Denmark’s Carl Nielsen is one of three outstanding Scandinavian composers of large instrumental works along with Kurt Atterberg of Sweden and Jean Sibelius of Finland. Nielsen’s Concerto for Flute with soloist Carol Wincenc will be performed by the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra conducted by Linus Lerner at their second concert of the season in November.
Nielsen was born in 1865, the year the American Civil War ended, at Norre Lyndelse on the island of Funen, Denmark. He played piano and was violinist in the Royal Danish Orchestra for 16 years and in his youth he played various brass instruments in a Danish military band. His education was formalized at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen where he would later teach. Much of his early inspiration came from Brahms and Edvard Grieg. Nielsen is mainly recognized for his six huge symphonies. In addition he created three outstanding concertos for violin, clarinet and flute along with the Opera Maskarade and numerous chamber and vocal works. He died in 1931 and is buried in Copenhagen as a National Hero.
His flute concerto was composed for Holger Gilbert-Jespersen of Copenhagen.
While traveling on the continent in 1926 he started work on the concerto for a premier in Paris in October but, due to illness, the final movement didn’t get finished in time but he provided a temporary ending for the concert. In attendance were composers Ravel and Honegger finding the work well done. The concerto in its final form was performed in Copenhagen in 1927.
The concerto is scored for oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns in pairs (no flutes), bass trombone (no trumpets) timpani and strings. There are two movements rather than the usual three and the overall structure is neoclassical and modern for the time with little feeling of a home key. Movement I is moderately fast and plays with keys of D m, E flat m, F M, E M and G flat M.
Interacting with other instruments the music has a chamber music character.
Movement II is dissonant and the meter alternates between fast and slow and ends in a march tempo with trombone slide glissandos.
Also on the program are Barber of Seville Overture of Rossini and Beethoven’s fantastic Symphony No. 5. Concerts are November 19 at DesertView Performing Arts Auditorium in SaddleBrooke at 7:30 p.m. and in Oro Valley at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church on November 20 at 3:00 p.m.
Go to wwwsasomusic.org for more details.