The "Rediscovery" of Langgaard - and what has
happened since

Milestones in the recognition of Langgaard's music - year for year

This was the Carl Nielsen jubilee year and Poul Nielsen, a music researcher, published an article in the Danish newspaper, the Berlingske Tidende (15.7), with the title "Do we know Langgaard?". The occasion was a couple of radio broadcasts in which Langgaard's music was presented, after it had been almost completely forgotten in the preceeding decade. Poul Nielsen had the suspicion that Langgaard's fate was, as he put it, "a cold-blooded 'musical murder'".

Langgaard's Symphony No. 16 Syndflod af Sol (Sun Deluge) was performed for the first time by the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra with Francesco Cristofoli at a Thursday Concert on 17.3. This was the first time since 1949 that one of Langgaard's symphonies had been performed in concert.

On 28.7, Langgaard would have been 75, and on this occasion (the day after), Danish Radio broadcast a number of works as new studio productions performed by regional orchestras. One of these was his Symphony No. 11, the Ixion, performed for the first time. In the following years, Danish Radio broadcast studio productions of a score of orchestral works by Langgaard.

In this year, Bo Wallner was the first historian of music to accord Langgaard a prominent place in a history of music in his book, written in Swedish, Vår tids musik i Norden (Contemporary music in Scandinavia). Wallner described Langgaard as an "ecstatic outsider".

Sfærernes Musik (Music of the Spheres) was performed for the first time since 1922 at the Scandinavian Music Festival in Stockholm on 19.9, and received much attention. Sergiu Comissiona conducted the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra.

A double edition of the Dansk Musik Tidsskrift (nos 7-8) was devoted to Langgaard. There were articles by Bo Wallner, Tage Nielsen, Jens Brincker and Gunnar Colding-Jørgensen.

Constance Langgaard died on 4.2, and shortly afterwards a foundation was set up to safeguard the composer's rights, the Langgaard Foundation.

The first gramophone recording of Langgaard's music was published. This was a shortened production of Sfærernes Musik (Music of the Spheres), performed at the Scandinavian Music Festival in Stockholm the year before.

The first Danish performance of Sfærernes Musik, featuring the Århus City Orchestra and Per Dreier, was performed in the Rundhøjhallen in Holme on 14.9 during the Århus Festival Week, and was broadcast by Danish Radio.

FONA published an LP with piano music by Langgaard played by Nöel Lee (1970?), and an LP of organ music with Jørgen Ernst Hansen, recorded in Ribe Cathedral.

Sfærernes Musik was performed for the first time at a Thursday Concert on 21.1 by the Radio Symphony Orchestra with John Frandsen conducting and Margrethe Danielsen as the soloist.

The score of Symphony No. 4 Løvfald (Autumn Leaves) was published by the Society for the Publication of Danish Music, which at the same time launched an LP of the symphony recorded by the Radio Symphony Orchestra with John Frandsen.

Symphony No. 10 Hin Torden-Bolig (That House of Thunder) was performed for the first time since its first performance in 1947 by the Radio Symphony Orchestra with Ole Schmidt in Tivoli on 28.8.

Symphony No. 14 Morgenen (Morning) was performed for the first time on 24.5 in Tivoli by the Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Radio Choir and Michael Schønwandt.

Langgaard's music was given pride of place at a new music festival, the NUMUS Festival in Århus (23-27.4).

A 20-page article on Langgaard by Jørgen I. Jensen was published in Dansk Musik Tidsskrift No. 6 (May) as a lead-up to the first performance of the opera, Antikrist (Antichrist).

Throughout the month of June, a comprehensive series of radio programmes about Langgaard, written by Poul Borum and Bendt Viinholt Nielsen, led up to the first performance on the 28.6 of the opera, Antikrist (Fortabelsen) (Antichrist - Perdition) This was a studio production by Danish Radio with the Radio Symphony Orchestra, choir and soloists, conducted by Michael Schønwandt.

The first LP dedicated to Langgaard's orchestral music was published on Danacord. It contained Symphony No. 6 and Sfærernes Musik, played by the Radio Symphony Orchestra with John Frandsen.

On 27.9, the combined Radio Symphony Orchestra and Radio Light Orchestra performed Langgaard's First Symphony Klippepastoraler (Cliff Pastorales) for the first time for many years, though unfortunately in a version quite quite viciously shortened by the conductor. The performance was recorded for television and later broadcast to the Scandinavian countries.

Danish Radio broadcast a studio production of Langgaards's composition for organ, Messis, spread over three evenings - the 25, 26 and 27.3. The organist was Erik Haumann. This was the first time the work had been played in its entirety.

