ON LANGGAARD, LIGETI, DAUSGAARD - AND "MUSIC OF THE SPHERES"
"The celestial and earthly chaotic music from red-hot strings that life plays with predator's claws - this life with its rainbow-coloured wreath around its marble face and its stereotyped yet living demonic smile as from lily cheeks."
This surreal description heads up the 26-year-old Rued Langgaard's score for Music of the Spheres, which was composed between 1916 and 1918. The work had its first performance in Germany in 1921, and although its was one of the few Langgaard works that was published in the composer's own lifetime, the work was completely forgotten - or perhaps rather ignored - until long after his death.
Rediscovered by a star composer
Music of the Spheres was not rediscovered until 1968, when the famous Hungarian composer György Ligeti was to study a selection of modern Scandinavian compositions at a symposium in Copenhagen. In the heap of scores that was presented to him by the composer and professor Per Nørgård, Music of the Spheres was hidden. And Ligeti was shocked to discover that many of the techniques he himself had developed in his music had in fact been anticipated by the outsider Rued Langgaard over half a century before. "Ladies and Gentlemen, I am just a Langgaard imitator", the famous Hungarian composer said on that occasion.
First English performance - delayed by a century
Now, almost a century after Music of the Spheres first appeared, the work has come into focus at one of the world's highest-profiled festivals of classical music, the BBC Proms, where it is to be given its first English performance when the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, the Danish National Vocal Ensemble, the Danish National Concert Choir and a group of soloists under the baton of Thomas Dausgaard are to give a guest performance at London's legendary Royal Albert Hall on 11th August. At the Proms Thomas Dausgaard has chosen to stress the affinities between Langgaard and Ligeti by putting works by both composers on the programme.
New CD hits the streets
Concurrently with the Danish guest performance at the BBC Proms a new CD of Music of the Spheres will appear, recorded by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, the Danish National Vocal Ensemble, the Danish National Concert Choir and Thomas Dausgaard. The CD further features two of Langgaard's other major works, The Time of the End and From the Deep. This is the crowning glory of Thomas Dausgaard's and the Danish National ensembles' critically acclaimed series of recordings of all Langgaard's symphonies.