Pursuing My Off-Topic Idée Fixe

The house in which Kierkegaard grew up, and which he later owned (buying out his brother’s share), was on a site where the Danish Bank now sits, though there’s a plaque making the spot:


I had lunch at a diner, across the square, that was built around 1830. Prostitutes used to frequent it, and you can’t tell me Søren never went in there. His final address was 38 Skindergade:


Vor Frue Kirke, Our Lady’s Church, is so large, and the neighborhood around it so crowded, that it’s difficult to get far enough back for a decent photo. But I went to a service there Sunday night, where the soprano and organ both performed in the most meltingly pristine timbres:


Finally, Monday afternoon, I caught up with the guy I’d been looking for. Turned out I was 151 years too late, but we still enjoyed a cigar together (only vicariously on his part):


All around him are burgomeisters and local dignitaries with big monuments graced by busts in relief – but Kierkegaard, appropriately parallel to Thoreau, is just one unaccented figure in a family grave. The tombstone, according to a site I found on the internet, is a verse from an 18th-century hymn by Hans Adolph Brorson, translating as follows:

There is a little time,

Then have I won,

Then will the entire strife

Be suddenly gone,

Then can I rest

In halls of roses

And ceaselessly [with]

My Jesus speak.


I won’t show you Hans Christian Andersen’s grave, or the statue of The Little Mermaid, because you’ve seen it and I wasn’t very impressed. But lastly, for Alex Ross, here’s the site of another inextinguishable Dane:


You can’t believe everything you read in music reference works, but I verified this one personally: he’s dead.

I had an idea of blogging an ongoing photo essay under the rubric “Unattractive Danish Women,” but I couldn’t get any material. I think I could have replaced it, though, with one on “Tormented-Looking Young Danish Men.” Ever since Kierkegaard, walking through town with visible signs of being haunted by existential angst seems to have become a national patrimony. Or maybe they’re just all trying to become the next existentialist hero.


  1. says

    “…the soprano and the organ both performed…” Organs are complicated and temperamental machines and they have certainly been known to make their own contribution to a concert or a service, but wasn’t it the, er, ORGANIST that was performing with the soprano? I don’t think we would say that we had just been to Carnegie Hall, where the piano had played a Beethoven sonata.
    (A hot button pushed for your correspondent, who makes his living as an organist.)
    KG replies: Yes, but it was the organ and soprano who had meltingly pristine timbres, not the organist.