As with most musicians, the talents of Hans Christian Lumbye were recognised at a very early age. He had been born in Copenhagen into a military family on May 2nd, 1810, but was largely brought up in Odense where his father had been posted. It was to be in military music that the young Lumbye had all his early training, and at the age of 14 was recruited as trumpeter in the regimental band. Five years later he returned to Copenhagen and joined the Royal Horse Guards as a trumpeter. He was obviously a fine exponent of the instrument, as he was soon in demand in the city's orchestras.
It was at this time that his earliest compositions were written. The visit of an orchestra from Austria performing the new Viennese dances of the Strauss family were to be the turning point in his life, for this was exactly the type of music he wanted to compose. In the following year, 1840, he formed his own orchestra, Det Lumbyeske Selskab (The Lumbye Society), and gave the first concert in the fashionable Raus Hotel. Almost as if made for him, the Tivoli amusement park opened three years later, and in the concert hall he established his orchestra. So began Lumbye's reign as the 'Nordic Johann Strauss'. In the next thirty years he was to compose over 700 waltzes, polkas and galops.
His fame was such that he toured throughout Europe conducting his music, though his first consideration was always his own Tivoli orchestra, and he conducted it through to his somewhat early death at the age of 64.
Music: The Tivoli Gardens was Lumbye's 'home', and in a series of ten galops he pictured different parts of the Gardens, the Concert Salon Galop referring to his own little concert space. It was in 1843 a small area for around 20 musicians, long before the present concert hall. The following year he added the VoliAre, where the exotic birds were kept. His use of the bird noises is quite clear. Coming to the end of his career in 1869, the Amager polka captures the rustic quality of the farmers from that area. Strange that the Polish dance should be featured in Denmark, but in the Fest-Polonaise from 1860, he sees the dance with some fiery passion.
For his two gifted sons he wrote the Concert-Polka in 1863. It was to become one of his most popular works, the lightness of touch wedded to a classical structure. The 'Bird Game' - now long forgotten - was the rage in 1846 and to meet the craze, Lumbye composed the Ornithobolaia Galop to which they could play their game.
For the prestigious costumed ball in 1856, Lumbye wrote a series of four masquerade dances, opening in high spirits with Prince Carnival Galop. The colourful Harlequin dressed in a fools cloak forms the second polka. Continuing in the theme of the Commedia dell'arte characters, Polichinell has a furious Tarantella Galop. Finally the rather sad figure of the white-clad Pierrot in a Polka-mazurka.
The New Year Greeting March of 1866 has a somewhat misleading title, the new year referring to a new season of Tivoli concerts, though it eventually became linked with New Year concerts. The Torchlight Dance is a more 'serious' score, having been written for a ballet to celebrate the engagement Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Lovisa in 1869. Also in a symphonic atmosphere, the Sound's from Kroll's Dance Hall, was written in 1846, to honour Berlin's famous dance venue, where the previous year he had met with such success, both as a composer and conductor.
The disc ends with another piece of 'classical' music, the galop coming from the ballet "The Guardsmen of Amager", written for the great Danish choreographer, August Bournonville in 1871. It was later to become popular in the balls held in Copenhagen.