[Cover graphic]
Rued Langgaard
Symphonies nos. 4 and 6
(The complete symphonies, vol. 3) Artur Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra
Ilya Stupel, conductor
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Rued Langgaard (1893-1952) [ 1 ] Symphony no. 4 "Løvfald" Leaf-fall (1916/20) BVN 124 25:46
(Samfundet til udgivelse af Dansk Musik) [ 2 ] Symphony no. 6 (1919-20/1928-30) BVN 165 20:54
"Det Himmelrivende" The Heaven-storming
(Samfundet til udgivelse af Dansk Musik) [ 3 ] Interdikt. (1947-48) BVN 335 9:19
Ved Christoffer den I's Grav i Ribe Domkirke. At the grave of Christopher I in Ribe Cathedral. (Manuscript) [ 4 ] Heltedød. Death of a Hero. (1907-08) BVN 24 12:07
Tone Poem for orchestra. (Manuscript) Artur Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra
Ilya Stupel, conductor BVN refers to: Bendt Viinholdt Nielsen: Rued Langgaard's Compositions. An Annotated Catalogue of Works. Odense Universitetsforlag 1991.
Symphony no. 4 "Løvfald" Leaf-fall Langgaard's technical command of the orchestra reached a preliminary apotheosis with the fourth symphony, which is said to have been composed in just five days. Other sources suggesting a period of four months, from 12 March to 25 July 1916, make the accomplishment little less remarkable, in that this one symphony more than any other demonstrates the calibre of its composer's skill and originality, with the one-movement form proving the perfect vehicle for the Langgaard synthesis of nature-romanticism and personal spirituality. The symphony was given the title Leaf-fall and as always with Langgaard the title should not be taken exclusively as an evocation of a season and its atmosphere. It certainly has religious overtones: in Langgaard's biblical-apocalyptic world-view, autumn and leaf-fall represent the end of the world or the time immediately preceding it. This religious symbolism becomes clearest at a passage towards the end, where Langgaard pulls up and then, bit by bit, introduces three different layers in the wind group at a spot where in the score has noted the words "Sunday morning (the bells)". Throughout his life he was attracted by the sound of bells, as may also be heard in the sixth symphony, all of which expose his unceasing quest to make his music spatial. He felt that the singlemovement form with a number of short sections made it easier to create his sound-image. Throughout the fourth symphony 'romantic' moods alternate with more restless, impatient sections, one of which introduces the work and which are given added urgency by the frequent use of string tremoli. One is at a far remove from melancholy, autumnal decay, and yet at the same time in the middle of autumn with its drama and changing moods. The separate sections, or images, have the following titles: Rustle of forest - ray of sunshine - thunder - autumnal weariness - despair - Sunday morning (the bells) - over. The first performance took place in Copenhagen's Odd Fellow Hall, now sadly burnt down, with Langgaard conducting the Copenhagen Philhannonic Orchestra. In 1920 the work was cut by 360 bars, or approximately a third, and this final version was then performed in Heidelberg and in Darmstadt, Germany, again under the direction of the composer. In later years it was given a number of times in Denmark (1939, 40, 50) and at a memorial concert for Langgaard in 1952. It was also the first Langgaard symphony to be committed to disc: this was by the Danish State Radio Symphony Orchestra under John Frandsen. in 1974.
Symphony no. 6 "Det Himmelrivende" The Heaven-storming The one work that most clearly illustrates Langgaard's attitude to life and his human involvement (but most certainly also his absolute technical mastery) is the sixth symphony, in which Langgaard releases the forces of good and evil, light and dark, and God and Satan against each other. The symphony was composed in 1919-20 and was only later christened The Heaven-storming. The symphony is one continuous movement in the form of variations on the theme heard at the very beginning, which permeates the entire work. This theme is played in both a 'pure', 'light' version and subsequently in a strange chromatic one. This theme or motif bears some resemblance to the main theme in the fourth movement of Carl Nielsen's 4th symphony which had been written three years previously, but Langgaard's purpose is entirely different from Nielsen's: what he concentrates on is not the purely musical potential inherent in it, but the exploitation of its potential as the expression of a cosmic conflict. He created a motto for the work by combining a verse by the Danish religious poet Hans Adolf Brorson with St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians: "Then Jesus used force and drove the storming armies of evil under the canopy of heaven..." The work has the following divisions: Theme (version 1) - Theme (version 11) Variation I (introduction) - Variation II (fugue) - Vanation III (toccata) - Variation IV (sonata) - Variation V (coda). The first performance took place in Karlsruhe in 1923, with Langgaard conducting, and in September of the same year he conducted it again in Copenhagen. Langgaard's propensity to revise, rework and (at this time) shorten his works also affected the sixth symphony, which was to be the subject of many changes between 1928 and 1930. On 7 July 1930 Langgaard, with the assistance of Constance Langgaard, completed a new score, which was actually to be dated November 1930. It was this manuscript that, with just a few corrections, was to become the basis for the published edition of 1946. The first performance of the revised version was given by the state broadcasting network in 1935, under the direction of Launy Grendahl, who went on to conduct the work again in 1937, 1941 and 1949. For this last performance, Langgaard prepared a programme note outlining the musical premise of the work: It is in one movement and consistently built upon one motif whose intervals immediately suggest music latching on to all different keys at once, music which bv the strict develon ment of the intervals comes to sound like modern music, but which is not. The organ motif is developed into a passage of ringing, major triad harmonies in the light, romantic style, which indeed marks the motif ffom the beginning. Langgaard's use of the word "romantic" can safely be taken as an expression of distaste for the trend in music that would have been regarded as modern at the time of the work's composition, and which would still have held little appeal for Langgaard in 1949 when the programme note was written.
