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Listen to H.C. Lumbye's festive music as it sounded in the 1840s on a new album with Concerto Copenhagen

© Concerto Copenhagen. Photo: Mathias Løvgreen

Listen to H.C. Lumbye's festive music as it sounded in the 1840s on a new album with Concerto Copenhagen

Concerto Copenhagen is rediscovering the pop music of the 1840s by H.C. Lumbye and his inspirations as it sounded in the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. The album Champagne! The Sound of Lumbye and His Idols will be released on 18 August.

New release
28 June 2023

These days we are accustomed to hear H.C. Lumbye's Champagne Galop played at festive occasions by a modern symphony orchestra of 60 or even more musicians. But when it was first played in 1845 by Lumbye and his only 22 musicians to celebrate the amusement park Tivoli’s second birthday, it was a different sound.

In record time, Lumbye became the great pop star of Danish musical life, and Copenhageners could be heard humming and singing the popular melodies on the street. With the new album Champagne! The Sound of Lumbye and His Idols, Concerto Copenhagen and Lars Ulrik Mortensen have set out to recreate the original sound of Lumbye's festive waltzes and polkas – a sound which no one has heard for more than 150 years.

On 7 July, the Champagne Galop is released as the first single from the album. Listen via this link.

New dance music in Copenhagen

Tivoli’s greatest attraction was, from the opening day in 1843, the music which was played in various places around the garden. H.C. Lumbye and his orchestra were the main attraction at the evening concerts in the concert hall, where they played waltzes, polkas and galops, while both the audience and musicians were drinking heavily.

During the 1830s, the new dance music had spread like a wildfire through Europe, first and foremost the Viennese waltz in sensual, swaying triple time, but also the more direct polka rhythms and the lightning-fast galops. Lumbye was introduced to this new music, when an orchestra from the Steiermark region of Austria visited Copenhagen with great succes. After this, Lumbye gathered his own orchestra with musicians from the military and the Royal Danish Theatre to create a Danish counterpart.

With music inspired by his biggest idols Johann Strauss and Joseph Lanner, Lumbye quickly became the biggest pop star in Danish musical life. And it didn't take long until he also gained a reputation outside of Tivoli and Denmark, especially after a succesful tour to Paris, Vienna and Berlin, earning the nickname "The Strauss of the North".

The original sound of the 1840s

On the new album, Concerto Copenhagen and Lars Ulrik Mortensen have collected both early works by Lumbye which had not been performed in recent times, well known works such as the Champagne Galop as well as a work by Johann Strauss and Joseph Lanner respectively, which had a direct influence on Lumbye's music.

Lars Ulrik Mortensen and the musicians of Concert Copenhagen, hand-picked specialists from all over Europe, worked for many months with the sheet music of these pieces, and looked for instruments which Lumbye and his musicians would have recognised, as they were used in Copenhagen in the 1840s, whether in the Royal Danish Theatre or by the city’s military orchestra. The result of this effort is a presentation of the sound of Danish popular music as it was in the 1840s, or as close as we can come to achieving that today.

Release concert in Tivoli

The new album will be celebrated at a release concert in Tivoli on Sunday 20 August at 17:00, where you can hear Concerto Copenhagen and Lars Ulrik Mortensen play the festivale waltzes and polkas from the album and pop the champagne to the sounds of the Champagne Galop. Read more about the concert and get tickets via this link.