WorldView Episode 25: Ludolf Nielsen

       Episode twenty-five of WorldView is only the second ever show to feature only one artist: Danish composer Ludolf Nielsen. The work, Symphony No. 3 in C major—with a run-time of fifty-four minutes—is not as famous as his operas, but it is one of Nielsen’s most well-known symphonic compositions. 

        Karl Henrik Ludolf Nielsen was born in Nørre Tvede, Denmark, in January of 1876. Despite being raised in a non-musical family, he took up violin at a very young age. After studying with several local artists and musicians, he moved to Copenhagen; shortly thereafter, he was awarded a scholarship to attend the Danish Royal Academy of Music. Despite being educated in violin, piano, and music theory, his interest in composition was largely innate and self-cultivated. In the 1890s, Nielsen was hired by the Tivoli Orchestra first as a violinist and later as conductor. Around this time, his first widely received work, Regnar Lodbrog, was published, launching his career as a composer. 

         After the first World War temporarily halted his work as a composer, Nielsen turned to the stage in 1922 with the publication of his most famous ballet, Lackshmi. He also wrote more than one hundred shorter tone poems and the Skovvandring orchestral suite. However, this period marked the end of his composition career. Nielsen spent around a decade working as a programmer for Danish National Radio and held a few minor orchestral positions. He died in October of 1939, at the age of 63. 

         In this episode, the German-based Bamberger Symphoniker performs Ludolf Nielsen’s third Symphony, conducted by Frank Cramer. The work was composed between 1911 and 1913, one of only a few pieces written by Nielsen during the WW1 era. Symphony No. 3 in C major also marked the end of the composer’s symphonic career; however, it remains one of the most largely orchestrated symphonies ever written by a Danish artist. The work is divided into four movements.


WorldView Episode Twenty-Five Playlist:

Ludolf NIELSEN, “Symphony No. 3 in C major, op. 22”, {Bamberger Symphoniker, Frank Cramer} – Dacapo


WorldView is a classical music radio show featuring composers from everywhere in the world – except Western Europe. Tune in to hear works by lesser-known artists such as Gabriela Montero and Bright Sheng, and widen your knowledge of classical music. Hinke Younger hosts each week’s episode of WorldView on Mondays at 9AM and again at 6PM on


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