Carl Nielsen in the United Kingdom

  • Paolo Muntoni


The United Kingdom has always been receptive to the Danish composer Carl Nielsen. For a long time Great Britain was the only country outside Scandinavia to show interest in his works, which met both the favour of the public and the appreciation of critics. No other country has produced such a comprehensive list of articles, studies and reviews about Nielsen’s music. An overview of the commentaries on Nielsen’s most performed works, namely the Fourth and Fifth Symphony, published on two major British newspapers – The Times and The Guardian – documents how the opinion on his music constantly changed. Critiques range from an initial enthusiastic acclaim to a half-hearted appreciation, and later to revaluation and revival. An analysis of a selected work, the Sixth Symphony, sheds light on the breadth and variety of what can be now considered a well-established research tradition. Robert Simpson pioneered such research in the 1950’s, but it was during the last decade of the 20 th century that the most interesting developments unfolded. Despite the wide range of interpretations, it is possible to track within British research on Carl Nielsen some underlying features that, in interplay with other factors, can help to explain the composer’s popularity in the UK.
How to Cite
Muntoni, P. (2012). Carl Nielsen in the United Kingdom. Carl Nielsen Studies, 5.