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Hyperion Records

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Flowering Lilacs, Funen, Denmark.
Photographed by Lone Mengel / Reproduced by courtesy of The Danish Tourist Board
Track(s) taken from CDA66231/2
Recording details: July 1986
Unknown, Unknown
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: October 1987
Total duration: 27 minutes 10 seconds

Klavermusik for små og store 'Piano music for young and old', Op 53
1929/30; Book 1: The Sharp Keys; Book 2: The Flat Keys; first performed by Herman D Koppel in Copenhagen on 27 October 1930; FS148

Other recordings available for download
Martin Roscoe (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
It seems fitting, somehow, that Nielsen’s final piano composition should belong to the first category of works—pieces composed for children or amateur players. Despite his status, at the end of his professional career, as Denmark’s most important and internationally celebrated composer, Nielsen maintained a strong sense of social commitment to the wider musical community. The collection of short pieces, Piano Music for Young and Old (Klavermusik for små og store) Op 53, which Nielsen wrote in 1930 can be heard as his ultimate contribution to a genre that stretches as far back as Bach’s Well-tempered Clavier. The collection consists of two books, of twelve numbers each, arranged in tonal pairs (major and relative minor) according to the cycle of fifths. Some of the pieces, including the first, are based on five-finger exercises or other patterns, whereas others, such as the seventh (a bright A major toy march) are miniature character pieces. At times it is possible to identify echoes of larger works—the twelfth piece (Adagio drammatico) in G sharp minor which closes the first book, for example, resembles a scaled-down version of the Molto adagio from the Suite Op 45. But more often there is a sense of originality and uniqueness—of ideas perfectly suited to their size and venue. The eminent Danish pianist Herman D Koppel performed the complete set in Copenhagen on 27 October 1930. In a review of the concert, one critic wrote: ‘His educational pieces, just as evidently as his larger works, reveal the range of his genius, because they exemplify the most difficult thing of all—greatness in miniature.’

from notes by Daniel Grimley © 2008

Other albums featuring this work
'Nielsen: Complete Piano Music' (CDA67591/2)
Nielsen: Complete Piano Music

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