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Dacapo - The National Music Anthology of Denmark

Format:  SACD

Catalogue Number:  6.200001

Barcode:  0747313300167

Release month:  Jan 2009

Period:  Early 20th Century


Rued Langgaard: The Symphonies

01 July 2009  Gramophone
Guy Rickards

The course of Rued Langgaard’s 16 symphonies (17 given the two very different versions of No 5 in Dacapo’s sevendisc complete survey) was neither smooth nor logical, with a bewildering array of styles, forms and durations, from the hour-long First (1908-11) – with 1890s Strauss as its starting-point – to the tiny single-span Eleventh (1945) and Twelfth (1946), just six and seven minutes apiece.

Listening to the set makes for an intriguing if unsettling experience. There is logical development of sorts through the first six (even if No 3 is really a piano concerto); had Langgaard stopped there in 1930 his canon would seem no more irregular than Melartin’s but the increasingly archaic manner of Nos 7-9 (1925-42) show his musical language and expressive equilibrium unravelling. There’s synthesis of sorts in the multi-layered Tenth (Yon Dwelling of Thunder, 1944-45) but Nos 13-16 (1946-51) inhabit uneasy worlds of unreconciled styles where the borderlines with pastiche are blurred.

Chaotic, vigorous and vital in equal measure, Dausgaard, Danish Radio and Dacapo do the cycle proud, as well as a gaggle of shorter pieces encapsulating his lyrical, dramatic and polemical qualities.

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