Langgaard Would Have Been Proud
J. Rich | 04/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let's face it with all the Mahler, Sibelius, Dvorak, and Brahms that floods the market it's truly great to have this box set of the obscure Danish composer Rued Langgaard available for the first time in a space saving, special edition hybrid SACD box set (wow that was a mouthful). For those who don't know and just happen to be curious, Langgaard was composer who lived in obscurity all of his life. He composed epic pieces of music in the late-Romantic vein. He spent much of life dazzling audiences with his virtuosic organ skills and he landed a job as organist at a cathedral in a village in Denmark. He composed music much of his life and the only fame he received had been when his Symphony No. 1 was premiered by the Berlin Philharmonic, but it didn't garner much admiration or attention. He died in 1952.
Fast forward almost 50 years later, we now have this beautiful box set of Langgaard's works brought to us by a true visionary Thomas Dausgaard and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. There have been attempts at Langgaard's music in particular with Neeme Jarvi with the same orchestra here. As much as I love Jarvi, he can't quite grasp this music. This is where Dausgaard and his forces raised the bar. This is the box that all other performances are measured against, especially since most of these works are world premiere recordings and have never been available to the public before.
Right from the opening measures of Symphony No. 1, you are catapulted into the wildly emotional world of Langgaard. This music is played with such sustained intensity that you will not believe the virtuosity and amount of feeling it takes to pull this work off. This is Mahler on steroids. Exceptional playing and you will find that throughout this box set the playing and conducting are consistent.
The sound quality is also very good. The acoustics are well defined and there is plenty of bottom end (an important aspect to this music).
If you are interested in traveling outside of the composers we're all familiar with: Mahler, Bruckner, Wagner, etc., then look no further than this box. Seven discs of pure excitement, joy, emotional intensity, drama, and beauty. Highly recommended."
Leonard Warren | Midwest | 04/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am very happy with the CDs.
But the packaging seems to leave the very good possibility of damage to the CDs when removed or replaced in their slots. I can not remove a CD without touching the playing surface. At best it's a two-handed job and the CDs in front are in a precarious position. The booklet is all the way in the back in its own slot and not very easily removed. I would have prefered to have had the standard clamshell case with individual envelopes for the discs. At least then when you are trying to get a disc you are only fumbling with one disc rather than all of them.
But the music is fantastic."