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H.C. Lumbye

composer
1810
1874

"The Strauss of the North", the inimitable composer of hundreds of waltzes, polkas, galops and marches. As a young man Lumbye was a talented violinist and trumpeter, and wrote his first pieces in his twenties. In 1839, for the first time, he heard a Viennese orchestra play music by Johann Strauss the Elder, and he then started his own orchestra in the Strauss style. H.C. Lumbye's name is inextricably associated with the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, which opened in 1843, and Lumbye and his orchestra were a permanent feature of the entertainment there from the start. He performed with his orchestra throughout the summer until his final years, and was himself the popular Stehgeiger or standing violinist. In the winter the orchestra played in the indoor entertainment establishments of the city. Lumbye's music has charm, humour and inventiveness that is a match for his models in Vienna. However, it is not so much waltzes that dominate his output as faster dances like galops, polkas and mazurkas. His pieces are played on Royal gala days, by music school orchestras and every evening in Tivoli, and to this day they stand as the epitome of festivity in Denmark. The Champagne Galop has a status in Denmark on a par with the National Anthem.