Berit Johansen Tange

Rued Langgaard: Piano Works

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Much has been made of the mystical bent in Rued Langgaard's piano music, yet listeners will find most of his perfumed pieces only mildly evocative of poetic things, and no more revelatory than the effervescent outpourings of many mid-nineteenth century composers. If aspects of historical antecedents come to mind while hearing the suite inspired by Rabindranath Tagore's poetry, Gitanjali-Hymner (1918), it might be the nocturnal side of Chopin, and some of the eccentricity of Schumann, but certainly less of the transcendentalism of Liszt, and none of the visionary frenzy of Scriabin. Although pianist Berit Johansen Tange interprets these pieces with individuality and strives to give Langgaard a distinctive voice, his music clings tenaciously to the models of his youth, so a slightly out-of-focus Brahmsian sound pervades the single-movement Fantasi-Sonate (1916), and a Beethovenian rumbling is detectable in the extremely short Nat Paa Sundet (1907). Even his late works, such as Hél-Sfærernes Musik (1948) and Vanvidsfantasi (1947-1949), stubbornly abide in the previous century, and Langgaard appears more reactionary still, even surpassing Rachmaninov in his attachment to an effusively Romantic style. DaCapo's sound quality is fine, but Tange's pedaling seems too heavy and the textures are often quite blurred.

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