Carl Nielsen

Overture to Maskarade

            Carl Nielsen is now acknowledged as Denmark’s most distinguished composer, and more than deserving to take his place with Grieg and Sibelius in the pantheon of Scandinavia’s long-revered composers.  It was not always so, of course, and it was not until the middle of the twentieth century that his music enjoyed broad admiration, study, and performance.  Not that he ever languished in obscurity, for by his forties, he was regarded as Denmark’s leading musician.  He grew up in modest circumstances—certainly not a prodigy—studied assiduously, played in several unpretentious ensembles on various instruments, and began composing in small forms.  He was intellectually curious, reading and pondering philosophy, history, and literature, and it must be said, was profoundly aided in hi