String Quartets Nos. 2, 3, 6, Variations on “Oh, Sacred Head”
Nightingale String Quartet
Rued Langgaard (1893—1952) is a strange and most wonder-full romantic composer, whose 16 symphonies cover the gamut from massively delightful to charmingly bizarre. His violin and piano miniatures are among the sweetest found in the 20th century. His works for string quartet included in the first string quartet-devoted volume of Dacapo’s superb Langaard series, have more bite and the occasional acerbic note, but they don’t stray far from the general harmonic and melodic principles that make the Danish composer so intriguing… especially the one-movement Sixth Quartet. Astonishingly, all but one work languished unpublished until the 1990s, when these pieces, containing the whole microcosm of 20th century classical styles, were rediscovered. Dacapo is improving on their 1984 set with the Kontra Quartet by including all the works for string quartet in this series, and the Nightingale String Quartet adds a pinch of extra enthusiasm and exactitude.