Langgaard: Rose Garden Songs; Motets and Hymns; Secular songs

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Langgaard
LABELS: Dacapo
WORKS: Rose Garden Songs; Motets and Hymns; Secular songs
PERFORMER: Ars Nova/Tamás Vetö
CATALOGUE NO: 8.224058
Listeners attracted to the music of the individualistic Dane, Rued Langgaard, by the recent Chandos recording of his extraordinary Music of the Spheres will find nothing so revelatory here. Langgaard’s secular part-songs are attractive enough pieces, with harmonies reminiscent of Grieg and Delius. But when he hits on a fresh textural idea, he tends to spread it rather thin: in the autumnal The Harvest Bird, through four identical verses totalling more than nine minutes; in the second of the three Rose Garden Songs of 1919, over five minutes devoted to a mere ten lines of text. Most of the pleasure of this disc is to be had from the clear, well-floated sound of the 12-voice chamber choir Ars Nova, under its new principal conductor Tamás Vetö, very well recorded in a Copenhagen church. But why are the pauses between tracks so short? We need to imagine, though not to hear, the clearing of throats, the turning of pages, the sounding of a pitch-pipe; not to be subjected to a whole series of abrupt, implausible key-changes. Anthony Burton