Few people will have been to Copenhagen, Denmark and not made their way to visit the Little Mermaid. When I was last there, this iconic statue had been lent to Japan and had been replaced by a hologram. Equally essential to any visit to this great city is an exploration of the renowned Tivoli Gardens. This is a large amusement park and pleasure garden that dates from 1843: it is the original ‘Disneyland.’ There are so many attractions here, but the secret of the Garden’s success is that there is something to suit every taste. From historic rides such as the 1914 roller coaster, to the latest high-powered dare-devil adventures there is something for all the family. Coupled with this, is the attractive and imaginative architecture, the historic buildings and the transformation of the Gardens by night into a veritable fairy-land.
Music plays an important role in the daily events with classical concerts, rock music and the Garden’s own Big Band and Late-Night Orchestras. Part of this musical activity is the Tivoli Youth Guard Band founded in 1844. This consists of girls and boys aged from around 8 to 16 years of age. The liner notes for this CD point out that the average age is 13 ½. There are several sections: the Corp of Drums, the Marching Band and the Honour Guard Platoon. There is also a small eight-piece band selected from the Guard. The Guards dress in uniforms which evoke the ‘senior’ Royal Danish Guard who are frontline troops, protect the Royal Family and provide ceremonial duties.
The present CD is divided into three sections. Firstly, a selection of ‘formal’ concert pieces performed at the Tivoli Gardens. Secondly, a recording of a parade through the Gardens with nearly 100 members of the entire Guard. And finally, two ‘bonus’ pieces played by the eight-piece band.
Just a brief overview of the highlights (for me). Several pieces played here were composed by the Guard’s composer in residence, David Palmquist. The main event is the challenging Tivoli Suite, composed in 2016. This work is eclectic and features several musical styles. The Suite presents a march, oriental tunes, a pantomime waltz, a rip-roaring, big-band infused, roller-coaster ride, late-night jazz and fanfares accompanying the traditional firework display. It is my favourite work on this CD, and is splendidly played.
H.C. Lumbye is most famous for his Champagne Galop, complete with popping corks. His other masterpiece is the Copenhagen Steam Railway Galop (not included here). Several other Lumbye pieces are featured on this CD: King George I's Honorary March, the Hesperus Waltz, and the charming Princess Thyra Polka
I was delighted to find Canadian-born composer Robert Farnon’s music represented on this CD by the Farnon Fantasy. This work was dedicated to the Tivoli Youth Guard, and was premiered during the 1980s with the composer himself conducting. It is appropriate to have this included on this CD during Farnon’s centenary year (2017).
The 8-piece band play the final two tracks: Lumbye’s Dagmar Polka and Bjerre’s In love in Copenhagen. They are real treats.
I was unable to locate the ‘dates’ of several of the composers of this music in the liner notes, or with a simple internet search. The recording details are only given in Danish, but are easily workable out! I was a wee bit disappointed with the booklet for two reasons. Firstly, the English translation seems to be a curtailed version of the Danish, and, secondly, the text is overlaid on artistic splashes of mottled colour which can make it hard to read for older eyes.
Notwithstanding, this is a delightful CD: it is full of attractive and entertaining music played with great enthusiasm, passion and care.
Finally, on my last visit after seeing the Little Mermaid (hologram) and the Tivoli Gardens, I included a stop at the Nyhavn for a herring platter washed down with a ‘locally produced lager’ making the day ‘probably the best in the world’! This CD brought back many memories of Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen!
David M.A.P. PALMQUIST (b.1979) 170 Years Anniversary March of the Tivoli Youth Guard
H. C. LUMBYE (1810-74) Hesperus Waltz
David M.A.P. PALMQUIST The Tivoli Suite: Salute to Fru Nimb; Promenade of the Peacock; Rutsch!; Tivoli by Night; Tivoli Fireworks Fanfare
H. C. LUMBYE King George I's Honorary March
Ib GLINDEMANN (b.1934) Festivoli Suite: Intrada; The Merry Parade
H. C. LUMBYE Princess Thyra Polka
Robert FARNON (1917-2005) A Farnon Fantasy
H. C. LUMBYE Champagne Galop
Parade in the Tivoli Gardens
ANON. March of the Flag
David M.A.P. PALMQUIST The Signal of the Tivoli Youth Guard
Dan GLÆSEL (1928-1999) The Tivoli Youth Guard in Gala
Nell Krogh LARSEN The Caravan
Arne Ole STEIN Salute March of the Tivoli Youth Guard
Henrik MADSEN The Merry Corner
Stig NORDESTGAARD Georg Carstensen's March
Martin HOLTEGAARD The Fountain
David M.A.P. PALMQUIST The Thousand March
ANON. Step Down
Bonus Tracks by eight-piece band
H. C. LUMBYE Dagmar Polka
Bent Fabricius BJERRE (b.1924) In love in Copenhagen
The Tivoli Youth Guard Band/David Palmquist
With thanks to MusicWeb International where this review was first published.