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Rued LANGGAARD (1893-1952)
Eight Songs – Emil Rittershaus (1908-13) [33:43]
Fünf Lieder (Five Songs) (1914) [09:57]
Fem erotiske digt (Five Erotic Poems) – Vilhem Krag (1915) [14:00]
Jens Krogsgaard (tenor); Jan Ole Christiansen (piano)
rec. H Herning Kongrescenter, Denmark, February 2016

Born in Copenhagen the son of Siegfried, himself a composer and music teacher, Rued Langgaard does not conform to the usual model of the twentieth century Nordic composer. Not for him the influence of his fellow countrymen and national folklore. His main influences came from central Europe and especially Germany. This influence can be clearly heard in the eighteen songs presented on this disc, in which a leaning towards Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner can be identified.

Langgaard composed 143 songs although only 65 were ever performed before his death in 1952. Of the songs performed here the Eight Rittershaus Songs are musically the most interesting. They have the more complex vocal line and grander piano accompaniment. The booklet notes on these songs do not seem to point to them being a cycle, rather just a collection of songs by the one poet. This is in contrast to the other two sets which are certainly designed to be performed as cycles. The Fünf Lieder on texts by J. v. Eichendorff and H. Heine, are musically simple and concise when compared to the Rittershaus Songs, and have a piano line that suits the poems well. In the Fem erotiske digte to texts by the Norwegian poet Vilhelm Krag, Langgaard varies his musical style between the simple and the more complex in order to express the different aspects of love and obsession. There are some interesting effects in these songs with many being quite attractive.

For me the problem comes with the singer. I find Jens Krogsgaard to be at the edge of his range. There are times when he almost sounds like a stretched high baritone rather than a tenor. This is especially evident in the Eight Rittershaus Songs where he employs too much vibrato with the effects being unpleasing. He performs the tenor role in the Dacapo recording of Langgaard’s Sinfonia interna (8.224136) where his voice is much better, and I am glad to say that in the Fünf Lieder and the Fem erotiske digte his voice is more secure and at times suits the music well. Jan Ole Christiansen proves himself an excellent pianist and a thoughtful accompanist.

Stuart Sillitoe

Previous review: John France

Track Listing
[1] Für Dich [2:58]
[2] Sie Schläft [4:07]
[3] Die Sonne meines Lebens [2:44]
[4] Das Auge [3:53]
[5] Sterben [6:12]
[6] Frühlingsnacht [8:45]
[7] Halte still [2:36]
[8] Mit Hellen Augen [2:38]

Fünf Lieder
[9] Frühlingsgruss (J. v. Eichendorff) [0:59]
[10] Morgendämmerung (J. v. Eichendorff) [2:45]
[11] Was ist mir denn so wehe? (J. v. Eichendorff) [2:16]
[12] Ich weiss einen grossen Garten (J. v. Eichendorff) [1:05]
[13] Ein Fichtenbaum (H. Heine) [2:52]

Fem erotiske digte (5 Erotic Poems) - Vilhelm Krag
[14] Og atter ser jeg (Once again, I see) [2:05]
[15] Naar du kommer (When you arrive) [2:12]
[16] Lys nat (Bright night) [2:50]
[17] Serenade (Serenade) [3:20]
[18] I de forunderlige, blonde nætter (In the wondrous, blond nights) [3:33]



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