A Flying Visit – 3 Days in Copenhagen – Fennesz and Arve Henriksen – Thursday, 19th March 2015.
Following a rather uneventful Christmas holiday, Kevin and I decided that we’d book a short trip to go see a couple of our favourite musicians at a jazz concert in Copenhagen, Demark. The two musicians – Mr Christian Fennesz (Fennesz), the Austrian guitar and ‘glitch’ wizard, and trumpeter (and woodwind) extraordinaire Mr Arve Henriksen as part of The Lake festival at the Jazzhouse Venue in the city. We considered it would give us something to look forward to during the cold winter months.
The 18th March soon came around - the day before the concert. Following and effortless, very quick 1 hour 40 minute flight from London Gatwick, which proved to be inexpensive, and we found ourselves leaving Copenhagen Airport on a Wednesday night for the town.
We found our bearings, staying at the three star Best Western Hotel City, not far from the Opera House. An appropriate hotel for two minimalist “jazz” fans, where pictures of famous jazz artists decorate rooms and corridors. The hotel had obviously seen better days, but nonetheless was intriguing and quite sufficient – complete with Danish furniture and textiles. The lobby displays a large mural of a trumpet player on the back wall. Kevin joked it could have been Arve – but it wasn’t. Then it was upstairs and out again for dinner in a little restaurant in the all-too-neon and touristy (but great!) Nyhavn area.
The next day – the one we had been looking forward to since Christmas – saw a hearty complimentary breakfast, followed by a morning stroll and customary photo’s next to the “little mermaid” statue. Swans swam by, enjoying the spring sunshine as much as we were. There was more sight-seeing – a walk through the Churchill Park, the Amalienborg Royal Palace, shopping in Stroget and back to our hotel.
Later that evening, we had a short 20 minute scenic walk through the town to reach the Jazzhouse venue. Jazzhouse looked exactly as it sounds – a narrow entrance to a darkly-lit, intimate jazz venue – perfect! A quick snack and then we took our seats in Jazzhouse.
As world-leaders in their field it was all very exciting. Two world-class musicians took to the stage to a burst of enthusiastic applause. A quiet beginning with Fennesz on Mac, and later guitar, and Henriksen on trumpet, and later utilising his voice – which soars to great heights. It was a rare occasion, where these two musicians collaborated to excellent effect. Henriksen’s prowess on trumpet rang out across the hall, mesmerising the audience. The extreme concentration seen on Fennesz’s face was sheer credit to him in ensuring that programmed sequences were played correctly, over which he very powerfully played guitar.
We have both seen Fennesz and Henriksen play live – and can thoroughly recommend all recorded works by both artists – but to see both play together, and in a jazz setting, was triumphant and memorable.
There was one encore – a beautiful piece. The audience were extremely appreciative.
We were both left after the event – hoping that the evening had spawned the beginning of what could prove to be a very successful creative partnership for Fennesz and Henriksen.
The next day, we climbed the 400 steps to the top of the baroque spire of The Church of Our Saviour – interesting as the top 150 steps involved walking around the outside of the famous black and golden helix spire – thus allowing an excellent view over the city, despite it being a grey day. We spotted the major landmarks, our hotel, and the Jazzhouse venue area. The church, incidentally, houses Carillion bells and a vast organ, supported by two elephants. Weaving our way back to Nyhavn, we stopped for lunch on the terrace. Kevin enjoyed his pint of Belgian Grimbergen beer. I sampled the local Nyhavn ale – but was less appreciative!
A Friday flight late afternoon back to London from a very busy Copenhagen Airport may not be everyone’s ideal way to start their weekend – but we still had two days before having to return to the office, ready for Monday morning. We had an excellent short city break – music, sight-seeing, good food and happy memories.