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Genre: Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra

Nielsen Symphony No. 2

Carl Nielsen saw a picture at a restaurant which comically depicted the four human temperaments. He portrayed what he saw in his Second Symphony – a piece of music loaded with humour, drama and Danish geniality.

With Nielsen, humour is an almost constant presence. The focus is on a sort of wittiness, as well as occasional elements of musical sarcasm. This is particularly applicable to the Second Symphony. It was composed after a visit to a village restaurant where Nielsen saw a picture on the wall which rather brutishly portrayed the four human temperaments: choleric, phlegmatic, melancholic and sanguine. All with a heavy dose of Danish geniality. He was inspired to portray each temperament in its own movement in a symphony. 

At a concert in 1931 with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Nielsen described the picture in a comment: “The choleric individual sat on a horse, a long sword in his hand, with which he gesticulated wildly through the empty air, his eyes bursting out of his head, his hair flapping madly around his face, which was contorted with rage and diabolic hatred to the point that I could not help but burst into laughter. The other three pictures were in the same style, and my friends and I were heartily entertained by the naiveté of the pictures, their overblown expressions and comical seriousness.” 

  • The music

  • Carl Nielsen Symphony No. 2 ”The four temperaments”
  • Participants

  • Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Sakari Oramo conductor

About the video

  • Filmed in September 2013.
  • The video is approximately 36 minutes.

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Genre: Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra

Nielsen Symphony No. 2

Carl Nielsen saw a picture at a restaurant which comically depicted the four human temperaments. He portrayed what he saw in his Second Symphony – a piece of music loaded with humour, drama and Danish geniality.

About the video

  • Filmed in September 2013.
  • The video is approximately 36 minutes.

With Nielsen, humour is an almost constant presence. The focus is on a sort of wittiness, as well as occasional elements of musical sarcasm. This is particularly applicable to the Second Symphony. It was composed after a visit to a village restaurant where Nielsen saw a picture on the wall which rather brutishly portrayed the four human temperaments: choleric, phlegmatic, melancholic and sanguine. All with a heavy dose of Danish geniality. He was inspired to portray each temperament in its own movement in a symphony. 

At a concert in 1931 with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Nielsen described the picture in a comment: “The choleric individual sat on a horse, a long sword in his hand, with which he gesticulated wildly through the empty air, his eyes bursting out of his head, his hair flapping madly around his face, which was contorted with rage and diabolic hatred to the point that I could not help but burst into laughter. The other three pictures were in the same style, and my friends and I were heartily entertained by the naiveté of the pictures, their overblown expressions and comical seriousness.” 

  • The music

  • Carl Nielsen Symphony No. 2 ”The four temperaments”
  • Participants

  • Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Sakari Oramo conductor

Watch in our app

The Konserthuset Play app makes it easier to experience music on your phone or tablet – or on a big screen! Read more

FAQ about Konserthuset Play

Our tips for how to best take advantage of our selection and how you watch our livestreams. To FAQ

Konserthuset Stockholm’s fundraising for the UNHCR – support the Ukrainian people

All donations are passed on daily and in full to the UNHCR and the Ukrainian people. Use Swish number 123 408 85 63 or make your donation via our booking system. Warm thanks!

Genre: Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra

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Genre: Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra

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Genre: Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra

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