Carl Nielsen is now widely celebrated as Denmark’s greatest composer, particularly for his symphonies, which range from late Romantic explorations to more audacious neo-classicism in the later years. In the tone poem Pan and Syrinx, Nielsen began to express some of his more adventurous harmonies and timbres which he then expressed more fully and in more abstract form in his masterpiece Fifth Symphony. Nielsen had an obsession with ancient Greece and its myths and the inspiration for Pan and Syrinx is drawn from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The story concerns the chaste nymph Syrinx who is chased by Pan to the river’s edge, where the river nymphs grant her request for assistance by transforming her into water reeds. From the reeds, Pan fashioned his original set of panpipes. Nielsen’s short work expresses the natural world, the conflict between the male and female forces, the anxiety of chase and transformation and the unsettled ending of the tale. Nielsen frequently chose it for performance when he created a program of his own works. The Orchestral colours are original and striking and display the composer’s restless inventiveness.