LANGGAARD Music of the Spheres
Four Tone Pictures Gitta-Maria Sjoberg (soprano) Danish National Radio SO / Gennady Rozhdestvensky Chandos CHAN 9517
Friday 28 March 1997
Three decades later, Music of the Spheres still sounds like one of the most original things written in the first half of this century. As forward- looking as Ives and Scriabin (the only comparisons that vaguely come to mind), it drifts from idea to haunting idea with the logic of a dream: quietly shimmering cluster-chords, lush tendrils of string sound pre-echoing Tippett's Corelli Fantasy, ghostly repetitive figures passed between the two orchestras, and, just before the end, a terrifying bitonal tutti, which Langgaard - ever eager to help the listener - labelled "Antichrist". This new recording serves the music marvellously - Music of the Spheres is perfect Rozhdestvensky territory - and so does the recording, with its fine sense of space and focus.
The Four Tone Pictures are relatively slight and much less original, though Langgaard's voice is still recognisable, and again they're beautifully played and sung. Anyone interested in 20th-century music should hear this. Langgaard was virtually ignored in his own adult life; perhaps his time has come.
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