Rued Langgaard: Music of the Spheres
01 November 2010
Marvellously recorded accounts of some of Langgaard's finest scores
Rued Langgaard may have been one of music's great nutcases, his output bewilderingly variable, but he was capable of writing great music. The Music of the Spheres (1916-18) is a case in point, an extraordinary tapestry for a large albeit sparingly used orchestra (with distant small ensemble accompanying a solo soprano) and choir. The work eschews traditional musical development and form for the most part in its 15 continuously played sections, proceeding more as a series of interlinked studies in sonority, shimmering textures and long drawn-out chords blending with apocalyptic
visions, in a heady cocktail of Symbolist allusion and athematicism. Dausgaard's interpretation, brought vividly to this year's Proms to much acclaim, accentuates the textural subtleties of the score in a vibrant recording that achieves amazing quietude (when the timpani are not on the rampage). Frandsen - on a treasured Danacord twofer with Symphonies Nos 4,6,10 and 14 - and Rozhdestvensky found more overt drama in the music, but Dausgaard, running five minutes longer than either, has the edge in orchestral refinement, caught to perfection by Dacapo.The Time of the End is, essentially, the suitefrom Langgaard's opera Antikrist, preserving - the Prelude aside - music from the 1921-23 original (discarded from the final version of 1930), though it only reached its final form in 1943. Dausgaard's interpretation is of a muchness with Rozhdestvensky's, coupled with
From the Song of Solomon and Interdict. From the Abyss(1950-52) was Langgaard's final completed piece, inspired by lines from the Requiem Mass. It is tempting to see it as a final valedictory memorial but is best heard as a fine if diffuse choral-and-orchestral tone-poem. It rounds out this superbly played and recorded disc splendidly. Highly recommended.