Nielsen - Four Dances from Aladdin for two flutes and piano

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Carl Nielsen: from the music for the drama Aladdin (1918/19).

For many centuries composers have received inspiration from the oriental Fairy Tales from 1001 Nights. In Denmark C. E. F. Horneman composed a brilliant overture to Aladdin in 1864, but only added the remaining music for the drama many years later. The Royal Danish Theater never used new or original compositions for the drama of Oehlenschläger, but cut and pasted in existing compositions of Kuhlau and Gade. In 1918 the Royal Theater wanted a large-scale performance, a show, which would be played on two consecutive evenings with animals on the stage, several hundred actors and artists, and the possibility of using all their advanced technical equipment. For such a drama Carl Nielsen was commissioned to write the music. But what could have become an oriental play ended up a disaster with the staging headed straight towards complete failure. Even when divided to be played in two evenings, the play turned out to be too long. Half of the music of Carl Nielsen was cut and the orchestra was placed behind the stage. Carl Nielsen was so depressed that he asked not to be mentioned in the program notes and even threatened to withdraw the music! Nielsen was present at the first performance, but he was upset. „What was this?“ asked Knud Jeppesen, who was sitting next to the composer, when some strange sounds arose from behind the stage. „This was the last chord of a symphonic piece!“ answered the sad and discouraged Carl Nielsen.  

But time has helped the colorful music of Aladdin – especially the four pieces which are here assembled as a small suite. I have chosen to arrange „Dance of the Morning Mists“, „Hindu-Dance“, „Chinese-Dance“ and the „African Dance“, which Carl Nielsen originally (1918) named „Negro-Dance“.  

Many thanks to Toshinori IshiharaAndrás Adorján and Henrik Svitzer, who all have urged and encouraged me to arrange these small musical gems of Carl Nielsen. This publication was made possible by support of the Carl Nielsen Foundation.  

Toke Lund Christiansen 
Copenhagen, June 2015

Arranged by Toke Lund Christiansen
Duration: 12 min.

Published: 2015



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