Ludolf Nielsen – Hjortholm op. 53
(b. Nørre Tvede, 29 January 1876 – d. Copenhagen 16 October 1939)
Ludolf Nielsen is only one of the many Danish composers who have fallen into oblivion due to the overpowering shadow of his namesake Carl Nielsen. Raised on a farm on the island of Zealand, he received his first music lessons from local musicians and military musicians. At the age of 16, Nielsen moved to Copenhagen for further studies. Like Sibelius, Nielsen began as a talented violinist with a promising future as a virtuoso, and eventually got a free place at the conservatory where he studied violin as his main subject. Nielsen did not, however, become acquainted with the wealth of European music until 1897, when he joined the orchestra of the Tivoli Theme Park as a violist. Through orchestral playing, but also through self-study, Nielsen taught himself to be a composer and achieved his breakthrough with the symphonic poem Regnar Lodbrog, first performed in 1902. From then on, he was considered one of the most important musicians in his country – a status he was able to consolidate through his three symphonies and not least the opera Isbella and the extremely successful ballet Lackschmi. In 1926 he was appointed music consultant to the newly founded Danish Radio (DR), where he played a decisive role in the programming. A car accident with serious psychological consequences in 1932 upset his balance. Nielsen is no longer able to compose. In 1939 he died of a thyroid disease.
Ludolf Nielsen’s oeuvre, comprising some 200 works, includes operas, symphonies, symphonic poems, ballets, music for plays, works for solo instrument and nearly 100 songs. …
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