In the composer's workshop

Strange signs and strange deeds

The manuscripts from Langgaard's later years contain some strange signs which have nothing to do with musical notation, but which must have had some very personal significance for the composer.


The sign just after the year "48" - a wedge with a half-circle under it (the latter is not always included) - is found in many of Langgaard's rough drafts from 1947-50, as a rule at the beginning and end of the music. It may mean that the composer felt paticularly, perhaps even divinely, inspired when he wrote the music, or it might indicate that the music was written for the cathedral in Ribe. The fact is that this sign is reminiscent of the shape of the granite decoration over the entrance doors to the cathedral.


The sign also appears in the fair copies of the manuscripts, but in a 'hidden' form. Notice the way in which Langgaard writes the word, "Ribe"; he has concealed the pointed wedge in the letter R. Langgaard's normal way of writing R may be seen in the signature below.

The noting of the exact time along with the date is typical. Langgaard suffered from sleeplessness, and used to get up at three or four in the morning (or even earlier) and go for a morning walk in Ribe. With his usual sense for curious details, he always noted the exact time on manuscripts produced in the early hours.