Rued Langgaard


Rued Langgaard had one of the most remarkable careers - and was perhaps the greatest musical talent - in all of Danish music. Rued Langgaard was brought up by his artistic parents to hold arch-Romantic, religio-philosophical views on art. Yet Langgaard was not deaf to the modern development of music, and took his Late Romantic tonal idiom to such highly original extremes that it could no longer maintain its Romantic grounding. This led to the first of the two long pauses in composition in his life, and to a subsequent output of works that were deliberately anachronistic.

The Danish music world looked askance at Rued Langgaard, a lonely eccentric who was the only Dane to go all the way with Late Romanticism. In 1940 he was engaged for the first time in an official capacity, as the cathedral organist in Ribe, far from the music life of the capital. And there he lived, a bitter man, until his death, regarding Carl Nielsen as the epitome of all that was wrong with the music of the age. Nevertheless, one finds traces of Nielsen in the most modernist works of Langgaard.

Rued Langgaard wrote over 400 works of which numerous are recorded for Dacapo: The 16 symphonies and many other orchestral works, the six string quartets, piano and organ works, choral music, songs and the religious vocal drama Antichrist. It was only at the end of the sixties that eyes were opened to the quite special qualities of his often unique musical idiom. And there are still great works by Langgaard awaiting their first performance.

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