Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

Hans Christian LUMBYE (1810-1874)
Complete Orchestral Works, Volume 4:
Happy New Year! Galop
Adolphine Polka
March in C major
Chrétien Polka
Dagmar Waltz
Laura Polka
Mein Lebewohl an Berlin: Waltz
Constitution Celebration Galop
Cora Polka
Alice Polka
The Battle at Isted
La Constance: Polka
Helga Polka
Congratulations Galop

  Tivoli Symphony Orchestra/Giordano Bellincampi
Rec Sept 1997-August 1998, Tivoli Concert Hall and Freemason Hall, Copenhagen
MARCO POLO 8.225170 [56.10]
Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS

'The Johann Strauss of the North' would be a good description of Lumbye, nor would it stress his claim too strongly. For this continuing series on Marco Polo confirms his worth as a composer of attractive, skilfully constructed and thoroughly entertaining orchestral music. No wonder he gained a following during his lifetime, and he deserves a wider currency today.

To capture the essential ingredients of the Lumbye style just play the first track on the disc. The Happy New Year! Galop was written for the New Year Ball in 1849, and it is thoroughly attractive. And the programme goes on from there, with item after item set to enchant the ear with pert rhythms, attractive (if not unduly memorable) tunes and skilful orchestration.

If there is a weakness it is that the orchestral colours don't always sparkle, and to speak of skilful orchestration is to condemn Lumbye with faint praise, which isn't entirely fair. The polkas and galops are attractively lively, and they tend to dominate this particular programme. Therefore the slower, more lyrical waltz numbers make an impression which is all the stronger when heard in this context. The Dagmar Waltz, a later piece written in 1865, is splendid, performed with sensitively drawn phrasing by Bellincampi and his Tivoli Orchestra, descendants of the musicians for whom this music was written.

The Marco Polo recording is nicely atmospheric, with orchestral details in their proper perspective. A disc which is well worth considering; anyone who enjoys the music of the Strauss family (and who doesn't?) will enjoy this.

Terry Barfoot

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