Rued Langgaard’s works for string quartet, which are collectively published in this volume, comprise a variation work, six quartets numbered 1-6, two unnumbered quartets and two single movements – a total of 11 compositions. Only one of the works was published during Langgaard’s lifetime, String Quartet no. 3, which appeared in 1931, published by The Society for the Publication of Danish Music. Seven of the works were performed during the composer’s lifetime; the remaining four were first premiered between 1967 and 2016. With a single exception, the sources have been kept since 1969 in Rued Langgaard’s Collection (RLS) at the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen. In 1993, The Society for the Publication of Danish Music published String Quartet no. 2 and no. 6 in the series Danish Music from The Collections of The Royal Library as nos. 1 and 3. The publications were edited by Steen Pade. The publishing house, which in the meantime had changed its name to Edition Samfundet, acquired in 1998 the publishing rights to all as yet unpublished works by Langgaard – approx. 300 titles. The Rued Langgaard Edition (RLU) was established two years later, with the undersigned as initiator and general editor. The aim of the RLU is to publish practical, performance-oriented editions of Langgaard’s works on a scholarly critical basis. Among the first of the edition’s publications was the string quartet Rosengaardsspil (Rose Garden Play), which was available in 2000 as a print-on-demand publication. The next step in the publication of Langgaard’s string quartets was taken when the Nightingale String Quartet began a recording project in 2010 that comprised all of Langgaard’s string quartets. Running parallel with these recordings, which were completed in August 2013, critical editions of the string quartets nos. 1, 4 and 5, Variations on ‘O Sacred Head, Now Wounded’, String Quartet (A flat major) and the separate movement Italian Scherzo were produced. The Rued Langgaard Edition was thus able to make use of the in-depth study of the works which took place under the guidance of Professor Tim Frederiksen, The Royal Danish Academy of Music (DKDM). The scores and parts were initially produced in preparation for the recordings. The actual editions in print-on-demand form, with the necessary textual sections in the form of introduction and critical account, were not completed until the publishing rights, which since 1998 had belonged to Edition Samfundet, were assigned to Edition Wilhelm Hansen, Copenhagen. Seven works were thus produced within the Langgaard Edition by Wilhelm Hansen in 2014-15. And finally, in 2020-21, reissues were made, based on the principles of the Langgaard Edition, of the works that had originally been published back in 1931 and 1993, i.e. the string quartets nos. 2, 3 and 6. These critical editions, like the former RLU editions of the quartets, were edited by the general editor. One work has so far remained unmentioned – the piece I Holmens Kirkes Kapel (In the Chapel of Rest at Holmen’s Church) from 1949. The title was known from a list of works, and the composition is extant in sketch form among Langgaard’s manuscripts, with the heading ‘Sigh at Gade’s Grave’ (Niels W. Gade is buried in the Chapel of Rest at Holmen’s Church). A publication became possible when a manuscript of a piano version prepared by the composer came to light in private ownership in 2016. On the basis of this manuscript and with support gained from the sketch, the string quartet score could be reconstructed, and it was published by RLU in 2017. Today, all of Langgaard’s total of 11 string quartet works are thus accessible separately as scores and sets of parts in a print-on-demand form. In the present score edition, the works are presented collectively, the aim being to provide an overview of Rued Langgaard’s varied and significant contribution to the string quartet genre. In principle, the works are published here using the same textual apparatus as the individual editions, although an editorial redistribution has taken place of certain items of information, and some general and partially new material has been collected in an introductory chapter About Langgaard and the String Quartets. The compositions are presented in a chronological order, i.e. they follow the numerical order of Bendt Viinholt Nielsen’s list of works Rued Langgaard’s Compositions (BVN). As it will become evident, Langgaard’s numbering of his works does not reflect the order in which they were composed. The critical editions within the framework of the Rued Langgaard Edition are based on the composer’s manuscripts kept in Rued Langgaard’s Collection (RLS) at The Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen. The above-mentioned main source for In the Chapel of Rest at Holmen’s Church is, however, still privately owned. As is the practice for the Rued Langgaard Edition, the works are published in the latest form arrived at by the composer. In other words, the edition respects Langgaard’s corrections and additions in the sources, insofar as they provide a clear picture of the composer’s intention. As far as String Quartet no. 3, published during Langgaard’s lifetime, is concerned, the first edition from 1931 has been compared with the preserved print manuscript. Langgaard left behind a printed copy with certain alterations which comprise his latest contributions to the work, and which have been incorporated into the republication of this work in accordance with the principles of the Langgaard Edition. The general editorial guidelines for The Rued Langgaard Edition are observed. Material supplied or emended by the editor is therefore typographically marked in the scores by square brackets; added slurs and ties are shown with a broken line and emended slurs and ties by a combination of unbroken and broken lines. The cautionary accidentals in round brackets have been supplied by the editor. Phrases and passages that are repeated have to a certain extent been normalised in terms of notation and mutually supplemented. It is typical of the composer that repetitions often contain divergences that seem to be random, especially with regard to dynamics, articulation and phrasing. The editor has attempted to strike a balance between a wish, on the one hand, to normalise and supplement the notation and, on the other hand, to preserve the open possibilities for musical interpretation that the sources actually contain in the form in which the composer left them behind. The practice adopted by The Rued Langgaard Edition of using typographical markings of editorial additions to the score enable, at any rate, the performers to assess the situation in each of the individual works. Editorial comments and information on matters that are not marked typographically in the scores are to be found in the critical apparatus, Sources and critical commentary, p. 359.
Bendt Viinholt Nielsen, October 2021