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James Leonard
Allmusic.com, July 2009

LANGGAARD, R.: Symphonies Nos. 12, “Helsingeborg”, 13, “Undertro” and 14, “Morgenen” (Danish National Symphony, Dausgaard)
6.220517

LANGGAARD, R.: Symphonies Nos. 15, “Sostormen” and 16, “Syndflod af Sol” (Danish National Symphony, Dausgaard)
6.220519

LANGGAARD, R.: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3 (Danish National Symphony, Dausgaard)
6.220516

LANGGAARD, R.: Symphonies Nos. 4, “Lovfald” and 5, “Steppenatur” (2 versions) (Danish National Symphony, Dausgaard)
8.224215

LANGGAARD, R.: Symphonies Nos. 6, “Det Himmelrivende”, 7 and 8, “Minder ved Amalienborg” (Danish National Symphony, Dausgaard)
8.224180

LANGGAARD, R.: Symphonies Nos. 9, “Fra Dronning Dagmars by”, 10, “Hin Torden-bolig” and 11, “Ixion” (Danish National Symphony, Dausgaard)
8.224182

LANGGAARD, R.: Symphony No. 1, “Klippepastoraler” (Danish National Symphony, Dausgaard)
6.220525

There are too few recordings of the music of Rued Langgaard, possibly because of the composer’s limited output. Of his 16 symphonies, the series of works upon which his reputation primarily rests, there are, with only few exceptions, just two recordings of each work—those recorded in the early ’90s by the Arthur Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Ilya Stupel, and these recorded in the late ’90s and early 2000s by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra under Thomas Dausgaard. Of the two sets, this one by Dausgaard and the Danish orchestra is vastly preferable. The Danish orchestra is far more unified and professional, and their performances have a cogency and polish that the Polish orchestra conspicuously lacks. Dausgaard also seems to have affinity for, and understanding of, his countrymen’s music, while Stupel seems to have lots of enthusiasm but little comprehension of Langgaard’s work.

Born in 1893, Langgaard, a very late Romantic, embraced of the clichés of Romanticism without the burden of self-consciousness. There are searing parallel diminished seventh chords that were avant-garde in the 1840s, towering funeral marches that were cutting edge in the 1870s, and achingly slow movements that were de rigueur in the 1890s, but they all sound distinctly and painfully out of place in works composed decades later. Coupled with these anachronistic stylistic anomalies is Langgaard’s acute lack of self-criticism and self-restraint. Passages of tremendous banality and awesome bombast abound; in fact, it could be said that Langgaard’s music is essentially banal and bombastic and is too infrequently relieved by passages of unfeigned sincerity and seemingly unpremeditated beauty. For many, the ratio of banality to beauty in Langgaard’s music may be prohibitively weighed in the favor of the former. For listeners for whom the nine symphonies of Langgaard’s Swedish contemporary Kurt Atterberg are the last word in Scandinavian symphonism, however, Langgaard’s 16 symphonies may be just what they’ve been waiting for. Da Capo’s sound is rich, deep, clear, and colorful.



Paul Turok
Turok’s Choice, June 2009

LANGGAARD: Symphony No. 1, “Klippepastoraler” (Danish National Symphony, Dausgaard) 6.220525

LANGGAARD:  Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3 (Danish National Symphony, Dausgaard) 6.220516

LANGGAARD: Symphonies Nos. 4, “Lovfald” and 5, “Steppenatur” (2 versions) (Danish National Symphony, Dausgaard) 8.224215

LANGGAARD: Symphonies Nos. 6, “Det Himmelrivende”, 7 and 8, “Minder ved Amalienborg” (Danish National Symphony, Dausgaard) 8.224180

LANGGAARD: Symphonies Nos. 9, “Fra Dronning Dagmars by”, 10, “Hin Torden-bolig” and 11, “Ixion” (Danish National Symphony, Dausgaard) 8.224182

LANGGAARD: Symphonies Nos. 12, “Helsingeborg”, 13, “Undertro” and 14, “Morgenen” (Danish National Symphony, Dausgaard) 6.220517

LANGGAARD: Symphonies Nos. 15, “Sostormen” and 16, “Syndflod af Sol” (Danish National Symphony, Dausgaard) 6.220519

Rued Langgaard’s sixteen symphonies and several shorter orchestral works are beautifully played by Thomas Dausgaard and the Danish National Orchestra with assists from soprano Inger Dam-Jensen, tenor Lars Petersen, baritone Johan Reuter, pianist Per Salo, the Danish National Choir and National Vocal Ensemble (hybrid SACD [some recorded DDD and remastered] 6.200001, seven discs). Langgaard’s haunting opera, “Antichrist” had a certain grittiness but lacked profile. The grittiness, it turns out, was more a function of his style in 1921 than a permanent feature of his music. The first three symphonies seem to have been written in a time warp. The First subtitled “Mountain Pastorales,” (1908–1911) utilizes, rather impressively, the Straussian orchestral apparatus, but without the latter’s very distinctive materials. The result is a busy, noisy, rambling and unfocussed score. The Second  (1912–14) requires a solo soprano and the Third is a concertante work for piano and orchestra with a noticeably bland solo part. The Fourth (1916, “Fall”) is eccentric music in one movement, with a rather original flow. The Fifth (1917–1931), of which two versions are included (the revision much more convincing than the original) is heavily influenced by Nielsen in sound and harmony. The Sixth (1920, revised 1930, “The Heaven-Rending”) has a wonderfully dissonant first movement, the most striking music of the early symphonies. Something happened between the Sixth and Seventh Symphonies. The composer turned on Strauss and Nielsen and espoused the earlier style of Gade, very evident in the Seventh (1926), especially the finale, although the orchestration remains in the Strauss orbit, producing odd effects in the remaining symphonies, some of which are very short pieces: Nos.11 and 12 are, respectively, six-and-a-half and seven minutes long, making them more like the short pieces on Disc 7 (Drapa, Sphinx, Hvidbjerg-Drapa, Denmarks Radio (fanfares) and Res Absùrda than the rest of the symphonies, which average over 20 minutes. There are two exceptions to Langgaard’s stylistic rambles. The Ninth (“From Queen Dagmar’s City”) deals with a 13th-century Queen of Denmark, so the older idioms seem more convincing. The last symphony, No.16 (1950–51, he died in 1952) is impressive, as if the composer finally came to grips with his self-imposed stylistic restrictions and surpassed them. On the whole, the music, although well made and well sounding, has a tendency to ramble, no matter whose style it is written in. Langgaard was too unorthodox for his time, and, unfortunately, for ours. Excellent sound.



Michael Jameson
ClassicsToday.com, June 2001

"Thomas Dausgaard's reading of Rued Langgaard's Symphony No. 6 'Det Himmelrivende' (The Heaven-rending) with the Danish National Radio Symphony brings to four the number of times the work has been recorded (three by this same orchestra). ­KDausgaard's recording of Symphony No. 7 claims to be a world first, but that's true only in that it's the first recording of the piece in its 1926 revision, which differs little from the Danacord performance under Stupel; but again, Dausgaard's is much better played. Langgaard's Symphony No. 8 'Minder ved Amalienborg' is a ceremonial, heraldic work, much the most publicly accessible music on this disc, and Dausgaard plays it for all it's worth, securing pomp and nobility in the outer sections in which the brass playing is notably sonorous."






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