Ved Christoffer den l s Grav i Ribe Domkirke. At the grave of Christopher I in Ribe Cathedral. Jaromar, the Wendish prince, joined forces with Denmark's foes during Copenhagen's Interdict - curse - in 1259, and raided Copenhagen at "Jarmer's Tower" just at the time when Christopher 1, the confounded king of Denmark who had died ffom drinking poisoned Communion wine, was to be buried at Ribe Cathedral. The work was completed under the title "Interdikt" although it had previously been entitled "In tenebra exteriores, Concerto for Organ and Orchestra". The work was started on 21st August 1947 and was completely orchestrated by 20th January 1948. Langgaard arrived at the final version by, in April 1948, adding as an introduction a completely different, independent orchestral piece called "Mistero nemico". In fact, Langgaard had originally submitted both Interdikt and Mistero nemico to the state broadcasting system as a joint programme suggestion, but when only Interdikt was accepted, he promptly wrote back that Mistero nemico was to be heard as the first movement to Interdikt (playing time in this recording 1:21). Interdikt was dedicated to the Danish conductor Launy Grøndahl (1886-1960) who also conducted the first performance of this strange and rhapsodic composition in 1950. Grondahl had more than anyone else championed Langgaard's music, and several Langgaard works received their first performances at the Danish broadcasting network under Grondahl's enlightened direction.
Heltedød Death of a Hero Shortly after completing the orchestral work Drapa (BVN 20) Langgaard started work on the tone poem for orchestra Heltedod (Death of a Hero). It is clearly a preliminary study for the great first symphony, even if none of the themes is quoted directly. But there is much in the work to demonstrate his alreadyconvincing command of the large orchestra. There are reminiscences of the music in the brief piano piece Graven (The Grave) from the same year. The work was left uncomplete until its first performance in 1976, for which the last four bars were reconstructed. The conductor on that occasion was Carl von Garaguly.
The producer would like to thank the following individuals and foundations: Messrs. Sten Uldal and Bendt Viinholt Nielsen.
Langgaard Fonden
Hotelejer Andreas Harboes Fond Augustinus Fonden
Konsul George Jorck og hustru Emma Jorck's Fond
Johanne og Ejnar Flach-Bundegaards Fond.
© Jesper Buhl
English translation: Per Sommerschield.
llya Stupel - a rising star in the musical firmament who has been described as one of the greatest conducting talents in the world - was born on 13th December 1949 in Vilnius, Lithuania. He grew up in a family whose rich musical traditions went back for several generations. He first started playing the piano aged only three, and was referred to as a child prodigy after he had joined the Conservatory in Viloius. In 1957 11ya Stupel moved to Poland where he continued his musical training; at the same time he was engaged as assistant to the famous conductor and teacher Bohdan Wodiczko of the Kato-wice Radio Symphony Orchestra (WOSPR). Stupel's Jewish descent has had a strong bearing on his fortunes, and every time his career has seemed to be in the ascendant he and his family have been forced to tear up their roots and start again in another country. So it was that in 1968 Stupel and his family left Poland and settled in their present home country, Sweden. After comprehensive studies in Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, Denmark and Italy (conducting, composition, piano and jazz) Stupel devoted himself to composing and to his new appointment as conductor at the Malmo Municipal Theatre. After a number of years of work in Scandinavia (as Head of Music at the theatre in Helsingborg and appearances in Malmo, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Aalborg, Aarhus etc.) and beyond (U S.A., Spain, France), he was in 1990 appointed Head of the renowned Artur Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra in Lodz, Poland, which has worked with such conductors as Stokowsky, Kletzki and Khatchaturian. Critics have declared unanimously that Stupcl's great strength as a conductor is his ability, by means of his unorthodox interpretations, full of vitality and sheer musicianship, to reach out to every single member of his audience, as witness the enthusiasm that greets all his performances and follows him from appearance to appearance.