How about turning a very specific mood into a symphony movement? While working on his first opera, Nielsen finished his second symphony, subtitled “The Four Temperaments”: ‘The Choleric’, ‘The Sanguine’, ‘The Melancholic’ and ‘The Phlegmatic’.
Nielsen got inspiration from a painting hanging on the wall of hotel room he was staying in, in New Zealand. Himself and his friends found the painting rather comical. And yet, he went back to it more often than he expected. The end result was his second symphony, performed here by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra led by Leonard Bernstein.