Weekend Extra: Copenhagen

In an attempt to get the Europe virus out of the bloodstream (fat chance), here is the final report on our Ystad-Copenhagen adventure. Following the Ystad Jazz Festival in southern Sweden, son Paul and I Doug & Paul, Copenhagenspent three days in Copenhagen. Denmark’s capital is an hour to the northwest of Ystad by way of a long, spectacular bridge and tunnel across and under an arm of the Baltic. Copenhagen is full of music, but we didn’t need more; our ears were ringing with five days of music. We wanted rest and a look around a storied city we were both visiting for the first time. Three days wasn’t long enough, of course, but between an efficient bus system and a boat tour of the canals and harbor, we absorbed enough of the color and variety of Copenhagen that we became fans.

Here is our glass-topped boat in the canal where the tour began and ended.Copenhagen Canal

The sights included an astounding number of magnificent churches. It seemed that every time we entered a new canal, we saw St. Nikolaj Church from a different angle. The church dates from the early 1200s. It was destroyed in the great Copenhagen fire of 1795 and reconstructed in the early 1900s.
St. Nikolaj Church, Copenhageb

Work on the Dutch baroque style Church of our Savior (vor Frelsers Kirke) started in 1682, but theCopenhagen Harbor from Our Savior Church spectacular spire wasn’t finished until 1752. King Frederik V celebrated its completion by climbing the 400 steps that rise counterclockwise to the top. Paul and I were tempted to return later and follow in his footsteps. Maybe next time. On the right is the entrance to Copenhagen harbor seen from the top of the spire (courtesy of Wikipedia).Vor Fresers Kirke (Our Savior Church), Copenhagebn

Copenhagen MermaidOn the harbor tour, we saw the mermaid statue placed in tribute to Hans Christian Andersen, but only herKings Garden statue, Copenhagen back. At the height of tourist season, there’s not much chance of being alone with her. That was not the case with the lady on the right in King’s Garden, established by King Christian IV in the early 1600s as his personal 30-acre pleasure garden. Now often called Rosenborg Garden, it is open to the public and visited by more than two-and-a-half-million people a year.

Well, it all went by too fast, and we left town agreeing with Frank Loesser, who wrote “Wonderful Copenhagen” for a 1951 film about Hans Christian Andersen. We end with the Dave Brubeck-Paul Desmond-Eugene Wright-Joe Morello version, from one of the Brubeck quartet’s finest albums.

If you go here, you can see and hear Danny Kaye sing the song, mispronouncing the name of the city, to the amusement and consternation of Danish audiences, who sang along with it in movie houses, shouting “CopenHAYgen.”

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  1. Charlton Price says

    P.S. Benny Goodman also mispronounced the city name, on the vinyl of a very fine gig: Live in Copenhagen, with Zoot Sims, Peter Appleyard, Mousey Alexander. “CopenHAHgen” is particularly offensive locally because that’s the GERMAN pronunciation!

    Wish you could have squeezed in a pilgrimage to the Tivoli Gardens and the Montmartre Club, site of the Stan Getz albums “People Time” with Kenny Barron (duo) (maybe Stan’s last recording), also “Anniversary” and “Serenity” with Barron, Rufus Reid, and Victor Lewis — and other legendary gig

    • George Golden says

      On my way to a jazz venue somewhere in Copenhagen, 1967, I’m on a trolley. I ask a woman for directions, in the only language other than English in which I could possibly understand the answer. The woman’s 6-year-old granddaughter smiles and tells me where to transfer. Then she tells me her grandma doesn’t answer in German, which I immediately understand. And, “It’s CopenHAYgen–not what you say.”

  2. Peter Bergmann says

    Next time you are in Copenhagen you should probably reflect upon having a picknick on the graves of Ben Webster and Kenny Drew at Assistens Kirkegaard. It’s allowed. Ben and Kenny would enjoy the occasion. And if I should be in this charming and relaxed city at the time I’d love to join you.

  3. Ed Stover says

    Thanks for posting the Brubeck piece, Doug. Takes me back to high school when I first discovered jazz. Luv those guys!