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 of 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.5 (Op. 50, FS. 97) was composed in 1922, and is often seen as his “War Symphony”, despite the composer denying any such direct influence. Strangely, it is formed of only two movements, and does not have any title. Often said to be a modernist piece, it is constantly restless, some would say pulsating. Brought to fame by Leonard Bernstein in 1962, scholars and musicians are still trying to understand this enigmatic work.