Nielsen: Symphony No. 4

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Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4, also known as The Inextinguishable, is among the most dramatic symphonies Nielsen composed. Composed in 1916, the symphony was composed against the backdrop of the First World War. It features a battle between two sets of timpani. In this symphony Nielsen set out to capture in music the idea of an inextinguishable life force that runs through all creation.

Half a bar of Carl Nielsen and you know it’s him; a characteristic of great composers down the ages, to be sure, but one peculiarly concentrated around nationalist composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Nationalist, not necessarily through any political affiliation but because they sought to renew both the standard musical forms and genres, and their own country’s culture, with bold and fresh attempts to marry the two. So successful was Nielsen at this (like Sibelius in Finland), indeed, that for decades afterwards he seemed to cast a shadow over those who came after.

Composer: Carl Nielsen
Artists: Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra, Theodore Kuchar (conductor)

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Symphony No. 4, Op. 29 “The Inextinguishable”:
00:00 I. Allegro
11:08 II. Poco allegretto
15:40 III. Poco adagio quasi andante
25:14 IV. Allegro

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