A Biographical Multimedia Mosaic...

First symphony

Rued Langgaard photographed in April 1909, working away at his first symphony (photgraph privately owned).

Langgaard's first symphony is a thematic symphony in five movements, with musical roots that go back to Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony and Berlioz' Symphonie fantastique. Langgaard's theme is the upward striving of the human soul, symbolised by a climb from the breakers at the foot of the cliff up to the top of the mountain, where the cool air and the broad vistas fill the heart with courage to face life anew. In the1940's the symphony was given the title Klippepastoraler (Pastorals of the Rocks).

This work is the closest we come in Danish music to the great, Late-Romantic symphony of the dimensions of Bruckner or Mahler.

Listen to the beginning of the first movement, Brændinger og Solglimt (Breakers and Glimpses of Sun).