The ideas behind the music

The Antichrist motif

"Antichrist symbolises some of the deepest tendencies of our time", wrote Langgaard in 1924 in an interview about the opera, Antikrist (Antichrist).

Nietzsche's book, Der Antichrist, was published in 1895, Selma Lagerlöf's Antikrists mirakler (The Miracles of Antichrist) two years later, and among the books Langgaard used as the basis of his first libretto for the opera was a dramatic poem by P.E. Benzon, published in 1907 and bearing the same title.

Antichrist is an 'inverted' Christ figure, an enemy of Christianity, who according to the biblical prophecies will be able to cheat and seduce mankind in the time before the end of the world. This name is found in the New Testament in the First and Second Letters of St. John, but the most colourful description of the Antichrist figure is to be found in the visions contained in The Apocalypse of St. John.

In works such as Sfærernes Musik (The Music of the Spheres, the last section of which bears the title Antikrist - Krist (Antichrist - Christ)), the Violin Sonata No. 2, which bears the motto Den store Mester kommer (The Great Master Cometh), the piano work, Afgrundsmusik (Music of the Abyss), and in the opera, Antikrist (Antichrist), including later versions and derivations, the activity of Antichrist and the proximity of the Second Coming of Christ form a deliberate conceptual programme. In the original version of the opera, Antichrist appears as a person, but it would seem that Langgaard conceived of the Antichrist rather as a sort of psychological/musical phenomenon, at once both enticing and dangerous. As Langgaard himself put it:

"Antichrist is Lucifer incarnate. His Kingdom begins at the point where nothing can be proved, and is a place reached by music. What is all the rich diversity and learning of the world compared to an insight into that Kingdom".