Symphony No. 6 (Nielsen)

Symphony No. 6 (Nielsen)

The "Symphony No. 6" by Carl Nielsen, written in 1925, is a work in four movements:
#Tempo giusto
#Humoreske: Allegretto
#Proposta seria: Adagio
#Tema con variazioni: Allegro

It was premiered later that year in Copenhagen with the composer conducting.

He gave it the title "Sinfonia Semplice". According to Robert W. Simpson, from the second edition of his book on Nielsen (but not the first — this represents a revision of an earlier opinion) this work may be partially autobiographical; the composer had just experienced a tremendous success with his "Fifth symphony", but had also suffered a series of heart attacks. He was to write several more works, some of them substantial, in the remaining six years of his life, including the Three Motets and "Commotio" for organ solo, but around this time the atmosphere of his works began to change somewhat.

As with many other works by Nielsen starting as early as his first symphony, this symphony uses "progressive tonality", not only starting in one key — G, here — and ending in another (B-flat) but making the change part of the drama of the work (this was one of the main theses of Simpson's book).


First movement

G major here, opening with bell sounds followed by what is, indeed, a "simple" and peaceful melody in strings — followed in turn, though, by active and very characteristic figures in the winds. As in the fifth symphony there is an early hint of the key B-flat in which we will eventually close, since the wind response hits that B-flat as an on-and-off note in an otherwise G major passage. The mood of the opening gives way to fugal unrest and, eventually, two chaotic and disturbing outbursts (Simpson believes these reflect Nielsen's heart attacks, in a manner of speaking, though he does not claim that the piece is pictorial or otherwise programmatic) before again quieting, to a lightly-scored but unsettled close in A-flat.

econd movement

The "Humoreske" is for winds and percussion alone, almost athematic/tuneless and depending on rhythm. The composer, in notes he wrote for the first performance of the work, said of this movement that the wind and percussion "quarrel, each sticking to his own tastes and inclinations"; Nielsen went on to liken this to the musical world of the time.

Third movement

"Proposta seria". To paraphrase Simpson, again, several passages in this movement circle around as though snakes chasing for-the-moment lost tails.


Fanfare, theme and variations, fanfare-reprise and coda, on a fairly unstable theme in B-flat. The ninth variation, just before the fanfare-reprise and coda, has a sound and affect like that of the "Humoreske" — Simpson likens it to a grinning skeleton; it is preceded by a "minore" variation before that, as in many variations sets (a variation in the parallel minor), but one that is so protracted that when its last minor cadence arrives it is difficult to grasp as one whole variation. Layton describes it as a lament and that is a closer description.

The last note of the piece is a sustained low B-flat played loudly on bassoon, well-described as a raspberry.


Simpson, Robert Wilfred Levick. "Carl Nielsen, Symphonist". London: Kahn & Averill Publishers, 2004. ISBN 0-900707-96-8.

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать курсовую

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Symphony No. 5 (Nielsen) — The Symphony No. 5 (Op. 50, FS 97) by Danish composer Carl Nielsen was completed on 15 January 1922 and first performed in Copenhagen on 24 January 1922 with the composer conducting. It is one of two of Nielsen s six symphonies lacking a subtitle …   Wikipedia

  • 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… …   Wikipedia

  • Symphony No. 4 (Nielsen) — The Symphony No. 4 , The Inextinguishable (Danish: Det Uudslukkelige ), by Carl Nielsen, was completed in 1916. This symphony is among the most dramatic that Nielsen wrote, featuring a battle between two sets of timpani.The title Inextinguishable …   Wikipedia

  • Symphony No. 3 (Nielsen) — Carl Nielsen s Symphony No. 3 or Symphony Espansiva is one of Nielsen s most successful compositions and symphonies.The symphony was written over a two year span from 1910 to 1911 mdash; directly after Nielsen s tenure as bandmaster at the Royal… …   Wikipedia

  • Symphony No. 2 (Nielsen) — The Symphony No. 2 The Four Temperaments (Op. 16, FS 29) is the second symphony by Danish composer Carl Nielsen written in 1901 to 1902 and dedicated to Ferruccio Busoni. It was first performed in 1 December 1902 for the Danish Concert… …   Wikipedia

  • Symphony No. 1 — is a simple designation for the first symphony published by a composer. The term applies to: Formally titled * Symphony No. 1, by William Alwyn * Symphony No. 1, by Malcolm Arnold * Symphony No. 1, by Arnold Bax * Symphony No. 1, Op. 21, by… …   Wikipedia

  • Symphony — Álbum de estudio de Sarah Brightman Publicación 28 de enero de 2008 …   Wikipedia Español

  • symphony — /sim feuh nee/, n., pl. symphonies. 1. Music. a. an elaborate instrumental composition in three or more movements, similar in form to a sonata but written for an orchestra and usually of far grander proportions and more varied elements. b. an… …   Universalium

  • Nielsen, Carl — ▪ Danish composer in full  Carl August Nielsen   born June 9, 1865, Sortelung, near Norre Lyndelse, Den. died Oct. 3, 1931, Copenhagen       violinist, conductor, and Denmark s foremost composer, particularly admired as a symphonist.… …   Universalium

  • Symphony No. 3 — Among the pieces of music with the title Symphony No. 3 are:*William Alwyn s Symphony No. 3 *Malcolm Arnold s Symphony No. 3, op. 63 *Arnold Bax s Symphony No. 3 *Henk Badings s Symphony No. 3 *Tadeusz Baird s Symphony No. 3 *Arnold Bax s… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”