Symphonies Nos. 2 & 6
The recently released second volume of the Carl Nielsen symphony cycle from the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Sakari Oramo has already met with acclaim similar to that for the first disc: 'an ideal blend of fieriness and loving care' (Norddeutscher Rundfunk), and 'an impressive second volume from what's turning into a must-hear Nielsen cycle.' (BBC Radio 3 CD Review) The last installment of the cycle opens with the composer's Symphony No.2, 'The Four Temperaments', dating from 1901-02, it's origins an allegorical picture Nielsen came across in a country inn, illustrating the four temperaments of man as defined in Greco-Roman medicine: anger, apathy, melancholy and carefree abandon. Twenty-three years later the composer completed his sixth and final symphony, giving it the subtitle Sinfonia semplice (Simple Symphony). Nielsen had envisaged a work 'quite idyllic in character' - but by the time he arrived at the last movement, Theme and variations, the work had taken a different course, and as Nielsen later told a friend, the ninth and last variation, scored for tuba and percussion, represents 'death knocking at the door'.