Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) is one of the most playful, life-affirming and awkward voices in twentieth-century music. His work resists easy stylistic categorisation 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 at home 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. This book offers a critical re-evaluation of Carl Nielsen's music and his rich literary and artistic contexts. Drawing extensively on contemporary writing and criticism, as well as the research of the newly completed Carl Nielsen Edition, the book presents a series of case studies centred on key works in Carl Nielsen's output, particularly his comic opera Maskarade, the Third Symphony (Sinfonia Espansiva), and his final symphony, the Sinfonia Semplice. Topics covered include his relationship with symbolism and fin-de-siècle decadence, vitalism, counterpoint, and the Danish landscape. Running throughout the book is a critical engagement with the idea of musical modernism - a term which, for Nielsen, was fraught with anxiety and yet provided a constant creative stimulus. DANIEL M. GRIMLEY holds a University Lectureship in Music at Oxford, and is the Tutorial Fellow in Music at Merton College and Lecturer in Music, Landscape at University College. His previous books include Grieg: Music, Landscape and Norwegian Identity (Boydell, 2006) and the Cambridge Companion to Sibelius (Cambridge University Press, 2004).
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