The Kontra Quartet recorded six of Langgaard's string quartets, which were released by RCA on two LP's. This recording was highly acclaimed by all.

In 1985-86, Peter Aalbæk Jensen, Anker Li and Erik Zappon produced a black and white half-documentary film about Rued Langgaard at the request of Danish Television. The Film was broadcast on TV on the 2.12 (and repeated later). It was later available for hire from the National Film Centre.

At concerts held in the Tivoli Concert Hall on the 10 and 11.12, Langgaard's opera Antikrist (Fortabelsen) (Antichrist - Perdition) was performed for the first time. Soloists, choir and the Zealand Symphony Orchestra were conducted by Ole Schmidt. In 1988 this performance was released on an LP.

Danacord launched the first CD with music by Langgaard. This was a re-recording of a previous LP containing Symphonies No. 10 and 14, played by the Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ole Schmidt and Michael Schønwandt respectively.

The journal, Undr (Århus - No. 50), published a vitally important essay by Jørgen I. Jensen, entitled "Opad mod undergangen. Musikalsk form og religion hos den unge Rued Langgaard." (The Rise towards Decline. Musical Form and Religion in the younger Rued Langgaard).

Odense University Press published Bendt Viinholt Nielsen's Rued Langgaards Kompositioner. Annoteret værkfortegnelse (Rued Langgaard's Oeuvre. An Annotated List of his Works). This list filled 561 pages and was the result of 14 years' of work - identifying, classifying and registering the Langgaard manuscripts collected at the Royal Library after his death. After this it became normal practice to identify Langgaard's works with reference to their BVN-number.

Danacord released all the symphonies plus a number of other orchestral works on 7 CD's, played by the Polish orchestra, the Artur Rubinstein Philharmonic, conducted by Ilja Stubel. This initiative was rapturously received, and Jesper Buhl of Danacord received an award from the radio magazine, Boleros, for the publication of these recordings.

The first biography of Langgaard, written by Bendt Viinholt Nielsen, was published on the 28.7, the 100th anniversary of Langgaard's birth. The press gave it very positive reviews, and the publication of this book led to a number of major newspaper articles on the composer.

The first three volumes of a new series of scores, Dansk Musik fra Det Kongelige Biblioteks Samlinger (Danish Music from the Collections of the Royal Library), were published by the Society for the Publication of Danish Music. They contained String Quartets Nos 2 and 6, as well as Langgaard's Afgrundsmusik (Music of the Abyss) and Insektarium (The Insectarium)

On 10 September, The Royal Library opened a comprehensive Langgaard exhibition containing original material from the library's collections, selected by Bendt Viinholt Nielsen. In 1994 this exhibition was converted into a travelling library exhibition.

In October, and important essay on Langgaard, written by Jørgen I. Jensen, was published in Dansk Musik Tidsskrift (No. 2), entitled Gesandt fra en fjern kirke (Envoy from a Distant Church).

On 22.1, the New York Philharmonic and Neeme Järvi performed Symphony No. 6 Det Himmelrivende (The Heaven-Rending) for the first time in the USA. No response of any significance was forthcoming from the critics.

A new recording of Langgaard's Symphony No. 1 Klippepastoraler (Cliff Pastorales) was made at Chandos with the Radio Symphony Orchestra with Leif Segerstam. The August number of the prestigious German periodical, FonoForum, named it the CD of the month, and the record company announced large sales of the CD in the USA.

In July, the first scientific symposium about Langgaard was held at Svanegården on Bornholm under the leadership of Bendt Viinholt Nielsen. A small group of music researchers from the Baltic countries, Russia and Scandinavia took part, and in a series of six concerts Polish and Danish musicians performed a score of Langgaard's compositions.

The important German journal, Das Orchester (No. 9), published the first in-depth article about Langgaard in German, written by Lutz Lesle.

Engstrøm & Sødring published two volumes of hitherto unpublished piano works by Langgaard, including Vanvidsfantasi (Fantasia of Madness), and Le Béguinage.

On 27.7, Kronborg Castle in Elsinore was the setting for the premiere of a Royal Theatre performance of a new full-length ballet based on Shakespeare's Hamlet, choreographed by Peter Schaufuss. The music consisted of an hour-long excerpt from Langgaard's works (on tape), and music by the rock group, Sort Sol, specially written for the occasion. The performance was moved to the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen on 5.9.

Langgaard is presented on the Internet/WWW in the form of a project connected with Kulturnet Danmark (The Danish Cultural Network - The Ministry of Culture). The West Jutland School of Music in the person of Jørgen Mortensen took the initiative, with Bendt Viinholt Nielsen as the author and general editor.