A Biographical Multimedia Mosaic...



Godfred Skjerne, an historian of music, was one of the few people in the musical world that could see the uniqueness and the qualities of Langgaard's music. In 1916, Skjerne wrote a portrait of Langgaard in Illustreret Tidende. Of all the articles written about Langgaard in his lifetime, this one shows the greatest insight, but by itself it was not enough to pave the way for a wider understanding of what Langgaard was striving to achieve.

This photograph of Langgaard at his harmonium in his home in Niels Juelsgade was taken in 1916 to illustrate an article in "Illustreret Tidende" portraying Langgaard, written by Godtfred Skjerne. The 22-year-old composer was at that time working on Symphony No. 4, which he outlined in the course of a week in March 1916.

Skjerne wrote as follows concerning Langgaard's isolation:
"... The world of music here at home is so narrow. Misinterpreted by some, hardly understood by others, so far the passive resistance has been strong enough to keep him out, as he stands alone, far from the swarming anthills of the cliques..."

About Langgaard's conception of music, Skjerne had this to say:
"For [Langgaard]... music is... a reality, not just form, and not just a picture. For him music is almost something transcendental, a sort of clairvoyancy which can only be reached with music as the medium; something mysterious, in other words, that fills the soul, something visionary, to which music offers the only road."

Finally, Godtfred Skjerne possessed an - almost prophetic - insight into the way in which Langgaard's music interprets, comments on and supplements the Romantic tradition in music. Langgaard's production, according to Skjerne is, "an inexhaustible source of enrichment and renewal of the normal approach to music".