Browse our catalogue by:
The Danish Lied (or art song) history is strong and deeply rooted in the Western European vocal music tradition. The German Lied entered into Danish music already in the 18th century and has found its own character through generations of integration with the traditional Danish popular tone. The majority of Danish composer shave, over the years, produced works for the professional Lied scene, and Edition·S has published hundreds of these works during its almost 140 year history.
A good handful of composers have made themselves noteworthy within this genre:
The songs by C.E.F. Weyse – a major contribution to the Danish Golden Age
One of the first morning songs a Danish child learns is I østen stiger solen op (The Sun Rises in the East) by C.E.F. Weyse (1774 – 1842). This song was penned for the first nurseries in Copenhagen by the poet B.S. Ingemann, and the two celebrated artists collaborated on some of the most well-known songs in the history of Danish music. Their Morning and Evening Songs are firmly embedded in the Danish cultural canon. And rightly so. Not only The Sun Rises in the East but also other morning songs such as Nu titte til hinanden and Nu vågne alle Guds fugle små belong, along with evening songs such as Der står et slot i vesterled and Dagen går med raske Fjed a.o., to the songs we cannot do without.
A boy of German origin and of unusual musical talent, Christoph Ernst Friedrich Weyse (b. 1774 in Altona) was sent to Copenhagen by his parents at the age of only 15 in order to be educated by J.A.P. Schultz, who was composer and conductor at the Royal Theater. Schultz soon realized that Weyse had exceptional abilities and offered him free lodging and tuition until he became self-sufficient as an organist and music teacher. Weyse received, by Danish standards, a distinguished career. From 1805 he was organist for the Church of our Lady in Copenhagen, in 1816 he was nominated honorary professor at the University and in 1819 named as court composer to King Frederik VI.
Weyse’s contribution to the Danish art song tradition is monumental. His Songs with Piano were published by Edition·S in 2007 in a two-volume prestige version edited by Sten Høgel.
Composers like Herman D. Koppel (1908-98), Poul Rovsing Olsen (1922-82) and not least Erik Norby (1936-2007) are three composers of recent times whose have contributions to the renewal of the Lied tradition in Denmark are considerable. Norby’s Songs with piano (and a few with other instruments as well) have become modern classics in the repertoire and are being used in concerts and master classes throughout the Scandinavian countries.
Norby’s and Rovsing Olsen’s songs have been published collectedly, whereas Koppel’s still appear in individual editions.
One hugely productive composer of art songs deserves special mention, namely Rued Langgaard (1893-1952). A composer of more than 430 works, among those 16 symphonies, a large number of other orchestral works as well as the opera Antichrist, Langgaard was also one of the most industrious contributors to the Lied repertoire. His musical style varies throughout his productive period and moves from late Romantic to almost modernistic (Ligeti, for example, expressed a strong affinity to Langgaard’s musical thinking in the 1960s), but the major part of his vocal oeuvre has a Romantic, Nordic tone. Edition·S is preparing to publish the composer’s songs in a three-volume, critical prestige edition 2011-13, in collaboration with the Rued Langgaard Edition.
Also later in the 20th century, Danish composers have picked up on the art song tradition. One should mention Gunnar Berg (1909-89) and Matthias Ronnefeld (1959-86); two composers who, in spite of different generations, still shared a love for the Central-European, serialistic tradition and brought it firmly into the Danish repertoire. Ronnefeld’s Vier Lieder für Dulcinea and Berg’s Zehn japanische Holzschnitte are true gems in the Danish modernistic vocal tradition.
Last but not least, Svend Nielsen (b. 1937) represents new currents in the Edition·S Lied catalogue. His works for solo voice and ensemble prolongs the traditional approach by extending the accompaniment from the pure piano to mixed instrumental ensemble; a formation, which has become his preferred medium. Nielsen’s songs to poems by Danish award-wining poet Pia Tafdrup have been particularly successful and are among the most frequently performed works of their kind in Denmark.