- Rued Langgaard
Rued Langgaard (born Rud Immanuel Langgaard
28 July 1893- died 10 July 1952) was a late-Romantic Danish composer, organist, and conductor. His then-unconventional music was at odds with that of his Danish contemporaries and was recognized only 16 years after his death.
Copenhagen, Rued Langgaard was the only son of composer and Royal Chamber musician Siegfried Langgaard (1852–1914) and Emma Langgaard (née Foss, 1861-1926), both of whom were pianists. At the age of five Rued began taking pianolessons with his mother, and later with his father and a private teacher. His talent emerged quickly, and at seven he was able to play Schumann's " Davidsbündlertänze" and Chopin's mazurkas. By then he had begun to compose short pieces for the piano and play the organ. At 10 he began to study the organ under Gustav Helsted, organist at the Jesuskirken in Valby, and the violinunder Chr. Petersen, formerly of the Royal Orchestra.
At the age of 11 he made his first public appearance as an organist and improviser on the organ at a concert at the Frederikskirken (Marmorkirken) in Copenhagen. When he was 12, he started to study
music theoryunder C.F.E. Horneman and, later, Vilhelm Rosenberg.
Langgaard's first compositions, 2 piano pieces and 2 songs, were published when he was 13, and around that time he was taught
counterpointby the celebrated composer Carl Nielsenfor about a month. A year later, his choral work "Musae triumphantes" was performed at a concert in Copenhagen, marking his public debut as a composer. During his teen years he continued composing and travelled with his parents around Christmas and New Year's Eve, meeting conductors Arthur Nikischand Max Fiedler.
At 18, Langgaard served as assistant organist at the Frederikskirken (Marmorkirken) in Copenhagen. The following year (1913) his "Symphony No. 1 "Pastorals of the Rocks" received its first performance at a concert in Berlin with the
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestraunder the baton of Max Fiedler.
His father died in 1914, and from 1915 to 1917 he was assistant organist at the Garnisons Kirke in Copenhagen. From 1917 onward he applied without success for the post of organist at a large number of churches in Copenhagen. In 1922 a young woman named Constance Tetens moved in with Rued Langgaard and his mother in Copenhagen. A year after his mother died in 1926, Rued Langgaard married Valborg Constance Olivia Tetens.
Although Rued Langgaard was given a state grant from the age of 30, his works and job applications were almost continually rejected by the establishment. Only at the age of 46 did he manage to obtain a permanent job, as the organist at the cathedral in
Ribe, the oldest town in Denmark, situated in southwest Jutland. Just shy of his 59th birthday, Rued Langgaard died in Ribe, still unrecognized as a composer.
Rued Langgaard composed in a late Romantic style, emphatically dramatic and endowed with colossal mood swings. Unquestionably, he was influenced by
Richard Wagnerand Richard Straussand, like Strauss, he was a master of orchestration. He was a prolific composer for the large orchestra, writing 16 symphonies as well as other orchestral works.
"Music of the spheres" is one of his better-known works. It is a symphonic work of great complexity, calling for a large orchestra, organ and choir, a supporting (distant) orchestra including a soprano voice, and a further piano on which the strings are played directly rather than via the keys. It was composed during
World War I, but only performed twice (in Germany in 1921-1922) during Langgaard's lifetime and lay dormant for almost 50 years before being rediscovered. When it was rediscovered in the late 1960s, it was considered remarkably modern and reflective of the pathfinding style in which Langgaard composed.
His unorthodox style and sense of drama extended to the titles of his compositions. His fourth and sixth symphonies are known as the "Leaf Fall" and "Heaven Storming". His symphonies Nos. 13 and 16 are named "Faithlessness" and "Deluge of Sun", respectively. Examples of descriptive names for individual movements are "Wireless Caruso and Compulsive Energy" and "Daddies rushing off to the Office" (in symphony no. 14, "The Morning").
His total production of over 400 works included more than 150 songs, works for piano, organ, and an opera entitled "Antikrist" ("The Antichrist").
