Even though the revival of Carl Nielsen's music in the late '60s proved to be nearly as revelatory as the slightly earlier promotion of Gustav Mahler's symphonies, the pace of recordings at the time was quite sluggish. Indeed, by the early '70s, the discography of Nielsen's symphonies included a smattering of releases by Leonard Bernstein and Eugene Ormandy for Columbia, Jascha Horenstein on Nonesuch, and Ole Schmidt on Unicorn, along with these utterly superior recordings by Herbert Blomstedt and the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra for EMI. The six symphonies were recorded between 1973 and 1975, and for their time were the best available recordings of Nielsen's music.
Although it is an unfinished and in many ways defective novel, Franz Kafka's The Trial has fascinated readers for more than 80 years. Several attempts have been made to film it – notably, by director Orson Welles – and also to turn it into an opera. Danish composer Poul Ruders is the latest but probably not the last person to do so. His librettist is Paul Bentley, who also provided Ruders with an excellent libretto for his compelling operatic version of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.
The wind quintet made up of the principal players of the Danish National Symphony are fairly well-known from their earlier recordings. And Ralf Gothóni, who joins them for Poulenc's Sextet for Piano and Winds, is a strikingly sensitive pianist, particularly in chamber settings. The program itself is very strong; it comprises basically the core of 20th-century French wind quintet literature: the Poulenc Sextet, Ibert's 'Trois Pièces brèves,' Françaix's First Wind Quintet, and Milhaud's 'Le Cheminée du roi René.'