Langaard / Gade / Lange-Muller / Nietzsche

LANGGAARD: Choral Songs with Secular Texts. Rosengaardsviser. Motets and Hymn Melodies
Ars Nova Copenhagen/Tamás Vetö, cond.
DA CAPO SACD 6.220561 TT: 64:31

GADE: Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 56. LANGE-MÜLLER: Violin Concerto in C, Op. 69. LANGGAARD: Violin Concerto.
Christina Astrand, violin/Tampere Philharmonic Orch/John Storegärde, cond.
DA CAPO SACD 6.220562 TT: 61:27

NIETZSCHE: Piano Music
Michael Krücker, pianist
NCA SACD 60189 TT: 78:58

Many of Da Capo's superb recordings of music of Rued Langgaard have been mentioned on this site check the SURROUND SOUND REVIEW LIST. This new disk offers almost all of his a cappella choral music, mostly written early in his career. These choral songs, motets and hymns are beautiful and simple, far removed from the composer's dramatic later use of the chorus in some of his symphonies. Performances by the superb Ars Nova Copenhagen directed by Tamás Vetö are perfection. This recording was previously issued; now collectors can enjoy it in SACD which captures the gentle sound of the chorus most realistically.

Da Capo has a splendid disk called Romantic Violin Concertos offering three violin concertos by three Danish composers,each the only work on that form by their composers. Niels W. Gade's concerto was composed in 1880 and premiered the following year with Joseph Joachim as soloist. P. E. Lange-Müller, who wrote primarily vocal music, wrote his violin concerto in 1902, Rued Langgaard's was completed in 1944. All are pleasant enough, but it is easy to understand their neglect on the concert stage. Danish violinist Christina Astrand, who is concertmaster of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, plays these works with affection and technical brilliance with splendid support from the Tampere Orchestra directed by John Storegärde. Preben Iwan was producer/engineer in these recordings made in October 2008 in Tampere Concert Hall. Sonic quality is excellent, as usual with Da Capo.

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), trained as a pianist from early youth, loved music all of his life. His learned writings inspired many composers including Richard Strauss who in 1896 to composed his powerful symphonic poem Also sprach Zarathustra. Nietzsche tried his hand at composing and wrote about 73 works, many for solo piano. He sent Wagner's wife, Cosima, a piano duet, and Wagner laughed at it. Nietszche sent Hans von Bulow a score that the latter considered to be a joke..".the most un-uplifting and the most anti-musical work" he has seen for a long time. NCA's SACD contains all of the philosopher's music for solo piano, and it seems strange they bothered to resurrect it. There 28 pieces, mostly titled although a few are in sonata form; all sound like doodling improvisations, very forgettable. Michael Krücker does what can be done for these trifles, and the sound is fine—however one wonders why they bothered.

R.E.B. (September 2009)