Rued Langgaard

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Rued Langgaard

Rued Langgaard (born July 28, 1893 in Copenhagen , Denmark , † July 10, 1952 in Ribe ) was a Danish composer and organist .


Langgaard grew up in a musical family; both parents were pianists. He received extensive musical training at an early age and was already an excellent organist at the age of 11.

In 1913 his one-hour first symphony Klippepastoraler (Rock Pastorale) was premiered by the Berlin Philharmonic . His 11th and 12th symphonies, on the other hand, only last a few minutes - symphonic miniatures. Despite some early successes, his life tended to be one of withdrawal and a lack of recognition. Among other things, there was the shadow of Carl Nielsen , the great Danish composer. When Nielsen took a rather clear, classicist modern path, Langgaard indulged in symbolist-romantic works and spoke of "divine inspirations".

His work is characterized by ecstatic feelings and exaggerated emotions, but also by an ingeniously applied craft and spontaneous, lateral thinking creativity that produced almost avant-garde works such as the music of the spheres (1916–1918). Langgaard crisscrossed the styles of music history between expressionism , romantic sentiment and the first minimalism experiments . Companions remember an eccentric, sensitive musician, introverted and oppressed by the world, but with great seriousness and vision. It was not until the age of 47 that Langgaard received a position as organist in Ribe Cathedral , and he died eleven years later in Ribe.

His estate, over 400 compositions, was forgotten. It was only rediscovered by musicologists and performers at the end of the sixties. Even György Ligeti was inspired by compositions by Langgaard. Nowadays various labels have recordings of his symphonies in particular. Concerts in Germany are very rare.


Langgaard is one of the composers to be discovered. Even in Danish music history he is a loner who does not fit into any template stylistically. With his extensive oeuvre, however, he is one of the most important Scandinavian composers at the beginning of the 20th century.


The extensive work can only be presented here in an overview. Langgaard wrote the opera Antikrist , 16 symphonies, 7 string quartets, chamber music, a large number of organ and piano works as well as vocal music with orchestra and piano, the most important works being the spherical music for soprano, choir, orchestra and distant orchestra (1916-1918) and Lenaustemninger ( Lenau - Moods, BVN 138) for soprano and string quartet (1917). The list of his works was compiled by the Danish musicologist Bendt Viinholt Nielsen in his work Rued Langgaards Kompositioner . The corresponding abbreviation is BVN.


  • Symphony No. 1 in B minor Klippepastoraler (Cliff Pastoral) (1908/09, rev. 1909–11)
  • Symphony No. 2 Vaarbrud (Spring Awakening) based on words by Emil Rittershaus with soprano solo (1912–14, rev. 1926–33)
  • Symphony No. 3 Ungdomsbrus (youth intoxication ) with piano and mixed choir ad libitum (1915/16, rev. 1925–33)
  • Symphony No. 4 Løvfald (Autumn Paths ) (1916, rev. 1920)
  • Symphony No. 5 Steppenatur ( Steppe Nature) (1917/18, rev. 1920, 1931)
  • Symphony No. 6 Det Himmelrivende (Das Himmelreißende) (1919/20, rev. 1928–30)
  • Symphony No. 7 Ved Tordenskjold i Holmens Kirke (At Tordenskjold in the Holmens Kirke) (1925/26, rev. 1930–32)
  • Symphony No. 8 Minder ved Amalienborg (Memories at Amalienborg) with tenor solo and mixed choir (1926–28, rev. 1929–34)
  • Symphony No. 9 Fra Dronning Dagmar By (From Queen Dagmar's City) (1942)
  • Symphony No. 10 Hin Torden-Bolig (That Abode of Thunder) (1944/45)
  • Symphony No. 11 Ixion (1944/45)
  • Symphony No. 12 Hélsingeborg (1946)
  • Symphony No. 13 Undertro ( Faith in Miracles ) (1946/47)
  • Symphony No. 14 (Suite) Morgenen (Der Morgen) with mixed choir (1947/48, rev. 1951)
  • Symphony No. 15 Søstormen (The Storm at Sea) based on words by Thøger Larsen with baritone solo and male choir (1937/49)
  • Symphony No. 16 Syndflod af Sol (Flood on the Sun) (1950/51)

Further orchestral works


  • Antikrist (Allegorical Opera) (1921-23)
  • Fortabelsen (Antikrist) (1921-1923 / 1926-1930) [2. Version of the opera Antikrist]
  • Vildstjernelys (Opera in One Picture) (1921–1923 / 1946)

Web links