Dacapo Records enters into cooperation with legendary orchestra for a Danish outsider’s first symphony
In June, Rued Langgaard’s Symphony no. 1 will be performed and recorded by the Berlin Philharmonic and the conductor Sakari Oramo, the setting being a mini-festival in Berlin about the composer. The recording will release in the autumn.
The Danish composer Rued Langgaard (1893-1952) was an outsider in Danish musical life during his lifetime and only in recent years has he had his international breakthrough. Now Langgaard’s music is about to see another high-water mark when his Symphony no. 1 ‘Cliffside Pastorals’ is performed by the legendary Berlin Philharmonic at three concerts and recorded for Dacapo Records.
An outsider returns home
Langgaard was an outsider in Denmark, because he consistently wrote music in the late-Romantic style, unlike his contemporary colleagues. His Symphony no. 1 ‘Cliffside Pastorals’ is not only one of his most comprehensive works but also one of the most ambitious Danish symphonies. It lasts a whole hour and was written for 105 musicians – a large format that was more in line with tendencies of the time in Central Europe than in Denmark.
Langgaard completed the symphony in 1911 when he was 17 years old, but no one in either Copenhagen or Stockholm displayed any interest in performing it. Instead, Langgaard handed over the score to Berlin Philharmonic, which led to the symphony having its first performance at a concert with a full Langgaard programme in Berlin in 1913.
Now Langgaard’s first symphony will be returning home to Berlin when the work is recorded under the leadership of the Finnish star conductor Sakari Oramo, who already has Langgaard under his skin. ‘Sakari Oramo has the ability to make complex music transparent and clear,’ OPUS wrote about the Vienna Philharmonic and Oramo’s recording of Langgaard’s Symphonies nos. 2 & 6 (6.220653), which also received a Gramophone Award.
A high-water mark for Danish music
The recording with the Berlin Philharmonic will be released on a CD and streaming by Dacapo Records in autumn 2022.
‘It is a true high-water mark for Dacapo Records and for Danish music to realise this project with one of the world’s absolutely best orchestras,’ says Henrik Rørdam, CEO of Dacapo Records.
‘This is of enormous importance for the recognition of Danish music and at the same time it marks a real breakthrough for Langgaard in Germany which, among other things, comes in the wake of a number of successful performances of his opera Antichrist,’ Henrik Rørdam explains.
Spoils of war in Moscow
The symphony has had a turbulent existence after its first performance in Berlin. Back then, Langgaard gave the original score to Fürstliches Institut für musikwissenschaftliche Forschung in Bückeburg, but until 2004 the score was not registered anywhere and it was assumed lost in connection with the Second World War.
In 2004, the score was found in a collection of German library materials that had been confiscated as spoils of war by the Russian occupying forces and taken to Moscow, but in 1959 it was handed over to the then DDR. Subsequently, the score was placed in storage in Berlin among relatively valueless materials and forgotten until rediscovered 45 years later.
Langgaard in Berlin
German audiences will gain ample opportunity to become better acquainted with Langgaard’s music in June, when concerts, talks and a special exhibition of the refound original score will be the setting for the three Langgaard concerts by the Berlin Philharmonic on 16-19 June.
The Danish Nightingale String Quartet, which has recorded all of Langgaard’s string quartets, will also visit Berlin and give two concerts, at the Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung and the Danish Embassy respectively. Berliners can also get to know Langgaard’s piano and organ music at two concerts, featuring Berit Johansen Tange and Birgitte Ebert respectively.
The three concerts at the Berliner Philharmonie will be introduced by pre-talks at the Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung by the trombonist in the Berliner Philharmoniker, Jesper Busk Sørensen; the artistic director of the Rued Langgaard Festival, Esben Tange; Carsten Schmidt from the Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung; the conductor Sakari Oramo; and moderator Sarah Willis.
Langgaard in Berlin is carried out in collaboration with the Danish Embassy in Berlin, Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung in Berlin, Rued Langgaard Festival, Stiftung St. Matthäus, and Dacapo Records