Hans Christian LUMBYE (1810-1874)
The Strauss of Scandinavia - Favourite Waltzes, Galops and Polkas
Salute to August Bournonville [1:58]
Amelie Waltz (Amelie vals) [9:59]
Columbine Polka Mazurka [3:36]
Queen Louise’s Waltz (Dronning Louses vals) [5:36]
The Copenhagen Steam Railway Galop (Kjøbenhavns Jernbane damp galop) [3:42]
Memories from Vienna (Erinnerungen an Wien) Valse [8:58]
Final Galop from the Ballet The Guard of Amager (Finalegalop fra balletten Livjaegerne på Amager) [3:11]
Britta Polka [2:17]
Sophie Valse [7:09]
Velocipedes Galop [2:01]
Victoria Quadrille [6:39]
King George I March of Honour [3:04]
Cannon (Kanonen) Galop [2:13]
Pictures from a Dream (Drømmebilleder) [9:18]
Final Galop from the Ballet Napoli (Finalegalop fra balletten Napoli) [4:28]
Champagne Galop [2:23]
Odense Symphony Orchestra/Peter Guth
rec. Carl Nielsen Hall, Odense, May 1989, May 1993. DDD
ALTO ALC1333 [76:38]
Hans Christian Lumbye, a trumpeter in the Danish Royal Horseguards, was caught up in the waltz craze that gripped Denmark from 1839. He formed and began directing his own orchestra - and with great success. Soon he was introducing his own dance pieces to Copenhagen's public. He was the Tivoli Gardens' first music director, a revered position he held for the rest of his life. The earthquake ripples of the waltz reached far distant from Vienna.
From the confidence and ebullience of Salute to August Bournonville we move on to the utterly charming, airborne and then sentimental Amelie Waltz. The Columbine Polka Mazurka manages a swagger among all those flounces. The almost metronomic regularity of Queen Louise’s Waltz aids the sense of dancers' rotation and sway. The Copenhagen Steam Railway Galop is amongst the most well known and shares an obvious kindred nature with Eduard Strauss's Bahn frei! and the rapid polka Mit Dampf. It's complete with evocative bells and steam-whistles. The Lumbye work builds and then unleashes a cylinder-pumping head of steam before losing pressure over the shouts of the railway officers. The waltz Memories from Vienna struts along, arrogantly twirling its moustachios, as does the Sophie Valse the countenance of which is lightened by cello and flute solos before breezing along with airy insouciance.
The Final Galop from the Ballet The Guard of Amager is a confidently breathless and impetuous rush. The Britta Polka punches along but with the tinkle of bells manages to suggest at one moment that the nursery is not far away and at the next that a hussar band, complete with stahlspiel, is just around the corner. Speaking of matters military the Velocipedes Galop suggests one of those Great War bicycle brigades complete with rampant bugles. As for the King George I March of Honour military fanfares set the scene before what amounts to a big-top circus cavalcade. The Victoria Quadrille opts again for the grand manner. The bass-drum salvoes of the Cannon Galop need little elaboration. They contrast with the quietly buoyant outdoor whimsy of Pictures from a Dream - a delightful yet understated change from all that strut and swagger. The airy balletic qualities of this subtly lilting music suggest Berlioz but with some gun-cotton saved for the triumphant last pages. The Final Galop from the Ballet - Napoli mixes a rushing pulse with the exhilaration of the corps de ballet. Things end with the hunting calls and whooping huzzas of the Champagne Galop which is greeted with applause from what sounds to have been a full auditorium.
Peter Guth follows the Johann Strauss tradition in conducting from the violin. His credentials in this genre are impeccably be-gloved. He was music director of the first Vienna Operetta Festival in Japan and has conducted new operetta productions at international opera houses. He is the director of the Strauss Festival Orchestra (Vienna).
The liner-notes are by Svend Erik Sørensen and have been re-edited together from the notes he wrote for the two Unicorn albums from which these recordings have been culled. If you are looking for a more extensive survey of Lumbye's music then turn to the Naxos 11-CD series. A disc that lays claim to be the Best of … has been reviewed here. There's also a Chandos selection as conducted by Rozhdestvensky although it's not as fully filled as this Alto issue.
A generous sheaf of Lumbye's light dance music in the hands of a Danish orchestra.