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Danish pastry

BASIL RAMSEY listens to
symphonies with hang-ups

dacapo    8.224182

Rued Langgaard: Symphonies 9-11 (p) 2001 Dacapo Records, Copenhagen


All countries have possessed composers destined to a life of nationalistic music -- men (and occasionally women) of talent who had neither the will nor, in many cases, the provision of striking characteristics to identify their music. Rued Langgaard, despite the presence of sixteen symphonies was very much a loner, even in his homeland of Denmark. The Danish record label dacapo in association with Danish Radio has several times included Langgaard in compilations, and here's a CD of three of his symphonies -- 9, 10, 11 -- played by none better than the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

The content of these works is varied, ranging from the Edwardian overtones of Symphony 9, which denies anything that might give Langgaard an individual voice, to the equally repetitive material of the single movement that constitutes Symphony 11, entitled Ixion. Symphony 10 Yon hall of Thunder [listen -- track 5, 24:45-25:45] redeems Langgaard's reluctance elsewhere to construct symphonic movements of more than a banana skin. The sleeve note compares it to a Strauss symphonic poem, which is a reasonable supposition. It is hard to understand a finely-tuned musical mind with hang-ups that jeopardise both his music and reasons for spoiling it.


Copyright © 2 March 2002 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK






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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular Saturday series of shorter CD reviews