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Spring Symphonies, No 73 - Nielsen: Symphony No 4 "Inextinguishable"

Of all of the symphonies in this brief survey there are two I hold dear.  They provide a tremendous invigorating impact with a positive sense of what we can be and they are in the end paragons of optimism and generosity.  They are both by composer Carl Nielsen: the third and fourth in his canon.  In other essays I’ve written about his life as a composer, in this one I think I’m bound to say more about my journey as a listener.  
Two things struck me about Nielsen 4 when I first encountered it.  Firstly, in that facile way of adherents, that it must be a great symphony because so many people talked about it: it had pedigree. It had a name “The Inextinguishable” which was intriguing and Karajan had recorded it (which in those days counted for a lot for some of us).  And the other thing was - much as I loved the noise it made - I couldn’t make head nor tail of the music though.  I’ve come to realise that the former doesn’t matter and the latter is most important. 

It is a short work and …

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