a Carl Nielsen portfolio




The Danish composer Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) “is one of the most playful, life-affirming and awkward voices in twentieth-century music. His work resists easy stylistic categorization or containment, yet its melodic richness and harmonic vitality are immediately appealing and engaging. Nielsen’s symphonies, concertos and operas are an increasingly prominent feature of the international repertoire, and his songs remain perennially popular in Denmark. But his work has only rarely attracted sustained critical attention within the scholarly community; he remains arguably the most underrated composer of his international generation.”

— commentary on Amazon.com












Carl Nielsen circa 1901





Carl Nielsen circa 1908






Nielsen’s childhood home (now a museum), near the city of Odense on the island of Funen. (Photograph by Roger W. Smith.)





Carl Nielsen statue in Copenhagen, done by his wife Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen. The statue was completed in 1939. The inscription, “REIST FOR CARL NIELSEN,” is translated as erected for Carl Nielsen. It depicts The Young Man playing Pan-pipes on a Wingless Pegasus. Nielsen’s wife said: “What I wanted to show in my figure is the forward movement, the sense of life, the fact that nothing stands still.” (Photograph by Roger W. Smith.)




Nielsen’s autobiographical memoir of his childhood on the island of Funen. It was published in Danish in 1927 as Min Fynske Barndom (My Childhood on Funen).







This pioneering study was first published in 1952.

















This LP contained a premier recording of Nielsen’s cantata Fynsk Foraar (Springtime on Funen), conducted by the Danish conductor Mogens Wöldike.




Nielsen’s songs represent a major part of his oeuvre and are well known in Denmark. Most of them are unknown elsewhere.




— Portfolio assembled by Roger W. Smith from his collection of Nielsen materials.

   May 2018

About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; classical music; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. Besides (1) rogersgleanings.com, a personal site, he also hosts websites devoted to (2) the author Theodore Dreiser and (3) to the sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim A. Sorokin.
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