Tag Archives: Carl Nielsen Wind Quintet East Windies

Carl Nielsen (1865-1931)

East Windies Players begin 2017 by embarking on 20th Century music with Carl Nielsen’s famous Wind Quintet Op 43.  Here is some generic info about Nielsen (for starters):




Carl Nielsen age 14, 16th  Battalion, Odense
  • Denmark’s most prominent composer (orchestral and chamber music)
  • Works are organized by CNW (Carl Nielsen Works) numbers
  • Generally well-received during his lifetime, although his 5th Symphony was described by one critic as:         

“Filthy music from [the] trenches” and “Bloody, clenched fist in the face of an unsuspecting snob audience.”

Nielsen’s Wind Quintet Op 43 (1922)

  •  Written specifically for members of the Copenhagen Wind Quintet
  • Opus 43 has become a major “staple” of the modern wind quintet repertoire
  • Structure: 3 movements a) Allegro  b) Minuet  c) Prelude/Theme & Variations.
  • Variation theme based on Nielsen’s melody for his hymn:
    • My Jesus Let my heart receive
  • Performed at Nielsen’s funeral in 1931


  • Influenced by song; background interest in folk music
  • Energetic rhythms and generous orchestration
  • Ambiguous re: late Romanticism and nationalistic theme

Life Events 

  • Raised in modest circumstances on Island of Funen
  • Father worked as a house painter and occasional musician (played “fiddle” and cornet)
  • Played violin (at first self-taught/age 6) and bugle/trombone; Joined army band age 14  (16th Battalion near Odense)
  •  Played in the Violin 2 section, Royal Danish Orchestra (1889 – 1805)
  • Tempestuous marriage (open relationship) to Danish sculptor, Anne Marie Broderson (1891)            
  • Fathered five children (only 3 with Anne Marie)
  • Died of heart attack, age 66.