© 2021 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Classical 101

Carl Nielsen: "Inextinguishable" and Exciting

Danish composer Carl Nielsen wrote his Fourth Symphony during the First World War.  It is the most often performed of his six symphonies and reflects the turmoil and tension of that time, a time of such great destruction that it seemed Europe was about to destroy itself. And yet, in spite of that, after a musical struggle that includes battling timpani drums placed on opposite sides of the orchestra, the symphony ends in a gloriously positive affirmation of life.  The title, "Inextinguishable," was from the composer himself, who said that by it he meant the "elemental will to life." Reflecting on the turbulent and violent time he was living in, the composer said, "Soon the plants would begin to multiply, the breeding and screaming of birds would be seen and heard, human aspiration and yearning would be felt.  These forces, which are inextinguishable, are what I have tried to represent." The powerful rhythmic drive and harmonic and melodic boldness that characterize much of Carl Nielsen's music are heard to good advantage in this exciting symphony.  You can hear it on Symphony at 7 tonight in it's entirety. Here is a sample: http://youtu.be/8VFn2Pt3m8Q