“Crescendo doesn’t mean you should speed up those running 8th notes in the second movement, dear oboist.”

And no, I won’t tell you which recording I’m listening to, but certainly the player should have known better. And yet I’m hearing this in a several recordings. Hmmm. Maybe my part is missing an accelerando?

The composer has here attempted to present the characteristics of the various instruments. Now they seem to interrupt one another and now they sound alone. The theme for these variations is the tune of one of Carl Nielsen’s spiritual songs, which is here made the basis of a number of variations, now gay and grotesque, now elegiac and solemn, ending with the theme itself, simply and gently expressed.

-Carl Nielsen


  1. The Nielsen quintet is far and away my fav of the WWQ repertoire. Nielsen has shown us how that smorgasborg of contrasting sonorities can add up to a dramatic, as well as musical masterpiece! Yeah, woodwind players will never have the huge, rich repertoire that string quartets have… But we’ll always have Nielsen!

    I understand Nielsen wrote that quintet for his friends in the Copenhagen quintet, and intended for it to set forth some of the personalities of the five players. He was so pleased with it, he decided to write a complete concerto for each of the instruments. Unfortunately, he only completed the concertos for flute and clarinet. Eat your heart out, Patty! 😉

  2. I guess we oboists can’t have everything. Even if we deserve it!