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:

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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:

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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:

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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):

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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.

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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:

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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.

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Comments

  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.