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Oslo Philharmonic - The Triumph of Life: Beethoven / Nielsen


Carl Nielsen's symphony "The Inextinguishable" is the composer's tribute to the power of life, written during a global crisis.

Ludvig van Beethoven's (1770–1827) Violin Concerto was performed for the first time in Vienna in 1806. In a time when the world was shaken by the Napoleonic wars, the concerto starts with five tentative strikes to the timpani, faintly echoing the cacophony of war. The opening motive runs like a red thread through the whole of the first movement, which upended conventions on what a concerto could be.

Carl Nielsen's (1865–1931) Symphony No. 4, named "The Inextinguishable" was written in the years 1914–16, while a new war raged across Europe. The composer's marriage was also in crisis at the time. The symphony displays signs of conflict from the very beginning, and the timpani which set the mood in the introduction, echo a thundering outbreak of war in the final movement, before the work concludes in unambiguous triumph.

Nevertheless, Nielsen made it clear that the symphony did not reflect any concrete happenings and is not descriptive in any way. Instead, it describes the life force which is behind the world's events – and behind the music itself. As he noted in his comment to the work: "music is life, and like life, inextinguishable".

Ludwig van Beethoven Violin Concerto
Carl Nielsen Symphony No. 4, "The Inextinguishable"


Andrew Manze - conductor
Veronika Eberle - violin

  • Last Updated: 10/15/2021
  • Source: VisitOSLO as

Thu, March 3, 2022 7:00 PM 10:00 PM

Fri, March 4, 2022 7:00 PM 10:00 PM

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Oslo Philharmonic - The Triumph of Life: Beethoven / Nielsen
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