According to American conductor Alan Gilbert, composer Carl Nielsen needs no advocacy in Stockholm. Gilbert, who served as principal conductor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic for eight years, came away feeling Nielsen was one of the biggies; only to find the Danish composer not getting the same airplay in the United States. Now, as music director of the New York Philharmonic (since 2009), Gilbert aims to do something about that. He initiated a program called The Nielsen Project. Over several seasons the Philharmonic will play all Nielsen’s symphonies and concertos.
It’s possible Carl Nielsen has more of a foothold in the Midwest. WFMT has all but worn out its copy of the Nielsen Clarinet Concerto which Fritz Reiner recorded with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Benny Goodman in 1966. The CSO performed Nielsen’s Fifth Symphony a year ago; it was conducted by Sakari Oramo who is the present conductor at the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic—maybe there is something to that.
Alan Gilbert talks about the powerful connection he feels with this composer.