Mogens Wöldike was a student in Copenhagen of Carl Nielsen and Thomas Laub, who reformed the music of the Danish Church; in addition he studied musicology at Copenhagen University. In 1922 he was appointed conductor of the Palestrina Choir, whose repertoire was focused upon choral music of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; in 1928, with Wöldike directing, it took the first prize at the Milan International Choral Competition. He founded the Copenhagen Boys’ Choir in 1924; five years later it became attached to the choir of Christiansborg Chapel (where Wöldike was appointed choirmaster and organist in 1931) and during the same period the Copenhagen Municipal Choir School was created to assist the choir’s development. The Copenhagen Boys’ Choir gave its first significant concert in 1933 and following World War II it toured throughout Europe, including visits to the Aldeburgh and Edinburgh Festivals. Wöldike was appointed choirmaster and conductor for Danish Radio in 1937, and between 1943 and 1945 he conducted for Swedish Radio. His organ chorale compositions were published in 1943, 1960 and 1982, and with his son-in-law, Jens Peter Larsen, he edited the hymnbook of the Danish Church (1954, 1973). He served as organist at Copenhagen Cathedral from 1959 to 1972.
During the post-war period Wöldike developed an international career as a guest conductor in Europe and America, and he made several highly regarded recordings for a variety of labels, including Decca, the Haydn Society and Vanguard. These included exemplary and at times vigorous, if essentially predictable for the period, interpretations of works by J. S. Bach, Haydn, and Mozart on the one hand, and by his teacher Nielsen on the other.
© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — David Patmore (A–Z of Conductors, Naxos 8.558087–90).