A dark understream is present on new album with Langgaard's chamber music
On Friday 13 August the album Music of the Abyss is to be released, presenting chamber works by Rued Langgaard and painting a portrait of a deeply divided young composer.
Rued Langgaard (1893-1952) was divided, both as man and as composer, and an outsider in Danish musical life with his late romantic musical idiom and religious presentiments. We experience the division, manifest to an extreme, on the album Music of the Abyss. The album is recorded by Esbjerg Ensemble and soprano Signe Asmussen, and presents chamber music for winds, strings and voice written between 1913 and 1924.
From youthful idyl to personal crisis
Langgaard's personal view of the world changed radically in his youth. In the two earliest works on the album, Augustinusiana. A musical joke and Scherzo on the Motifs C A and ‘Ach du lieber Augustin’, we are still in the safe world of his youth. His Septet for winds is backwardlooking, written in the language of the musical classics and incorporating an element of Danish folk music.
In the later work Lenau Moods for voice and string quartet, a dark musical understream can be sensed as a witness of Langgaard's personal crisis and inner existential battle, which was heralded by the death of his father and greatest supporter, Siegfried Langgaard. The composer now immerses himself in a magical dream world and a religious sphere, which can also be experienced in At flowering time, also for voice and string quartet.
Musical doomsday visions
The album presents the work Music of the Abyss in the first recording of Allan Gravgaard Madsen's transcription for ensemble. The works is originally composed for solo piano in the 1920s, when Langgaard was also deeply absorbed in his apocalyptic opera Antichrist, and ideas of evil and human egocentricity.
Gravgaard Madsen's transcription adds new dimensions to the inner tension, flattering character and Gothic shivers of the work. The meeting between Langgaard and Gravgaard brings to a climax the work’s view of modern man’s destructive strength in a crazy ride towards the abyss.