Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) was a Danish musician, often seen as his country’s greatest composer. While his operas and songs have become embedded in the cultural heritage in his native Denmark, internationally he is better known for his symphonies and concertos – distinguished by his prominent use of Brass instruments and dramatic changes in tonality.
His Symphony No.2 (Op.16, FS. 29) was written in 1902 and subtitled The Four Temperaments. Each movement paints a musical picture of one of the four classical temperaments: Choleric, Phlegmatic, Melancholic, and Sanguine. Despite mixed critical reviews when it was first performed, today it has grown to become Nielsen’s best loved orchestral work.