This wonderful disc indicates a welcome return to those trailblazing recordings of Carl Nielsen made during the 1950's when the composer was still being discovered. Legendary names such as Erik Tuxen, Thomas Jensen and Launy Grondahl surely need no introduction to Nielsen acolytes who were weaned on the EMI and Decca recordings which still hold cult status today.
John Frandsen is perhaps not as well known as that great triumvirate but he certainly was a fine Nielsen interpreter in his heyday. This Philips recording of the "Espansiva" is surely a case in point with pointed rhythmic vitality and great expressive touches very much reminiscent of the more famous Tuxen recording (available on Dutton). Tuxen's live relay of the 5th from the 1950 Edinburgh Festival is a legendary piece of recording and it is good to have it available as although the sound is slightly constricted, the interpretation is absolutely magnificent.
Guild is to be congratulated on their excellent enterprise in resurrecting these legendary recordings which deserve the widest possible currency. The booklet notes by Robert Matthew Walker delve into the importance of these recordings which did so much to blaze the trail of Nielsen's music in Britain and beyond. It is surely essential fare for all lovers of this great Danish composer.
Copyright © 2009, Gerald Fenech