A Biographical Multimedia Mosaic...

Carl Nielsen

"Carl Nielsen is important because he tore down what Gade had built up. Apart from this I have nothing more to say."

This was what Langgaard had to say when the newspaper, Dagens Nyheder, asked him for some words of remebrance in October 1931, shortly after Carl Nielsen's death, but even while Nielsen was alive, Langgaard had already begun to make negative statements in public about him. Carl Nielsen's dominant position of power, and the guru status he enjoyed in the musical life of the time had become too much for Langgaard.

In an interview in B.T. in May 1927, Langgaard took the opportunity to attack Carl Nielsen, saying that Nielsen's instrumentation was bad, that he was not a good conductor, and was in no way convincing in musical terms. When the interviewer then asked what the importance of Carl Nielsens was, Langgaard replied bluntly: "Can one speak of any importance at all?"!

For Langgaard, Carl Nielsen came to be a symbol for everything in the musical life of the time that had conspired to keep him on the outside. Since at the same time Nielsen was one of Langgaard's most important sources of musical inspiration, his relationship to Nielsen could not help being ambivalent, and not a little "problematic". In Langgaard's last years - 20 years after Nielsen's death - his obsession became almost paranoid.