Symphony No. 1 (Nielsen)

Symphony No. 1 (Nielsen)

The "Symphony No. 1 in G minor" (Op. 7, FS 16) is the first orchestral symphony of Danish composer Carl Nielsen. Written between 1891 and 1892, it was dedicated to his wife, Anne Marie Carl Nielsen. The work's première, on 14 March, 1894 was performed by Johan Svendsen conducting the Chapel Royal Orchestra (Royal Danish Orchestra), with Nielsen himself among the second violins. It is one of two symphonies by Nielsen without a subtitle (the other being his Symphony No. 5).

The symphony is in the standard four movements, with the following tempo markings:
#Allegro orgoglioso
#Allegro comodo - Andante sostenuto - Tempo I
#Finale. Allegro con fuoco

A typical performance takes approximately 35 minutes.

The symphony's melodies have a distinctive Danish flavour and are imbued with Nielsen's personal style. Composer Robert Simpson describes the composer's symphonic debut as "probably the most highly organized first symphony ever written by a young man of twenty-seven."

Opening in G minor, and closing with a rousing peroration in C major, the work's tendency to move away from the original key to C major is the basis of the whole symphony's tonal structure, displaying for the first time Nielsen's hallmark compositional device, "progressive tonality". (Nielsen at one stage even thought of calling the work "Symphony in C".)


*cite book| last = Simpson | first = Robert | authorlink = Robert Simpson (composer) | title = Carl Nielsen, Symphonist, 1865-1931 | publisher = Hyperion | date = 1989 | location = USA | page = 8-24 | isbn = 0-88355-715-0

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