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Songs From Denmark

Besides Danish cookies,the bronze statue of ‘The Little Mermaid’ at the Copenhagen harbour is possibly the only reference point for Indian tourists familiar with Denmark.

Written by Debesh Banerjee |
April 29, 2011 3:27:23 am

Besides Danish cookies,the bronze statue of ‘The Little Mermaid’ at the Copenhagen harbour is possibly the only reference point for Indian tourists familiar with Denmark. But Ebbe Munk,60,director of the Copenhagen Chapel Choir,wants to change that. The choir is visiting India for a performance at the Siri Fort auditorium on May 10,and Munk is keen that his country’s rich musical tradition,too,is appreciated.

For those who like a royal link,the Copenhagen Chapel Choir performed at the coronation of Denmark’s Prince Frederick in 2004 as well as at the Baptism of the Prince’s two children last week. Munk has been the conductor of the 87-year-old choir for almost a decade and he is now on a mission to expand the influence of this traditional church choir. “I believe there is curiosity about Western classical music in Asian countries and I would want to explore that aspect,” says Munk as he takes a break from rehearsals at the coffee shop of The Imperial hotel.

The chapel choir used to be a thriving part of Europe’s culture scene in the early 20th century,but some shut down once all Latin-speaking schools across Europe closed down. The Copenhagen Chapel Choir was among the handful of choirs that survived.

Munk will be conducting his choir of 30 boys and 14 men,which will perform familiar Western compositions from Schumann,Mendelssohn,and lesser-known Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. “The Danish composer Carl Nielson’s romantic and soulful lullaby Benedictus and Norgard’s Agnus Dei II have been favorites of mine,” he says.

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Munk adds that he has a big challenge ahead — to impress the Delhi audience. “I am in touch with violinist L Subramaniam,and we want him to perform with the choir,” he says.

The choir performs at Siri Fort auditorium on May 10. Time: 7.30 pm. Contact: 9971105554

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