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Carl Nielsen
Four song for male choir
1. Det bødes der for i lange Aar – (A moment of pleasure, An age of pain)
2. LĂŚngsel – (Jean – Of a’ the airts the wind can blaw)
3. Byd mig at leve – (To Anthea, who may command him Anything)
4. Før drømte jeg fast hver eneste Nat – (Earlier I dreamt every single night)

5. GrĂŚshoppen – (The Grashopper)

6. Edderkoppens Sang af “Aladdin” – (The Spider’s Song from “Aladdin”)

7. Sang til Kolding Lantinskoles Majfest – (Song for the May Festival of Kolding Grammar School)

8. Morten Børups Majvise – (Morten Børup’s May Song)

9. Sidskensang – (Song of the Siskin)

10. Serenade – (Serenade)

11. Kom, Gudsengel, stille Død – (Come, Angel of God, tranquil Death)

12. Aftenstemning – (Evening Mood)

11te Februar 1909
13. Hvor Livet ikke løfter – (Where life itself won’t carry)
14. Fra Klokkernes Malme – (From the ringing of the bells)

15. Til Snapsen i “Bel Canto” – (Song for the Snaps at the “Bel Canto)

16. Paaske-Liljen – (The Daffodil)

17. BørnehjĂŚlpsdagens Sang – (Song for the Children’s Relief Day)

18. Fredlys din Jord, du danske Mand – (Protect Your Land, Oh Danish Man)

19. Ak, Julesne fra Bethlehem – (Oh, Christmas Snow from Bethlehem)

20. Hil dig, vor Fane – (Hail to Thee, our Banner)

21. Der er et yndigt Land – (There is a lovely Land)

22. Hymne til Livet – (Hymn to Life)

23. Foraarssang – (Spring Song)

Two School Songs
24. Blomsterstøv fra BlomsterbĂŚger – (Pollen from the calyx)
25. Nu er for stakket Tid forbi – (Now for a brief time it’s over)

Three Motets op. 55
26. Afflictus sum
27. Dominus regit me
28. Benedictus Dominus

29. Til min Fødeø! – (To the Isle of my Birth)

Six Canons
30. Bokserne – (The Boxers)
31. Traaden brister, Rokken Staaer – (The thread snaps, the spinning wheel stops)
32. VĂŚgter, jeg beder, hold op – (Watchman, I beg you, please stop)
33. Ikke det altid slaar til – (It isn’t always the case)
34. Du skal le ad ØdelĂŚggelse – (At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh)
35. Silhed og Mørke – (Silence an dark)

36. Sjølunds Sangere – (The Singers of Sjølund)

37. Kantate til Dansk LigbrĂŚndingsforenings 50 Aars JubilĂŚum – (Cantata for the Danish Cremation Union’s 50th Anniversary)

38. Kvadet om Nordens Harpe – (The Poem of the Harp of the North)

Complete Works for A Cappella Choir Š
By Torben Schousboe

As a composer, Carl Nielsen is most famous for his symphonic works and his numerous songs. Less wellknown are the many choral compositions. They are fairly evenly spread over his producion, and they may be divided into two large groups according to disposition and purpose.

The first group, the best-krown of the two, includes works for larger concerts and other wholly or partly public events, i.e. the compositions for choir, possibly with soloists, and orchestra (Hymnus amoris op.12,1896-97; Sleep op. 18, 1903-04; Springtime on Funen op.42, 1921) plus the cantatas, which were composed on commission (e.g . Cantata for the Anniversary of Copenhagen University,1908; Cantata for the National Exhibition at Aarhus,1909; Cantata for the Centenary of  the Merchants’ Committee, 1917; Cantata for the Centenary of the Polytechnic High School, 1929. Hymn to Art, 1929, Cantata for the 51thAnniversary of the Young Merchants’ Education Association, 1930; Poem in Song and Music, 1930; a.o.).

The second group includes the numerous works for a cappella choir, original compositions as well as arrangements for choir of a number of  Nielsen’s songs. Generally, the works of this second group are less famous – strangely enough in consideration of their quality and applicability . Only Three Motets op.55 have won real fame, and also Aftenstemning (Evening Mood) and PaaskeLiljen (The Daffodil) are generally known and popular.

The aim of this recording is to show that also the smaller compositions for choir include pearls that can please choristers and audience alike. Most of the works are recorded here for the first time. The rccording comprises Nielsen’s total output of individual works originally composed for a cappella choir; excluded are all arrangements, accompagnied works, and choral pieces extracted from larger contexts. The works are presented in chronological order, so that a musical journey through Nielsen’s life is made possible. Some of the works exist in manuscript only; they have been revised and edited for this purpose and with a view to publication in the near future – e.g. the hitherto unknown Serenade from 1907 that is mentioned in the composer’s diary and of which the music was discovered in 1983.

Most of Nielsen’s compositions for a cappella choir were written for definite purposes or with particular choirs in mind. According to chronology and scoring they fall into four groups.

The first group is made up of the early songs for male choir composed in 1887, when Nielsen was being taught music theory and composition by Orla Rosenhoff. The second group (1899-1907) is dominated by songs for equal voiccs, composed for school choirs, and  it ends with three rather demanding compositions for adult, trained choirs (Songs of the Siskin, Serenade, and Come, Angel of God. The latter work strikes the darker male-dominated sounds characteristic of the third group (1908-15); during this busy and critical period Nielsen kept in contact with the Copenhagen male choirs “Bel Canto” and “Studenter-Sangforeningen” (The Students’ Choral Society) and composed his choral songs for them. The fourth group includes works from the years 1924-31. They are composed mainly for mixed choir. From the work of this period one can infer that which is also otherwise known: that many of the active choirs (headed by Mogens WĂśldike’s Palestrina-Choir) had attained a higher musical level, and that Nielsen had taken this into account in his compositions, e.g. in his use of polyphony rooted in the 16th century practice (Hymn to Life, Three Motets, 6 Canons).


September 1994