* "Symphony No. 1 "Pastorals of the Rocks" (1911)
* "Symphony No. 2, "Awakening of Spring" (1914/1933)
* "Symphony No. 3, "The flush of youth (La Melodia)" (effectively a piano concerto in one movement of about 30 minutes, 1916/1933)
* "Symphony No. 4, "Fall of the Leaf" (1916/1920)
* "Symphony No. 5" (1st version, 1918/1926)
* "Symphony No. 5, "Nature of the Steppe" (2nd version, 1920/1931)
* "Symphony No. 6, "Heavens Storming" (1920/1930)
* "Symphony No. 7" (1st version, 1926)
* "Symphony No. 7, "By Tordenskjold in Holmen's Church" (2nd version, 1926/1932)
* "Symphony No. 8, "Memories at Amalienborg" (with mixed chorus, 1934)
* "Symphony No. 9, "From Queen Dagmar's City" (1942)
* "Symphony No. 10, "Yon Hall of Thunder" (1945)
* "Symphony No. 11, "Ixion" (1945)
* "Symphony No. 12, "Helsingeborg" (1946)
* "Symphony No. 13, "Belief in Wonders" (1947)
* "Symphony No. 14, "Morning" (with mixed chorus, 1948/1951)
* "Symphony No. 15, "The Storm at Sea", (with baritone solo and male chorus, 1938/1949)
* "Symphony No. 16, "Deluge of the Sun", (1951)
*Despite sharing some thematic material, the differences between both versions of the "Fifth Symphony" are so important and so many, that these are really two separate symphonies.
Other orchestral works
* "Drapa" (On the Death of Edvard Grieg, 1909)
* "Death of a Hero" (1908)
* "Sphinx" (Tone Picture, 1913)
* "A Thing of the Past" (1919)
* "Symphonic Festival Play" (1920)
* "Prelude to "Antikrist" (original version, 1923)
* "Music for "The Dream of a Poet" (1926)
* "The Dance of the Muses on Helicon" (Concert Ouverture, 1925/1939)
* "Prelude to "Perdition (Antikrist)" (1923/1930)
* "Prelude to "Everyman" (1923/1936)
* "The Danish National Radio" (Fanfares, 1948)
* "Mistèrio (The Phantom Ship)" (1932)
* "Symphony no. 3 "The Flush of Youth (La melodia)" (1916/1933)
* "Concerto (in one movement) for Violin and Orchestra" (1944)
* "Interdikt for Organ and Orchestra" (1948)
* "Sunday Sonata for Violin, piano, organ and orchestra" (1950)
* "From Arild", Concerto for piano and orchestra freely adapted from compositions by Siegfried Langgaard" (1937)
Chorus and Orchestra
* "The Dream (Sinfonia interna)" (1916/1945)
* "Sea and Sun" (with soprano or mezzosoprano; version with chorus by Mike Cholewa after the composer's sketches, 1915/1940s)
* "The Music of the Spheres" (soprano or mezzosoprano solo & choir, 1918)
In recent years, many of his works have been recorded, including recordings by Danacord of his complete symphonies on seven CDs. [http://www.danacord.dk/collections/langgaard.html] This cycle, with the Artur Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Ilya Stupel, is now gradually being followed by a second cycle recorded by Dacapo with the
Danish National Symphony Orchestraunder the baton of Thomas Dausgaard. [http://www.dacapo-records.dk/?page=artist&id=1442&typemask=1&search=Langgaard] Both cycles have had their share of critical recognition.
Other works of Langgaard currently available on CD include "Music of the Spheres", "Messis" (Organ drama in three evenings), "Antichrist" (Church opera in six scenes), "Duo Lys Pa Himlen", piano concertos, "The End of Time", and various works for solo instruments. [http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/classical-artist-search/Langgaard%2C%20Rued]
* [http://www.naxos.com/composerinfo/594.htm Very short Naxos biographical note on Rued Langgaard]
* [http://www.danacord.dk/collections/langgaard.html Danacord entry to Rued Langgaard] , "a white duckling who became an ugly swan".
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