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Carl Nielsen - The Complete Symphonies
Carl Nielsen - The Complete Symphonies
Actors: Michael Schonwandt, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, The Light and the Darkness
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2006     4hr 47min


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Movie Details

Actors: Michael Schonwandt, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, The Light and the Darkness
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Classical
Studio: Da Capo
Format: DVD - Color - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 06/27/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2000
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 4hr 47min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 3
SwapaDVD Credits: 3
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Box set,Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French, German

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Movie Reviews

A splendid collection of Nielsen's six symphonies
Mike Birman | Brooklyn, New York USA | 06/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Carl Nielsen and Jean Sibelius were contemporaries. A northern austerity and a cool Scandinavian bleakness suffuses their symphonies. But Sibelius absorbed the Late Romantic style early in his career so that his 7 symphonies are characterised by their expansiveness and songlike themes. Carl Nielsen began his Symphonic career with a Neoclassical orientation and by the time of his 3rd Symphony was firmly entrenched among the Modernists. His themes are concise, often aciduous in flavor, frequently exhibiting a mordant wit in the woodwinds and percussion. It is this texture and manner of expression rather than any dissonant quality that exemplifies Nielsen's modernity. Even so, his music was initially misunderstood and criticized and it was not until his 4th Symphony that he began to receive the recognition due a composer of international stature. The composition of his 6 Symphonies occupied Nielsen from 1889 to 1925. Their uniformly high quality entitles him to be considered one of the finest Symphonists of the first quarter of the 20th Century. In the later symphonies, one may be surprised to hear passages that are unmistakably reminiscent of Bela Bartok. Here are entire sections hinting at Bartok's trademark astringent instrumental color and mood; his dark Transylvanian "Nachtmusik", with musical bats nervously flitting from tree to tree. This notion was confirmed to me by the superb hour long biographical film about Carl Nielsen on disc 3 entitled "The Light and the Darkness" which mentions Nielsen's friendship with Bartok and the Hungarian composer's familiarity with Nielsen's music. Nielsen's influence is explicit, especially in Bartok's masterpiece: Concerto for Orchestra. If you are unfamiliar with Nielsen's music but enjoy Bartok's, you will probably like these DVDs. This also holds true in reverse. If you despise Bartok, Nielsen will not overwhelm you. I enjoy them both and found this DVD set to be a fine release on all counts.

Michael Schonwandt conducts the splendid Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Nielsen is Denmark's national composer and their pride is everywhere evident in this release. All of the orchestra shines, but the stunning Brass and Woodwinds along with the Percussionists must be singled out for well deserved praise. Their playing is simply superb, world class in every way. These performances are similar in style (though more expansive in tempo and introspective in emotional outlook) than Herbert Blomstedt's San Francisco Orchestra recordings on Decca from the 1980's. If you liked those recordings (as I did), you will respond favorably to these discs. This is an exciting release.

These three DVD's are NTSC encoded for worldwide release. The film is recorded in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen. It was filmed on 2 and 4 November 2000 at the Danish Radio Concert Hall. The picture is crystal clear. Sound is available in PCM stereo, Dolby Dogital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 Digital Surround Sound. All are superbly clear and well-focussed with the Dolby and DTS providing greater spatial depth and rear ambiance. The hall has an especially clear and warm acoustic quality. The audience is extremely well behaved, never coughing once! Subtitles are in English, French and German. The bonus film is available in all these languages as well. Total time of the entire set is 287 minutes. The 60 page booklet is glossy and informative with indepth analysis that includes musical examples. It is the finest DVD booklet I've yet seen. The bonus film (on the 3rd disc) has its own booklet, as well!

This is a superb (if not definitive) 3 DVD set of Carl Nielsen's 6 Symphonies. Most strongly recommended.

Mike Birman"
Danish Delight from Da Capo
Ian C. Punter | Thailand | 07/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"What riches are appearing on DVD now! This lovely set of the complete symphonies of Carl Nielsen, along with an excellent hour-long documentary, (which is full of love and affection for the man and his music, but is no mere hagiography), comes with good sound and picture quality. I was so enthralled at the prospect of this release, I bought it direct from Da Capo a week or two in advance of the release date....(cheaper, I must add, if you take the Amazon route!!) The good folk at that company, (Da Capo), also assured me that both 'Maskerade' and 'Saul and David' are on their way in Danish productions, the former quite soon, the latter in a couple of years! Mouthwatering!
Mini-quibbles....The sound is perfectly good but not, shall we say, 'fantastic'. Most of my CD recording of particularly Symphonies 3, 4 & 5, leave me drained, - not quite the case here, though Michael Schonwandt has this music at his fingertips, and all the tension and release that Nielsen applies with his often 'dangerous' tonalities, is here.
These are concert-hall performances and therefore afford the director limited opportunity for visual variation. (I had the good fortune in past years to sit in the middle of the Boston/Cleveland/Philadelphia orchestras/LSO/RPO etc operating a film camera, on various BBC documentaries, and I appreciate the problem. The temptation is there to go TOO close on bow and string, TOO often to focus on the undoubtedly most attractive lady player. These symphonies are best enjoyed quite separately, to avoid the 'Oh, not HER again-syndrome'!
Most importantly though, this is a set to return to again and again, which is not necessarily the case with many equally fine performances on DVD. Bravo!"
Patrick Boyle | EDMONTON ALBERTA | 07/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

Wonderful introduction to Nielsen
Richard W. Yiengst | Reading, Pa | 11/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"An amazing buy! The price is unbelievable! Don't miss this! Maybe not
the greatest performances of Nielsen, but still very good. You will kick
yourself if you do not investigate. Nielsen can be very energetic and thrilling as well as probing and tender. Try it; you'll like it!

If you like Beethoven, you'll enjoy Nielsen! He liked Beethoven, too.
Enjoy and grow!"