A cry of pain. Madness, loss of orientation. Suffering and desperation. Such emotional outbursts dominate Langgaard’s String Quartet No. 2, BVN 145. It seems to reflect the conflicts a tortured mind has to endure in the face of an hostile environment, a world marked by adversity. A dark and fascinating piece, in its emotional expressiveness close to Franz Schubert’s musical language. At the same time it gives an outlook to a better future, the source of hope being music.
All is well. I had a busy day, but my work was interesting and most of what I wanted to get done actually got done. And now… and now I enjoy doing nothing. Doing nothing without the hint of a bad conscience – that’s luxury. I sit in front of the house, the sun has set and I am waiting for the first stars to show up. The wind has died down and peace has descended upon the vineyards. The workers have left, the road is empty and it is quiet except for the birds. All is well.
More and more I start to appreciate very simple joys like a beautiful flower in our garden, a special pattern of the clouds in the sky, the play of light and shadows in the wood… Over the years, our sword flags have become a favourite object of contemplation of mine. Delicacy and fiery passion intertwined, the sweetness and the heat of the summer mirrored in a single plant. They are truly the queens of the garden at the moment of their blossoming.
A sense of drama is in the air, right from the first bars on. A Romantic composer? Bang on. Influenced by Wagner? Bang on again. Vienna based? Trapped! He never came close to that town. German then? No, but close. A Frenchman! No. No? No. This composer is from Denmark and his name is Rued Langgaard (1893-1952). During the first half of the 20th century he wrote 16 symphonies, six string quartets, four violin sonatas, several other orchestral works and an opera with the title “Antikrist” – and he is not exactly well-known.