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Langgaard: Symphonies No 12, 13 & 14 / Dausgaard, Et Al

Release Date: 01/30/2007 
Label:  Dacapo   Catalog #: 6220517   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Rued Langgaard
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony OrchestraDanish National ChorusDanish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.

Rued Langgaard was a loon, but a compelling loon. His Fourteenth Symphony has fanciful titles like "Radio-Caruso and forced energy" and "Dads' rush to the office", but the music is retro-Romantic, with just enough off-kilter sounds to make you question whether his is affection homage or straight caricature. Symphony No. 13, "Belief in Wonders", is simply a half hour of lovely music, tuneful and tinged with nostalgia. Its predecessor, Hélsingborg, with the emphasis on the "Hell", dates from a time when the composer despaired of, well, everything. It lasts
Read more a mere seven nihilistic minutes, but somehow manages to be fun all the same. Langgaard no doubt would have objected to that description, but then crazy people are sometimes unwittingly entertaining.

In short, if you've been collecting this excellent series then you need this disc. The performances are uniformly outstanding, beautifully played, and excitingly conducted by Thomas Dausgaard, and the sonics are terrific. Langgaard spent his entire career in opposition to something--secularism, modern life, the neo-classicism of Carl Nielsen, his much-loathed wife--but he somehow manages never to sound merely bitter. However miserable his life was (and much of it was his own doing), his love of music for its own sake shines through all of these quirky but very approachable symphonies. Certainly their dates of composition (the mid to late 1940s) cast a fascinating light on Denmark's highly diverse range of compositional work in the mid 20th century.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

Langgaard, mad or eccentric, suffered the Nielsen eclipse and resented it. It did not however stem his profusely creative talent. There are sixteen symphonies (1908-1951) and a great deal else including the opera Antikrist. Dacapo have been recording a complete cycle of the symphonies which although with different couplings rivals the complete cycle from Ilya Stupel on Danacord. It differs from it in that all the Dausgaard cycle is based on the new corrected edition of the symphonies issued by Edition Samfundet – Rued Langgaard Udgaven. This latest issue is on SACD although I reviewed it in standard CD mode.

The Twelfth Symphony is in a continuous span of only seven minutes with episodes marked in the score as follows: Furiously! - Distinguished! - Increasingly agitated - Wildly - Like trivial last trumps! - Hectically nervous! - Andante lento - Lento misterioso - Poco allegro marcato - Allegro - Furiously! - Amok! A composer explodes. Bendt Viinholt Nielsen has been Langgaard’s champion in much the same way that Lewis Foreman has championed Bax. He provides the customarily excellent liner-notes and tells us that this symphony is a reinterpretation of the epic First Symphony premiered in Berlin in 1909. The music has its roots resolutely stuck deep in the nineteenth century (Schumann and Tchaikovsky) but exuberant infusions from Richard Strauss.

The opening and closing figure of the seven movement Thirteenth Symphony is shared with Langgaard’s Seventh. The language is much as its predecessor but I also detect some Brahms in the mix as well as some Beethovenian bluster. The music shivers with vitality. Langgaard’s accommodating way with including light music inspiration in his symphonies puts in an appearance in the sixth movement, marked Elegant. The finale even sports a Nielsen-like skirl, lighter inspirations, brass ‘over-emphasis’, Schumann scherzo and melodic material and concert piano used to the point of vulgarity to adumbrate rhythm.

The Fourteenth Symphony opens with a massively exultant Introductory fanfare for chorus and full orchestra. Its tone is part Beethoven’s Choral Symphony and part Verdi Requiem. It’s a glorious din evocative or invocatory of the Second Coming of Christ. The other movements of Morgenen are: II Unnoticed morning stars (serene and gleaming strings) ; III The Marble Church rings (rapturous and glowing writing with a decidedly Schumann-like character; rather like the later movements); IV The tired get up for life; V Radio-Caruso and forced energy; VI ‘Dads’ rush to the office (nothing pell-mell – more a leisurely Mendelssohnian procession made original by the repeated spinning ostinato on the violins at 1:12); VII Sun and beech forest. That finale sees the return of the chorus but the music is now more leisurely. The exaltation and exultation of the first movement has faded into a soothing sunset – without exertion but bathed in sentimental light.

There’s no denying that Langgaard wrote in a completely incongruous idiom. The evidence is everywhere. That hardly matters and will matter even less as the decades pass. What does matter is that he writes fascinating and vulnerable music that still has the capacity to surprise and enchant. Thanks to everyone involved in the making of this disc that Langgaard can still speak affectingly to today’s audiences.

-- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 12, BVN 318 "Hélsingeborg" by Rued Langgaard
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra,  Danish National Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946; Denmark 
Length: 7 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Symphony no 13, BVN 319 "Undertro" by Rued Langgaard
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra,  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Danish National Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946-1947; Denmark 
Length: 27 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Symphony no 14, BVN 336 "Morning" by Rued Langgaard
Conductor:  Thomas Dausgaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Danish National Symphony Orchestra,  Danish National Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1948/1951; Denmark 
Length: 28 Minutes 15 Secs. 

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