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Track(s) taken from CDA67591/2

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

Martin Roscoe (piano)
Recording details: February 2007
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Michael George
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: June 2008
Total duration: 25 minutes 34 seconds

Cover artwork: 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

Other recordings available for download

Mina Miller (piano)


'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)
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

Il paraît assez logique que la dernière œuvre pianistique de Nielsen appartienne à la catégorie des pièces destinées aux enfants et aux interprètes amateurs. Bien qu’il fût, à la fin de sa carrière professionnelle, le compositeur danois le plus important, le plus célèbre à l’étranger aussi, Nielsen conserva un sens aigu de l’engagement social envers la communauté musicale élargie. Le recueil de courtes pièces Klavermusik for små og store («Musique de piano pour petits et grands»), op. 53, écrit en 1930, peut être regardé comme son ultime contribution à un genre remontant au Clavier bien tempéré de Bach. Ce corpus comporte deux livres, de douze numéros chacun, arrangés en diptyques tonals (majeur et mineur relatif) selon le cycle des quintes. Certaines pièces, y compris la première, reposent sur les exercices des cinq doigts ou sur d’autres schémas et côtoient des pièces de caractère en miniature, comme la septième (une brillante marche enfantine en la majeur). Parfois, des échos d’œuvres plus imposantes se devinent—la douzième pièce (Adagio drammatico) en sol dièse mineur, qui clôt le premier cahier, ressemble ainsi au Molto adagio de la Suite, op. 45, en plus petit. Mais ce qu’elles affichent surtout, c’est une originalité et une singularité d’idées parfaitement adaptées à leur taille et à leurs lieux d’exécution. L’éminent pianiste danois Herman D. Koppel les joua toutes à Copenhague le 27 octobre 1930. Dans un compte-rendu de ce concert, un critique écrivit: «Ses pièces pédagogiques, tout comme ses œuvres plus imposantes, bien sûr, révèlent l’étendue de son génie, car elles illustrent la chose difficile entre toutes: la grandeur en miniature.»

extrait des notes rédigées par Daniel Grimley © 2008
Français: Hypérion

Irgendwie scheint es angemessen, dass Nielsens letztes Klavierwerk zur ersten Kategorie gehören sollte—Stücke, die für Kinder oder Amateurinterpreten komponiert wurden. Trotz Nielsens Stellung am Ende seiner Laufbahn als Dänemarks wichtigster und international am meisten gefeierter Komponist engagierte sich der Komponist auch weiterhin stark gesellschaftlich in breiteren Musikkreisen. Die 1930 komponierte Sammlung kurzer Stücke Klavermusik for små og store op. 53 („Klaviermusik für Kleine und Große“) kann als Nielsens entscheidender Beitrag zu einem Genre gezählt werden, das bis auf Bachs Wohltemperiertes Klavier zurückreicht. Nielsens Sammlung besteht aus zwei Bänden mit jeweils 12 Nummern, die dem Quintenzirkel folgend in Tonartenpaaren (Dur und verwandte Molltonart) angeordnet sind. Einige der Stücke, einschließlich des ersten, beruhen auf Fünffingerübungen oder ähnlichen Exerzitien, während andere Nummern, wie zum Beispiel die siebente (ein leuchtender Spielzeugmarsch in A-Dur), kleine Charakterstücke sind. Bisweilen ist es möglich, Anklänge an größere Werke zu identifizieren. Zum Beispiel ähnelt das in gis-Moll stehende zwölfte Stück (Adagio drammatico), das den ersten Band beschließt, einer vereinfachten Fassung des Molto adagio aus der Suite op. 45. Häufiger handelt es sich aber um den Eindruck von Originalität und Einzigartigkeit, von Ideen, die in ihrem Ausmaß und mit ihrer Platzierung perfekt passen. Der eminente dänische Pianist Herman D. Koppel führte am 27. Oktober 1930 die gesamte Sammlung in Kopenhagen auf. In einem Bericht über das Konzert schrieb ein Rezensent: „Seine pädagogischen Stücke offenbaren das Ausmaß seines Genies genauso deutlich wie seine größeren Werke, weil sie die schwierigste Sache von allem veranschaulichen—Großartigkeit im Kleinformat.“

aus dem Begleittext von Daniel Grimley © 2008
Deutsch: Elke Hockings

Other albums featuring this work

Nielsen: Complete Piano Music
CDA66231/22CDs Rights no longer controlled by Hyperion
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