Due to an impulse buy in a CD shop, I have just had my first encounter with the music of Rued Langgaard (Symphonies 12, 13, 14) and, quite frankly, I don’t know what to make of him. His musical language is clearly late 19th century but the form and structure of his works certainly are not. Whilst I like to let the music speak for itself, I find the titles of his works and of the individual movements of his Symphony No. 14 (which appear to be very much tongue-in-cheek) a major distraction. Am I missing the point here?
A boxed set of his symphonies has now arrived (on the DaCapo label), and what a magnificent set it is, and not only the music, but even the box itself. Whilst many of the recordings were originally issued on CD, they have all been re-mastered to hybrid SACD format. I have not listened to them all yet, but continue to be both intrigued and perplexed by those I have.
Langgaard apparently had a thing about Nielsen who he thought was strangling both Danish musical life and himself and wrote an ode to him of the most parodically overblown kind to be repeated ad infinitum, like Satie’s Vexations.