, July 2001
"Hans Christian Lumbye was born in Copenhagen and from the age of 14 was a military trumpeter. We know he studied music in Randers but no qualification is known. In 1839 he was deeply impressed by a visit of an Austrian band to Copenhagen, playing Strauss and Lanner. He formed an orchestra and performed their works. Lumbye was a composer with no particular formal training yet this did not detract from collaborating with the Danish ballet master Bournonville to provide dances and ballet music for theatre productions. His fame grew with the opening of the Tivoli Gardens (1843) where he served as orchestra director until 1872, two years before his death. He was not a man with ambition yet was one who brought great pleasure with bright dance tunes of much variety.
The musical numbers may well have found their way from the Tivoli Ballroom to every corner of Vienna and Austria to compete with those of J. Strauss. Today they are rarely heard apart from the Vienna New Year Day's concert, but I think hold a distinctive brightness and charm. They carry a strong beat and seem to have more variety about them than Strauss's compositions.
Regards to the Ticket-Holders of Tivoli is an odd title for this march which starts with interrupted beat before breaking into a galop. In the Dusk is a sleepy, lyrical, peaceful idyll of ballet-like quality written in the style of Rossini. The Sleigh Ride, Galop has the usual Straussian bells cantering along with steady metre and the occasional off-stage whip effect. It was probably an impressive piece for the time, but lacks the catchiness of the better known Delius tone poem, which came 43 years later. Salute March of King Frederik VII a slow military march with side drums unexpectedly leads into a light and faster march not really in keeping with its formal title. It is apparently still played at public military parades and occasions that involve the Danish Royal family. Marie Elisabeth Polka (Mindeblad Polka) is a light piece that has a charm very much in the mould of J. Strauss. Caroline Polka Mazurka and Hesperus (Klange), Waltz could have come from the pen of Delibes and carries a hint of Coppelia. Telegraph Galop has an echoing post horn motif. For its premiere, two orchestras played it at each end of the concert Hall. A reciprocal action between the orchestras musically telegraphs melodies to each other. It is skilfully written. Artist Carnival Locomotive Galop and Salute Galop are both energetic fast moving pieces with strong beat which would be sure to have dresses swirling and feet tapping. Jenny Polka is typically of the Austrian genre. The Night before New Year's Day was a dance written as an opening number for a theatrical work. The piece constantly changes between major and minor while at the same time modulating through four keys.
The disc comes with interesting background notes on each of the dances but strangely omits any notes on the composer's life and his influences.
Those who enjoy the atmosphere of the Vienna New Year's Day broadcasts will enjoy this volume. The Tivoli orchestra is full of life and obviously enjoyed the recording session. The dances are well recorded with the orchestral sections clearly defined and the venue's acoustics giving a pleasant bloom to the bass."