This week on the New Canon, we take an in-depth look at our Album of the Week, the first volume of Danish composer Rued Langgaard's string quartets courtesy of the Nightingale String Quartet for Dacapo Records.
Langgaard never got his due as a composer in his lifetime—in fact, it wasn't until the 1960s, 16 years following his death, that he began to be recognized for the noisemaker he was—and these chamber pieces are a fascinating peek into the soul of a man best known or his epic symphonies. They also show how Langgaard took influence from the Romantics of Wagner and Strauss but infused it with his own delightfully twisted modernity. Such a balancing act is apparent in a slew of works being written today, which just goes to show how cyclical our sonic spheres are.
It's a theme we also explore with a few other new recordings. We'll hear Scottish composer Erik Chisholm's Piano Concerto No. 1, rooted as it is in Scottish classical bagpipe music but also turning its ear towards multinational composers like Bartók. We'll also take a listen to a piece by Louis Andriessen that pays homage to an artist with a schizoid blend of romantic and modern impulses. Wrapping it up is a work by 30-something composer Ryan Francis, showing that the sumptuous blend of nostalgia and radicalism lives on.