Monday, October 19, 2009

47 - no2

Hello all
Last night's concert was excellent. It was a Vespers for St John's Day and the music was all JS Bach. It started with a few words from a Lutheran pastor, then a prelude on the organ. We sang a chorale. The congregational singing was amazingly good, just well focussed and positioned, and everyone giving voice. There were between 140 and 200 people at a guess. Then there were responsorial readings, again from the Lutheran. The bass was young and had a wonderfully produced voice and an amazing range with nothing forced. Alto quite good. The sermon from an RC priest went on and on. Then the young and beautiful Soprano had a recitative and solo. She produced wonderful notes but they were not as well strung together as could be. Poor old tenor had only a recitative so it was hard to get a really good judgement, but he seemed to be good. We had another chorale, and then the four clergy present had a bit to say. The whole closed with the fugue of the first prelude. The organist/director was outstanding, controlling well the disparate forces, and delivering a most satisfying stylish performance.
This was in St Sebald's church which had been greatly damaged in WWII. Most valuable stuff had been removed and stored in rock-cut cellars but the organ was not and ruined. The new organ is very large but not so large as St Lorenz'. They have a reliquary of some founding saint and in the 15th C it was encased in a tall cast brass or bronze gothicky case like a chantry. As it was far too heavy to move it was encased in a concrete box and thus escaped unharmed when the roof fell in directly above it.
I took tram and bus home and made it by 10:30 so went to bed. Temp was still over 30 degrees. During the night there was a cool change and wind made the chimes in my room ring at 4:30am so I'm a bit weary.
Manfred suggested I was going to visit the ENEMY in coming to Germany but people have been wonderfully helpful and friendly. That is said before I mention the sole exception. I wandered into a bakeshop and asked the young assistant what was in a slice. The older person then made a disparaging remark about the English which caused consternation and shame on the Y.A.'s face. I walked out, turned around at the window and looking at the smirking woman carefully placed cap on head and walked to a street stall where I was served, as usual, courteously, helpfully, and efficiently. One exception does not disprove a rule.
Our German tour guide yesterday several times talked about N├╝rnberg being liberated by the 8th(?) Army and Patton. I think it is a hard thing for a national to consider they are being liberated by foreign troops, even if they disliked or hated the guy at the top. (Iraq springs to mind. I wonder if in the future they will feel they were liberated by the Coalition of the Willing?)
Today after a sumptuous breakfast with Petra we came to Bamberg. The cathedral is big and old, and the Bishop's Palace interesting. The bishop was also a prince and one of them had even been an Elector, one of the group that chose the Holy Roman Emperor. There is a large, formal rose garden with a restaurant tucked in behind but it is open to the public and well patronised. Then I went to the city museum and after a while left because they were understaffed and the dragons kept following me. It made me feel most uncomfortable and not trusted, so I wrote that in the visitor's book, together with my e-mail address. It will be interesting to see if they reply.
After, I thought I'd walk to the station (Petra is at work) but by that time the shops and Information had shut and there was only a map with a "you are here" arrow. This was almost entirely useless as the map is not oriented to the direction it is facing. Fortunately a young couple helped me out and I'm just pausing on the route before catching the train.
This morning Petra and I booked my tomorrow's ticket. I leave before 8am and get to Heidelberg at 12:23pm, having changed in Stuttgart. That will allow some time to look around before the 23:44 train to Paris which arrives at 7:01. With the plane not due to leave Paris until after 12 there should be plenty of time to get to the airport.
Time to go
God bless you all
John

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