Nielsen Sheet Music

By | August 20, 2021

Nielsen Sheet Music and Biography

Photograph of Carl Nielsen c. 1908 dressed smartly
Carl Nielsen

Carl Nielsen (born 9 June 1865) is probably the most famous Danish composer who ever lived.

His symphony No.4, ‘The inextinguishable’ is one of his most played works.

We have a small selection of arrangements of his work Fog is Lifting arranged for different instruments on

For many years he was on the front of the hundred-kroner bank note.


Nielsen was born in Denmark into a poor family and was one of twelve children. His father was a house painter who was also a fiddler and cornet player, often playing in local celebrations. Nielsen studied violin and piano as a child but was apprenticed at a shop as his parents didn’t believe in a musical career. However, the shop went bankrupt. Nielsen then decided to teach himself brass instruments, thus joining a military band a the age of nineteen, whilst continuing to play the violin. He played with his father at weekends. After being introduced to the director of the Royal Academy in Copenhagen, Niels Gade, Nielsen gained an early release from the military and in 1884 began to study at the Academy.


In 1888 at the age of twenty-three he premiered his Op.1 Suite for Strings. A year later he took the position of the second violinist in the Royal Danish Orchestra, a post he held for sixteen years.

He took a teaching post in 1916 at the Royal Danish Academy, a position he retained until his death in 1931.

His opera Maskarade has very much become a part of the National Heritage in Denmark.

During his life, Nielsen was fairly unknown in his own country and internationally, however since his death his music has become firmly ingrained into musical history. Initially by Leonard Bernstein in the 1960s, and then in 2006 three of his works were listed by the Ministry of Culture amongst the twelve greatest pieces of Danish music.


Johannes Brahms and Edvard Grieg provided Nielsen with his early inspiration. However, he soon generated his own style which often reflected the troubles in his life including a period known as his ‘psychological’ which reflected his emotion during his tempestuous marriage to the sculptor, Anne Marie Brodersen.

Between 1890 and 1925 he wrote six symphonies. The most famous being Symphony No. 2 (The Four Temperaments), Symphony No. 3 (Sinfonia Espansiva), and Symphony No. 4 (The Inextinguishable).

Additionally, he wrote many songs, two operas, and three concertos, for violin, flute, and clarinet.

Here is a brief YouTube clip of The Inextinguishable with its turbulent beginning.

Later Years

Nielsen wrote his memoirs in 1927 ‘Min Fynske Barndom‘.

Following a series of heart attacks, he was admitted to hospital in October 1931 and died shortly after with his family at his bedside. Apparently, his last words as his family stood around him were; ‘You are standing here as if you were waiting for something.’

Nielsen Sheet Music Downloads and Further Reading

On we have a few arrangements of Nielsen sheet music in PDF format for you to download.

For further reading about this composer take a look at Wikipedia and Britannica.

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  1. Pingback: Gade: Niels Wilhelm. Sheet Music and Biography - Music Scores Blog

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