Langgaard: Symphony Nos. 8 & 15/Suite

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Monstrous banality on this scale rivals Albert Speer's worst designs for postwar Berlin. And while Rued Langgaard is hardly on the same level in historical weight or interest, his music has Speer's combination of the massive and monumental with the trite and the tawdry. His Symphony No. 8 "Memories at Amalienborg" is absurd in its gravitas. His Symphony No. 9 "The Morning" is ridiculous in its pomposity. His Symphony No. 12 "Storm at Sea" is preposterous in its pretentiousness. Langgaard is a musical visionary suffering from terminal myopia. In this 1992 recording by Ilya Stupel and the Artur Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra, Langgaard's vision is realized in all its glory or at least as much of it is humanely possible. Stupel pumps up Langgaard's climaxes until they burst and the ARPO plays with dedication and enthusiasm far in excess of what the music deserves. Danacord's sound could be cleaner and more colorful, but then listeners would only hear the music better and what would be the point of that? If you have to listen to it, use earplugs.