C0251. THOMAS JENSEN Cond.: 'The Four Temperaments' Symphony #2 - recorded 3 Oct., 1947; LAUNY GRONDAHL Cond.: 'The Inextinguishable' Symphony #4 - recorded 17-19 Aug., 1951 (both Nielsen, both w.Danish State Radio S.O.). (England) Dutton CDCLP 4001. Transfers by Michael J. Dutton. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 765387400125
“Carl Nielsen is unique to music in his extremely concentrated view of symphonic thought. Although the first three symphonies contain nothing absolutely out of the ordinary, they still are creations of an astoundingly acute symphonic mind coupled with an innate humanity that continuously explores new contours and pastures. The Second, ‘The Four Temperaments’ is interesting and varied: Here the four character studies are brilliantly evocative, here Nielsen's humanity comes to the fore especially in the long and brooding Third Movement, Andante malincolico. The Fourth marks a watershed in Nielsen's career, here the great composer was traversing a difficult life, personal problems were mingled with a profound feeling of grief and horror at the bloodbath of the First World War. Being a deeply sensitive man, Nielsen was profoundly affected by the wanton destruction and terrible waste of the Great War and his music now took on a markedly different shape.
The Fourth is subtitled ‘Das Ukkesglude’ which roughly translated from the Danish means ‘The Inextinguishable’. The music that permeates the symphony is full of a wistful longing and occasionally the anger and power tend to lose all control. What is perfectly apparent is that the music will never be the same again, the themes are darker, full of passion and with a great depth of feeling. A constant battle of progressive tonality runs through the symphony, it is almost a quest of the spirit attempting to find repose in a troubled world. There are magical touches throughout, particularly in the tranquil Second Movement. Although the movements are recognisable, the music plays without a break, one long sweep of magnificent force occasionally threatening to sweep all before it in its intensity.
From the desolate battlegrounds,
Strewn with littered corpses
A lonely flower sways in the wind
Life is inextinguishable.
A tremendous current of hope runs through this incomparable work. Truly it is a musical depiction of the struggles and tribulations of man. Another subject that is also recognisable is human love. Nielsen was a deep personality and he felt profoundly for every single person.
The first records of 'The Inextinguishable' appeared after the Second World War and both are recommendable as the finest ever. The orchestra was the legendary Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra trained by Fritz Busch and Egisto Tango into an ensemble of world class renown and with a passion for Nielsen's music like no other. Launy Grondahl's studio recording for EMI (1951) suffers from some dryish sound but the inspiration, vigour and ultimate triumph of the interpretation is second-to-none. This is available on Dutton Laboratories (CDCLP4001) coupled with Thomas Jensen's magnificent premiere recording of ‘The Four Temperaments'. The Finale in particular is incredibly fast, adding to the thrill and spontaneity of the piece….Grondahl has the top recommendation….Nielsen's Fourth is a towering edifice of grandeur and one of the greatest symphonies of the twentieth century.”
- Gerald Fenech
“Thomas Jensen, the conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra (from 1957) and the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, who visited the United States in 1952 and again in 1958 with the Danish National Orchestra, was considered one of the great conductors of Denmark. Jensen is best remembered (with Erik Tuxen and Launy Grøndahl) as one of the pioneers of the music of Carl Nielsen. Nielsen's daughters held that Jensen was the conductor whose performances came closest to Nielsen's own.
Besides his visits to the United States in 1952 and 1958, when he led the Danish National Orchestra in Carnegie Hall concerts, Mr. Jensen also conducted the Orchestra on tour in many European cities.”
THE NEW YORK TIMES, 17 Nov., 1963