Saturday, 9 November 2013

Views from my balcony (18): Late afternoon lights on the Danish side of the Sound

This time of the year it is quite dark already in the late afternoon, particularly on a cloudy day. For a few minutes a small area of the last sunlight brightened up the sky above Helsingør at about 5 p.m. this afternoon.

"A Celebration of Classic MGM Film Musicals" - An unforgettable evening at the 2009 Proms

Sarah Fox and Sir Thomas Allen at the Prom 22, 2009.
One of the nice things about the BBC Proms is that they cover such a wide range of music. Late last night for example the BBC HD channel rebroadcast Prom 22, "A Celebration of Classic MGM Film Musicals", one of the absolute highlights of the 2009 Proms.

Soprano Sarah Fox.

Conductor John Wilson and his hand picked orchestra, the Maida Vale Singers and an array of star vocalists, including Kim Criswell, Sarah Fox, Sir Thomas Allen, Curtis Stigers and Seth MacFarlane, made this celebration of the golden age of Hollywood musicals truly unforgettable. John Wilson had painstakingly reconstructed the original orchestral scores, which were lost when the studio destroyed its music library to make way for a car park.

Sir Thomas  Allen.

Sir Thomas Allen and Sarah Fox.

Kim Criswell

For friends of all those great movie classics, including The Wizard of Oz, Meet Me in St Louis, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, High Society, Gigi and Singin' in the Rain, this stunning evening of great film music is fortunately available also on DVD.     

Friday, 8 November 2013

Medieval and modern in Helsingborg's Church of St. Mary

Visiting medieval cathedrals and churches is always fascinating. On every visit you discover something new or unexpected.

Like today, when I spent some time in the medieval Church of St. Mary in Helsingborg - the church where the great Buxtehude learned to play the organ - I noticed how well the beautiful modern mosaic windows go together with medieval art objects:

Detail of the 15th century altarpiece.


Thursday, 7 November 2013

Dutch cargo ship M/V Dintelborg on its way to Vlissingen

M/V Dintelborg close to Helsingborg/Helsingør today.

Late this afternoon the 133 m x 15 m Dutch registry cargo ship M/V Dintelborg was on its way from Kronshtadt to Vlissingen. Moderate or rough seas are forecasted for the German Bight, but the ship should have a safe journey.

However, the Dintelborg has had its share of really bad weather. A couple of years ago the ship was in serious distress southeast of Nantucket Island:

The vessel in question was the M/V DINTELBORG, a Dutch flag, gearless, box hold bulker, with an overall length of 438’, and a deep draft of 22’ aft, carrying a full load (8000 MT) of steel from Oxelosund, Sweden to Delaware. According to information we later received, the vessel had encountered very heavy weather between February 15 and 17 after leaving the English Channel, and had suffered a variety of damages, mostly to deck fittings and bulwarks. We were also advised that some time subsequent to the initial weather damage the ship had a fire and she became disabled on February 25. Information later received from the Coast Guard confirmed that the fire was confined to the bridge, but the damage there required that the main engine and propeller be secured, and emergency steering engaged. It was also reported that power on the ship was limited. --

The tug ROWAN M. MCALLISTER was immediately dispatched to perform the tow. The ROWAN had a rough trip from Providence to the ship through heavy seas and high winds. However, the M/V DINTELBORG was eventually met at sea and taken safely in tow by the ROWAN at 0130 on February 27. According to deckhand Gene Douglas, “You really had to have your head on a swivel as we were attaching the wire. The swells were the biggest I had ever encountered. The winds were gusting up to 60 mph and the deck was really slick from the constant wash. Captain Warren Fossett did a great job holding the tug steady in those conditions. Because the DINTELBORG had lost power, the crew had to haul the lines up by hand. What normally takes about 2 minutes took 20 and 7 or so of their crew members to get the wire up onto the ship.” By 1000 that morning, the M/V DINTELBORG was safely underway and the tug and tow were making 4 knots toward Providence, about 160 NM away.

On This page you can view some interesting pictures of the rescue operation.

The largest Swedish research vessel R/V Skagerak in the Sound

R/V Skagerak approaching Helsingborg/Helsingør today.

Research vessel, R/V Skagerak, owned and operated by the Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Sciences at the University of Gothenburg, was going southwards in Øresund.

The 38.16 m x 9.10 m Skagerak - the largest Swedish research vessel - is fully equipped for marine research in water depth down to 1000 metres. Its maximal endurance at sea is two weeks. During longer expeditions the Skagerak can take 10 scientists or students with its crew of six.

The Skagerak is a very nice looking ship, but due to its age (built in Germany in 1968) the operating and repair costs are very high, which is why the Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Sciences would like to have it replaced by a more modern vessel.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Cargo ship Mosvik in Øresund

The small general cargo ship Mosvik (82 m x 12  m), here shown close to HelsingborgHelsingør, was this afternoon on its way to Creeksea:

Danish steamer Prinsesse Marie - sunk by Russian auxiliary cruiser Terek in 1905

This is the Danish East Asiatic Company's (Danish: Det Østasiatiske Kompagni ) steamer Prinsesse Marie, which in 1905 was sunk in the China Sea by the Russian Imperial Navy's auxiliary cruiser Terek on June 22 1905. The Russians wrongly believed that Prinsesse Marie was carrying contraband to the Japanese.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Dutch Navy Patrol ship Groningen using its (water) cannon in Øresund

HNMLS Groningen using its water cannon in Øresund.

