Classical Album of the Week

Classical Album of the Week

Carl Nielsen’s three solo concertos — respectively featuring flute, clarinet and violin — pair together with his six symphonies to comprise the absolute core of the Danish national composer’s orchestral music.

For this final release in The Nielsen Project, New York Philharmonic Chief Conductor Alan Gilbert decided to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, Leonard Bernstein, by using the N.Y. Phil’s own principle players for the solo parts.

The orchestra’s Canadian solo-flutist Robert Langevin shows his phenomenal sound in the flute concerto, while the young Anthony McGill presents himself as the orchestra’s new solo clarinetist, coming to New York Philharmonic from a similar position at the Metropolitan Opera.

For the violin concerto, Gilbert invited Danish violinist Nikolaj Znaider, who, for obvious reasons, has a special relationship to Nielsen’s concerto. The concerto itself is an especially personal and empathic piece for the instrument, as Nielsen himself was a violinist from the time he was a little boy.

“I think in terms of the instruments themselves – I sort of creep into their souls,” Nielsen once said about the three solo concertos, which were live-recorded here in the Avery Fischer Hall in 2012 and 2013.

These highly expressive and characteristic works are as lovely as they are complex, showing Nielsen’s development as a composer who increasingly distanced himself from the classical conventions and crafted a musical universe all his own.

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