LANGGAARD: Symphony No. 12 "Hélsingeborg." Symphony No. 13 "Undertro." Symphony No. 14 "Morgenen." (Suite for chorus and orchestra).
Danish National Symphony Choir and Orch/Thomas Dausgaard, cond.
DACAPO SACD 6.220517 TT: 63:48

HOLMBOE: Trombone Concerto No. 12, Op. 52. HYLDGAARD: Concerto Borealis. JORGENSEN: Romance, Op. 21. Suite for Trombone and Orchestra, Op. 22. GRONDAHL: Trombone Concerto (first version)
Jesper Juul, trombone; Danish National Symphony Orch/Henrik Vagn Christensen/Thomas Dausgaard (Grondahl), cond.
DACAPO SACD 6.220526 TT: 69:43

NIELSEN: Overture and Dance of the Cockerels from Maskarade. Andantino giusto from Hr. Oluf Han Rider. Snefrid (Suite for Orchestra). Allegro marziale from Saul and David. Rhapsody Overture A Fantastic Journey to the Faroe Islands. Andantino espressivo from Willemoes. Andante tranquillo from Pan and Syrinx. Overture to Love and the Poet, Op. 54. Helios Overture, Op. 17.
Danish National Symphony Orch/Thomas Dausgaard, cond.
DACAOPO SACD 6.220518 TT: 72:24

The enterprising Dacapo label has three winners here. Music of Danish composer Rued Langgaard (1893-1952) finally is receiving just treatment from recording companies. Long in the shadow of Carl Nielsen, Langaard had his own richly romantic styleborrowing from composers ranging from Schumann, Tchaikovsky and Richard Strauss, and from himself—always imaginatively orchestrated. Dausgaard, who is recording all of the sixteen symphonies, uses a new corrected edition. Several years ago on this site we reviewed a disk of Symphony No. 4, two versions of Symphony No. 5, and Steppe Landscape (REVIEW). Now, on SACD , we have Symphonies 12, 13, and 14, all composed 1946-1948, highly different from each other and only loosely called "symphonies." No. 12 is a reworking of the composer's Symphony No. 1, only seven minutes long with sections called Distinguished!, Increasingly agitated, Wildly, Like trivial last trumps!, Hectically nervous!, Furiously!, and Amok! A composer explodes. Both No. 13 (subtitled Belief in Wonders) and 14 (subtitled The Morning) are each slightly less than a half hour's duration. No. 14 is a suite for chorus and orchestra about the second coming of Christ (Langgaard's opera Antikrist has been reviewed on this site (see REVIEW). Symphony No. 13 borrows from his Symphony No. 7. Langgaard's penchant for colorful titles—and his sense of humor—is apparent in these symphonies. While No. 13 has tempo indications as well as "elegant!" and "wildly," No. 14's seven movements include Unnoticed morning stars, The Marble Church rings (in which he quotes music from La traviata), The tired get up for life, Radio-Caruso and forced energy (no, a Caruso recording is not heard), and Dads' rush to the office. What matters is that Langgaard's music is always intriguing to hear, and performances on this new disk are marvelous. The sound is a perfect example of what "surround sound" should be. Highly recommended!

The SACD of Danish trombone concertos features Jespur Juul, called here "the undisputed leading light of the trombone profession", displaying both his virtuosity and beautiful tone in these five works. Juul premiered Hyldgaard's Concerto Borealis in 2000, and dedicated this recording of the second movement of Grondahl's Concerto to the memory of his mother. Henrik Vagn Christensen conducts all of the works except for the Grondahl for which the conductor is Dausgaard. Unusual repertory, brilliantly recorded!

Best of all to most collectors will be the extraordinary disk of varied short orchestral works of Carl Nielsen, again with Dausgaard and his superb orchestra. A dazzling performance of the Maskarade overture sets the stage for what is to follow: a selection of familier and lesser-known works, ending with the composer's vision of sunrise, the Helios overture.

All three SACDs are highly recommended, and hats off to Dacapo for doing such a great job.

R.E.B. (April 2007)