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Hyperion Records

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Scutolo, 'The Marvel of Marvels' (1912) by Henry Brokman-Knudsen (1868-1933)
Musée de la Ville de Paris, Musée du Petit-Palais, France / Lauros / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67591/2
Recording details: February 2007
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Michael George
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: June 2008
Total duration: 5 minutes 53 seconds

'These new recordings are sonically the best yet. Roscoe is famed for his touch and his playing's delicacy and finesse is evident throughout' (Gramophone)

'Apart from Grieg, no Scandinavian composer has written for the piano with more individuality and insight than Nielsen … Martin Roscoe is right inside this music and guides us through its marvels with great subtlety and authority. His is the most eloquent account since the pioneering set by Arne Skjøld Rasmussen. Hyperion gives him vivid and natural recorded sound and there are outstanding notes by Daniel Grimley' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The piano music of Carl Nielsen is notable not only for its striking emotional power and radicalism but also for its transparency—for the writing is always unmistakably Nielsen … the album as a whole is a treasure-chest; it presents an entirely new slant for those not acquainted with Nielsen's music and broadens the field of vision significantly for those who are … this deserves to become a most conspicuous recording, and Hyperion's usual excellence in achieving a full-bodied, crystal-clear sound continues boldly forward' (International Record Review)

'The Symphonic Suite, the Chaconne, the magnificent Theme and Variations … are powerful, poetic, original in both idea and structure, widely varied in mood, impressively organic and as important in their way as any of Nielsens' remarkable symphonies. Martin Roscoe's technique withstands everything that the composer throws at it. He obviously belives in every note, as well he might' (The Sunday Times)

'Martin Roscoe demonstrates throughout this revealing double CD set [that Nielsen's piano music] is a canon of work that desperately needs attention … fantastic playing of compelling authority by one of Britain's finest pianists. A wonderful discovery' (The Herald)

Humoreske-bagateller 'Humoresque-bagatelles', Op 11
1894/7; first performed on 3 September 1898; FS22

Other recordings available for download
Mina Miller (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The 1890s were the period of Nielsen’s first great compositional breakthrough, the time when he established himself as the leading modernist voice in contemporary Danish music, and, for many critics, as an avant-gardiste whose larger works were frequently a ‘bone of contention’. However, his third piano composition from the 1890s, the Humoresque-Bagatelles Op 11, belongs to the first category of shorter pieces or character works. Though the Bagatelles were premiered on 3 September 1898, little is known about their compositional genesis. One newspaper compared them with Schumann’s Kinderszenen, and argued that they were unsuitable material for the concert hall. Retrospectively, however, a more useful comparison might be with the shorter twentieth-century piano works of Bartók, Prokofiev or Debussy—pieces such as Debussy’s suite Children’s Corner, designed to capture the imagination of younger players and listeners alike. The first piece, ‘Goddag! Goddag!’, is a playful Allegretto whose opening motif echoes the Danish for ‘Hello! Hello!’. Here, and in the following movement, ‘The Spinning Top’ (‘Snurretoppen’), the diatonic innocence of the opening bars almost entirely conceals the more modernist chromaticism of the central section. The third number is a slow waltz that constantly threatens to drift lazily into harmonically uncharted waters, despite its circularity, while the fourth is as dynamically and harmonically unpredictable as its title, ‘The Jumping Jack’ (‘Sprællemanden’), suggests. The two final movements inhabit a stylized world of eighteenth-century classicism that looks forward, in many ways, to Nielsen’s great comic opera, Maskarade (‘Masquerades’). The ‘Puppet March’ (‘Dukke-Marsch’) is like a Haydn Allegro in miniature, whereas the repetitive figuration of the closing movement, ‘The Musical Clock’ (‘Spilleværket’) seems more suggestive of Mozart, a composer with whom Nielsen of course felt an especially close affinity.

from notes by Daniel Grimley © 2008

Other albums featuring this work
'Nielsen: Complete Piano Music' (CDA66231/2)
Nielsen: Complete Piano Music
CDA66231/2  2CDs Rights no longer controlled by Hyperion  

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