The Royal Netherlands Navy's new offshore patrol ships HNMLs Groningen, HNMLS Zeeland and HNMLS Holland and the frigate HNMLS Van Speijk, which went southwards in the Sound last Friday, today returned, apparently on their way back home.

Groningen, the newest of the patrol vessels, gave a nice "water salute" when passing Helsingborg/Helsingør:

Another image of the "saluting" Groningen.

The HNMLS Zeeland close to Helsingør.

HNMLS Holland in Øresund today.

Mezzo Monica Groop and guitar player Timo Korhonen making wonderful music together!

When my favourite mezzo soprano - Monica Groop - and my favourite guitar player - Timo Korhonen - get together, the result is wonderful music!

The Catalonian folk songs are included in Monica Groop's and Timo
Korhonen's new CD "Pasacalle".


Sunday, 3 November 2013

Stortorget - Malmö's historic main square

Stortorget ("the big square") has since its founding in 1538 been the main square in Malmö. For a long time the 2,500 square metres also was the largest square in Scandinavia. Several notable buildings, including the Town Hall, surround the Stortorget. In the middle of the square stands the equestrian statue of King Charles X Gustav, who took Scania (Skåne) from the Danes through the treaty of Roskilde in 1658.

The square is often used for large scale public outdoor events, including the annual Malmö Festival.

This is how Stortorget looked in the year 1900:

And this is how Stortorget looked yesterday:

Here is a picture from another part of the square. On the right side of the yellow building is the neo renaissance style house built by the owner of the Leijonet ("The Lion) pharmacy in 1896:

Stortorget seen from the Town Hall:

The Malmö railway station now - and in the year 1900

The Malmö Central Station train shed.

The first railway station in Malmö was opened in 1856, coinciding with the opening of the Malmö - Lund railway. Since the opening the railways station has been rebuilt, extended and modernised several times to cater for changing needs.

A new train shed with four new tracks was built in 1891. This is how it looked at the turn of the century:

The Malmö railways station train shed in 1900.

Another photo, probably shot in 1897.

In 1924 architect Folke Zettervall designed a new train shed, which is still in use, although most of the train traffic has moved to the new lower level:

In 2000, both local and long-distance trains began running directly to Denmark via the new Öresund Bridge. Malmö became the centre of the new Oresund train regional railway system spanning eastern Denmark and much of southern Sweden, which in 2009 became integrated with local buses and trains in most of its service areas. The trains were, however, forced to reverse direction in Malmö’s terminal station, creating delays for anyone travelling to Denmark from Lund and beyond, and restricting the frequency of service, as each train had to both enter and leave Malmö by the same tracks.
The opening of the City Tunnel in December 2011 made it possible for passenger trains to travel through the station, which had previously been a terminus, and most traffic shifted to the new lower level. All passenger traffic to Denmark now uses the tunnel, and most local trains continue to the new Triangeln and Hyllie stations even if they are not going beyond Malmö. The existing train shed was, however, renovated at the same time, to accommodate occasional long-distance trains including some services to Stockholm and the night express to Berlin, but several tracks were removed to make room for an extended bus terminal.
 (Source: Wikipedia)

This is how the Malmö Central Station train shed looks today:

The old train shed is nowadays mostly used by long-distance trains.

In one of the old halls there are now a number of restaurants and coffee shops.

Another image of the restaurant hall.

The St Peter's church in Malmö

The Gothic style St Peter's cathedral (Sankt Petri Kyrka in Swedish) is the oldest church in Malmö. Construction on it started in the beginning of the 14th century. The St Petri is very similar to the St. Mary's of Lübeck.

(Image by the Church of Sweden)

The tower of the church has changed shape several times. The present design of the 105 m (344 ft) tower is from the 1890s.

The white interior is from the 17th century.

The altar is said to be the largest wooden altar in Europe.

The organ is a 11,2 m Marcussen from 1951.

The pulpit is from 1599.

Another view of the pulpit.

There are many beautiful epitaphs in the St Petri.

The baptistery still retains the original vault and wall paintings.
Another general view.

A tribute to Ulrik Neumann - a wonderful musician in a great musical family

Three posters from the exhibition at the Theatre Museum.

There is a great number of musical families in the history of music. The best known is perhaps the Bach family. In Scandinavia the Danish-Swedish Neumann family is another fine example.

Right now you can see an interesting little exhibition, "The Neumanns - 150 years on the stage", at the Theatre Museum in Malmö.

The guitarist, singer, actor and composer Ulrik Neumann (1918 - 1994) is  probably the internationally most well known member of the family. Together with his sister Gerda he toured successfully in Europe already in the 1940s.

In 1958 - 1961 Ulrik Neumann performed together with jazz violinist Svend Asemussen and Swedish singer Alice Babs in the Swe-Danes trio, in my opinion one of the finest European jazz- and entertainment ensembles ever to hit the stage.

Scandinavian shuffle became a signature song for the Swe-Danes:

Here Alice Babs and Ulrik Neumann perform a wonderful version of  Hoagy Carmichael's "Two sleepy people":


Ulrik Neumann's  Love Walz is a classic in the guitar repertoire:

Ulrik's son Mikael and Mikael's son Tobias are continuing the Neumann family's impressive 150 year old musical and stage tradition, shown in this "family tree", which is part of the exhibition at the Malmö Theatre Museum: