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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: June 2007
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Michael George
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: June 2008
Total duration: 20 minutes 30 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)

Suite, Op 45
summer 1919; first performed in March 1921; originally subtitled 'Ild og Vand' ('Fire and Water'); subsequently subtitled 'Den Luciferiske' ('The Luciferian'); finally unsubtitled; FS91

Poco moderato  [2'24]
Allegretto vivo  [1'16]

Other recordings available for download
Mina Miller (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
This Suite Op 45 is perhaps Nielsen’s single most important work for piano, which he completed in summer 1919. Here the scheme involves the gradual emergence, from cell-like beginnings, of B flat as the work’s ultimate goal and ‘home key’ (in the expressive as well as structural sense). B flat first appears as the pivotal bass pedal in the first movement, and then as an element in the strange unearthly sonority which opens the second. The third movement, a stirring Molto adagio, begins confidently in G minor, only to close in B flat—but the status of B flat as a tonic is only provisional at this stage, and the fourth and fifth movements make no reference to this tonality at all. Indeed, it is not until the dramatic Hammerklavier-like quavers of the very closing bars of the finale that B flat is genuinely established as a stable reference point, and the piece can be brought to a decisive conclusion. Nielsen originally referred to the work as ‘Ild og Vand’ (‘Fire and Water’), a reference to the music’s elemental nature that may also have inspired its later subtitle, Luciferisk (‘The Luciferian’), which Nielsen used for the first performance in March 1921 but later dropped. Nielsen was evidently thinking of Lucifer as the bringer of fire and light, rather than in his more satanic incarnation, although there are times, particularly in the third and final movements, when the music almost feels possessed by some kind of demonic spirit. Yet the Suite also shares Nielsen’s earlier preoccupations with Baroque counterpoint, Mozartian elegance, and Haydnesque inventiveness: it is amongst Nielsen’s most powerfully diverse and eclectic works.

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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