Lang­gaard

BBC Music Magazine - - Orchestral Reviews -

Lang­gaard: Sym­phonies Nos 2 & 6; Sym­phony No. 14 – ‘Un­no­ticed Morn­ing Stars’;

J Gade: Tango jalousie

Anu Komsi (so­prano); Vi­enna Phil­har­monic/sakari Oramo (vi­o­lin) Da­capo 6.220653 (hy­brid CD/SACD) 70:40 mins

Rued Lang­gaard had the un­just mis­for­tune, as he saw it, of hav­ing to make his name in his home coun­try, Den­mark, when its ac­knowl­edged lead­ing com­poser was Carl Nielsen. De­spite some suc­cesses in Ger­many, it ap­pears that his mu­sic’s al­most non-ex­is­tent progress in Den­mark was not just down to lo­cal ‘style wars’. ★is high-ro­man­tic, would-be tran­scen­dent style was in­deed at an op­po­site pole to Nielsen’s post­clas­si­cal id­iom; but the con­tents of this su­perbly played record­ing show

that he was also a com­pul­sively pro­lix, wildly in­con­sis­tent com­poser in ways that, even on his works’ own terms, far too of­ten don’t con­vince.

Sym­phony No. 2, Vaar­brud (The Awak­en­ing of Spring), opens with nearly 20 min­utes of cloned Richard Strauss, flu­ent yet un­mem­o­rable; the fi­nale sets Emil Rit­ter­shaus’s poem in a high-fly­ing Straus­sian line that taxes Anu Komsi’s ex­cel­lent so­prano skills. By far the most strik­ing is the cen­tral Lento re­li­gioso’s open­ing strings chorale, off­set by mu­si­cal flights of Ives­like vi­sion­ary aban­don. The Sixth Sym­phony, Det Him­mel­rivende

(The ★eaven-rend­ing), is a set of vari­a­tions on two themes, based on the Christ/an­tichrist du­al­ity that was a Lang­gaard ob­ses­sion; while the con­cep­tion is co­her­ent, the level of in­ven­tion is not. ‘Un­no­ticed morn­ing stars’, the 14th Sym­phony’s slow move­ment, is an­other chorale­like, strings-based state­ment.

Ja­cob Gade’s Tango jalousie, its open­ing vi­o­lin solo sparklingly played by Oramo, rep­re­sents the kind of plea­sure-gar­den ma­te­rial that suc­ceeded where Lang­gaard him­self could not. Mal­colm Hayes PER­FOR­MANCE ★★★★ RECORD­ING ★★★★

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