Radio Symphony must have played the Saul and David and Maskarade excerpts and the Helios Overture more times than they can count. But for Dausgaard they relish every detail, without ever sounding self-conscious. To call the balance in the “Cockerels’ Dance” felicitous would be an understatement; it is revelatory. Nor is affectionate an adequate word for Dausgaard’s interpretations of all the music on this disc; there is love here, and a sense of crusading mission.

I could sing the praises of the Rhapsody Overture and Pan and Syrinx just as extravagantly. And I would as happily wax lyrical over the theatre music excerpts, all of which lead to or from the world of Nielsen’s symphonies. Given playing of such finesse and bite (one virtually takes idiomatic understanding for granted) they all feel like gems in their own right. I could hug the oboist for his/her contributions to the Snefrid excerpts.

I suppose I’m not the easiest listener to please when it comes to Nielsen recordings. But this is the kind of issue that reminds me why. It comes about as close to the ideal as I ever hope to hear, and it eclipses almost all others in its field. Dacapo’s recording quality is top-drawer, and there is an exemplary essay from Jørgen I Jensen. Disc of the year for me so far, then. And if it is still so at the end of 2007, I won’t be surprised.

David Hurwitz, February 2007

Talk about a slam-dunk! This is without doubt the finest collection of Nielsen's short orchestral works currently available. It is perfectly played, brilliantly conducted, and superbly recorded in stereo and SACD formats. Read Full Review at ClassicsToday

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10:38:12 AM, 14 October 2015
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