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Dvorak & Nielsen Symphonies

Naxos 8.570714 & 8.570738

Brief welcomes for two Naxos symphonic discs. Both are well played and recorded; the main reason to buy the Dvorak, however, will be the lass often heard Symphonic Variations(which I first heard under Sir Henry Wood), one of the best examples of this genre.

I would prefer a slightly less "cushioned' acoustic than Baltimore's for Marin.

If you have to choose, go for the Nielsen. No.2, choleric, phlegmatic, melancholic and sanguine by turns, was my introduction to this composer, on a very early recording, and it retains a place in my affections. No 3 is misleadingly placed first, which confused me, but it is the most persuasive account of the leisurely and more problematic Espansiva than i'd heard, with voices introduced into the pastorale second movement.

Also released, is a useful double disc of all Nielsen's piano music by Martin Roscoe, well played, recorded and presented [Hyperion CDA67591/2].

They've never quite made it into the repertoire, but the Chaconne, Suite and Theme & Variations ought to have done so; likewise the quite late Music for Young and Old, laid out as if for fixed hand positions to help beginners, but better not attempted thus if the mature musicianship of these economical pieces is to be brought out.

Peter Grahame Woolf