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The Rued Langgaard Edition
An outstanding musical production on Edition·S
Rued Langgaard (1893-1952) has today acquired status as one of the most important Danish composers of the first half of the 20th Century. He was during his lifetime nevertheless an outsider and an eccentric figure that followed his own path. In spite of the fact that Langgaard already as a teenager made his mark as an exceptional talent, he failed to gain a foothold in Danish musical life. It wasn’t until the age of 47 that he received his first and only appointment as cathedral organist in the southwest Jutland town of Ribe. Interest for his ‘different’ music was aroused in 1968, and after 1993, which marked the centenary of his birth, there has been growing attention for his music amongst musicians, ensembles and record companies. The highly praised recording of the opera Antichrist on DVD and the 2010 performance of The Music of the Spheres at the Proms in London are amongst the many examples of this.
At the time of his death less than 10% of his large production of more than 400 works had been published and, with the exception of these, his works were only to be found as manuscripts. The manuscripts furthermore bear to a high degree the mark of the composer’s characteristic means of working with many revisions, re-workings and reuse of previously composed music in new works. A large part of the manuscripts were, with other words, not directly suitable for use as performance material.
Rued Langgaard Edition (RLE)
A new recording of Langgaard’s 16 Symphonies with the DR Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Thomas Dausgaard was begun in 1999, and this provided the impetus to establish a critical, musicological and at the same time performance-practical edition of Langgaard’s works. Rued Langgaard Edition (RLE) was thus established in the same year with the primary task of producing editions of the symphonies for the recording sessions, which were first completed in 2008. Besides this critical editions of a large number of chamber works and other titles have been undertaken. In 2009 Langgaard’s largest work, the opera Antichrist, was published and in 2011 his expansive Symphony No. 1, which was premiered in Berlin by the Berlin Philharmonic in 1913, was also published. Selected titles are printed and published in a traditional manner while RLE normally prepares editions which are delivered by the publisher on a print-on-demand basis.
RLE has its own website on which all the works that are published in the form of a critical edition appear. Nevertheless all of Rued Langgaard’s works are accessible, if not in printed form, then in the form of a copy of the manuscript. They can be ordered at www.edition·s.dk
The basis for the publications has been the registration and cataloguing of the composer’s manuscripts that was compiled by the edition’s chief editor Bendt Viinholt Nielsen and which was implemented in 1991 in the work list Rued Langgard’s Compositions.
Rued Langgaard Editions’ future course is planned up until 2018, at which point all major works by the composer will hopefully be available in critical, performance ready editions.
In March 2012 Dacapo Records released the album String Quartets vol. 1 with Nightingale String Quartet's distinctly dramatic interpretation based on the Rued Langgaard Edition. It was highly acclaimed by critics and nominated for Danish Radio P2 Prize 2013 "Best CD of the year" and BBC Music Magazine Awards 2013.
"If you are already a Langgaard fan, this will be an essential aquisition" and "Highly recommended" wrote SA.CD.net
The Danish newspaper Politiken describe it with the words: "Immersive and powerful... The groundbreaking tone picture in Langgaard's second string quartet gets a new found vigour."