“My Heart Yearns”

A Danish psalm is called something like the title of this blog post. In 1914 the father of Rued Langgaard died when Rued was 20 years old. The young man was a gifted musician and played variations over that psalm (“Mig Hjertelig Længes” in Danish) at the father’s funeral at Frederiksberg Church close to Copenhagen. The psalm is also used by J.S.Bach in his Matthew Passion, text Paul Gerhardt: “Befiel du deine Wege” in German.

Frederiksberg Church in Baroque style built 1732-34


The year later he wrote the music into a string quartet. The notes got lost, but in 1940 he found the script again and made some alterations. He was very productive and wrote 400 works. Today I heard this music on my classical radio station dr/P2. It’s a digital radio so that to get to hear if you have to be interested. But it is available online too and plays non stop day and night. In my car, I have a DAB receiver connected to the radio so that I can hear it while driving too.

Young Rued Langgaard  1893-1952


Rued Langgaard was unlucky to live at the time of the famous composer Carl Nielsen. Rued lived in the shadow of Nielsen and was very rejected in his lifetime also due to his dislike of Nielsen and modern music. There should have been a place for him though because he wrote beautiful music and fortunately there is a Rued Langgaard Festival in Ribe every year at the beginning of September. Ribe was capital of Denmark many centuries ago but far from Copenhagen and Ribe was the only place where he would get employment as an organist in their Cathedral. He was 47 years old before he got his first real employment. You can read more about him at the music publishing house“Dacapo’s” web page.

In a video clip, the festival director Esben Tange explains in English the antagonist ideas in Langgaard’s and Nielsen’s music.

The photos ©Nightingale String Quartet


We have a String Quartet “The Nightingale String Quartet “who has specialised in his music and plays in high quality and they now spread knowledge of his music also internationally. You can hear a short moment of “The Variations” in the link above.

Another small glimpse here: Variations

Having finished this post I would like to go to the festival this coming September


  1. I just listened to String Quartet No. 2… so nice! Thank you. More music to explore, which is good as I have very little knowledge about Scandinavian composers: Grieg, Sibelius, Norgaard – that’s it! But there must be many more! *most happy smile on my face*

    Liked by 1 person

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