Described by Jean Sibelius as "a born composer of symphonies," Carl Nielsen (1865 1931) was greatly influenced early in his professional life by Grieg, Dvo ak, and Brahms. Developing his compositional skills while earning a living as a second violist in the Royal Orchestra, the distinguished Dane displayed, even in his earliest works, a striking conception of tonality as a fluid, progressive characteristic of his music a leaning conspicuous in his popular and richly scored Second Symphony (1901 02).
Calling this work "The Four Temperaments," the composer identified each movement with one of the four archaic personality types: an energetic first movement with the choleric type, a slow movement with the melancholic type, and so on. Even with its often startling and arresting turns, and the use of novel and original relationships between keys, as "Grove's" points out, Nielsen's work "never forsook the resources of familiar melody and harmony." Tonal practice is always in the service of articulating the broader dramatic and melodic content. Like most of his works, the Second Symphony is imbued with a special vigor and confidence.
Professional musicians and concert-goers alike will rejoice in this inexpensive, authoritative edition of one of the most popular symphonies of the twentieth century."