Great Danes: Three Symphonic Albums By Danish Composers

A 1931 portrait of Danish composer Carl Nielsen by Sigurd Swane. Nielsen's symphonies are still undervalued. (The Art Arc)

Denmark may be small — smaller than West Virginia — but its musical impact is disproportionately big. Since the late 19th century, some of the best symphonists have hailed from the Scandinavian country, and though they may not be household names in the U.S., their works have influence far beyond their homeland. Three recent albums offer a glimpse of the Nordic sound, from the underappreciated Carl Nielsen, whose music is getting a boost from the New York Philharmonic lately, to his symphonic successors, the experimental Per Nørgård and the more accessible Poul Ruders.

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