Henrik/Frederik Rung *


Henrik Rung was one of the leading Danish composers from the 19th century. He learnt to play the guitar as a boy form amongst others the legendary Danish guitarist Søffren Degen. A knee injury in his youth caused him to be bed ridden for almost two years, but he spent this time well improving his guitaristic skills.

As a student he performed very well on the Conservatory of the Royal Chapel in Copenhagen. That’s why he was granted a scholarship abroad, he landed in Italy where he studied singing and choir composition. In this period, he developed a great love for Italian Renaissance music.

After his studies he became Sang Mestre -singing teacher- for the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen and he founded the Cecilia Society Choir (Cæciliaforeningen). In this period, he became best known for his songs and choral compositions.

Nevertheless, he composed a few guitar works. Four Opus numbers are known, including a small collection of studies. Particularly his Polonaises from these works are technically more demanding, with many virtuoso excursions to the high positions.

Besides that, he composed a number of contributions for Albumsblade, with Ricordanzi d’Italia as an example. Here he shows his skill in presenting strong melodies and accompaniment, like in his choral works.

Frederik Rung (1854 – 1914) showed the musical talent inherited by his father at an early age. He attended music lessons with amongst others Niels Gade (1817 – 1890). He succeeded his father Henrik as choir director of the Cecilia Society (Cæciliaforeningen) and as the director of of the Royal Orchestra in Copenhagen. Further he obtained the post of piano teacher in the Conservatory in the Danish capital.

Frederik Rung composed for choir, small ensembles (amongst others mandoline with guitar) and guitar solo. His compositions are more romantic in nature that his father’s, showing a typical ’Nordic’ sound which also appears from e.g. Grieg’s music.

Albumsblade was a coproduction of father and son that Frederik Rung published in 1899. Frederik Rung’s solo guitar compositions are all in Albumsblade.


The pieces from Albumsblade have a specific character and harmony. There is a bit of Scandinavian melancholy that you will not find in the “southern” music of contemporaries. The movement in the music resembles Grieg’s Lyriske Stykker. Given the fact that I have a guitar friend in Denmark and that it is interesting music, I had ample reason to convert it to modern notation and make it available on the site.

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