Carl Nielsen – The Human Crisis, Then and Now

  • John Fellow


Beginning with an account of the context in which the Carl Nielsen Brevudgaven (translated: The Carl Nielsen Letter Edition) began, this paper describes the source material for the eleven volumes and separate index. Eight volumes have already been published; the Edition will be completed in 2014. While the Edition is still a work in progress, it highlights the stages, themes, and general progression of Carl Nielsen’s life and the way these interact with his family, the music and cultural scene, and society in general. How private is the Edition, one might ask, and what does his private life have to do with his music? Is there a connection between life and art, or is there no connection, or perhaps the opposite: that the artistic visions, and the struggles to express and communicate them, affected the private lives of both husband and wife?The artistic outlook of Carl Nielsen is characterised on the basis of evidence in the source material, from his own statements as well as those of his colleagues. This was not a narrow-scope artistic discussion for them, but a debate on human emotional life itself and the structure of the human psyche: it was human development at this deep level that music both ought to and could influence. And that is what it increasingly did, also in a destructive way. What does the whole wretched business of our own age have to do with that of Carl Nielsen’s time period? How can we benefit from his answers? Have we come up with better answers? And if so, why are we even discussing Carl Nielsen?
How to Cite
Fellow, J. (2012). Carl Nielsen – The Human Crisis, Then and Now. Carl Nielsen Studies, 5.