A Biographical Multimedia Mosaic...

... Scandal


The first performance in Denmark of Langgaard's Symphony No. 6 - at that time designated No. 5 - took place at a guest performance in Copenhagen on 26 September 1923 with the famous Blüthner Orchestra from Berlin. Langgaard conducted his own works (apart from the Symphony also the prelude to Antikrist (Antichrist), but not the rest of the programme.

Ekstra Bladet provided the following picture of the mood at this performance of Langgaard's symphony:

"The audience went from surprise to shock, and all along the rows of chairs there could be heard giggling, grumbling and gnashing of teeth. There were barely camouflaged cries of 'bloody rubbish'; some sighed in irritation, others spat, and one elderly lady collapsed and had to be carried out. When the piece was finally over, a tremendous hissing arose - hiss, hiss, hiss - throughout the hall, accompanied by indignant howls and peals of laughter, drowning the tepid applause. Rud Langgaard did not understand what was going on. He thought he was being called out, and stood on the stage bowing away with a bouquet of flowers in his hand.

The reaction of the critics can be summarised in two quotations:

It was "it was the titanic struggle of a fanatical musician striving to express the inexpressible - with the sad and confusing result that no one understood him, and it was terrible to hear" (Politiken) -

"... he has all the gifts, but has still not discovered what to do with them" (Nationaltidende).

Cartoon by P.E. Johannessen, 1921.