Hello everyone! Yesterday was a very special day in the trip because we visited the city of Leipzig (the city where both Bach and Mendelssohn worked and lived for a substantial period of time). Let's get into what happened in Leipzig yesterday!
Waking Up and traveling
Yesterday I woke up before my alarm. I got ready, and worked on the article. I spent over an hour working on it, and most of the time was spent formatting. When I finished the article, we had bread for breakfast.
We left around 9:30am. We had to drive to Leipzig, and it was a 2 hour drive. Just for the record, there are crazy drivers in Germany too. In fact, Hinrich I'd one of them (I'm kidding). There are a few things different about driving in Germany. For instance, driving stick seems to be more common. I never learned how to drive stick so I don't really understand all of the acrobatics Hinrich has to do to drive.
We arrived in Leipzig around 11:30am. There was a parking garage right next to our first destination (the Church of Saint Thomas). This was the first picture I got however. I'm not sure what the building is used for, but it looks very cool.
St Thomas Church
The church looked so incredible in both architecture, and in what it represents. Much of sacred music finds its roots here at this church; where not only Bach was employed, but also Mendelssohn. I can only imagine what the services would have been like.
Outside of the Church, was a man playing the flute and a man playing the accordion. The flutist was quite gifted though I was moderately annoyed with some of the pieces they played. It was a little distracting to be inside of this remarkable Cathedral, and hear two stereotypical Mozart pieces (the Turkish March, and Eine Kleine Nacht Musik (in the middle of the day might I add?)) playing through the doors. Yet that being said, he was one of the best flutist I've ever heard live. Anyway, the inside of the church was quite peaceful. They have two organs in addition to their world famous boy choir. We sat in the church for a while looking at the altar, or other displays. I also prayed a little bit. Here is a picture from the inside:
After we left the church, we tried to go into the Bach museum, but learned there was an hour wait because of covid restrictions. So we went to get lunch. For lunch, we had Bratwurst. It was quite good! But does not compare to a good New York hot dog. . .
To preface this next story, I need to tell a story I forgot to tell in the last article. Throughout the day in Erfurt, wherever we went, it felt like we'd run into the opera singer we heard singing first near the town square. We ran into her and the accordion player at least 3 times, and also saw only her on our way to lunch, and our way out of the city. We joked to each other that they'd probably be in Weimar the next day. When we got to Weimar, they were actually there! We both kind of looked astonished at one another, and then I joked that they'd be in Leipzig the next day, but Hinrich thought the drive was too long, and I agreed with him.
Fast forward to the Bratwurst, and what do we hear? Ave Maria being sung from a block away, and we both looked at eachother like there is no way. So we walked over, and of course, it was them. I'm not even gonna talk about the bets we made in Weimar. Hinrich may or may not have promised me a new car if they were in Leipzig...
Anyway, we decided to go talk to them since this all had happened, and so I asked them if they'd been in Weimar the day before, and Erfurt two days prior, and they said they were there. I then told them that either they are following us, or we are following them because we were there, too. I don't think they understood English very well so that was about the extent of our conversation.
The Bach Museum
Anyway, after all of that unfolded, we returned to the Bach museum to see how long the wait was, and we were surprisingly permitted to enter. We bought tickets and went into the museum for an audio tour.
The first room had a picture of the family tree of musicians that Bach himself had made. It went from several generations back to Bach's own children. The coolest thing about this room, is music by Bach's family members was playing, and who it was would light up on the family tree. Considering the number of talented musiciabs, I can only imagine what Thanksgiving dinners were like for the Bach family (Yes. That was a joke, but the point is still valid).
The next room had an organ that Bach had played on displayed. I wonder if Bach realized while he was playing that organ that it would someday be placed on a pedestal for a bunch of strangers to admire simply because he had once sat on it. This room also had a cool display that explained Bach's history as an organist, and pipes that could be twisted to play some of his organ pieces.
The next room had a display of Baroque instruments, and I'd constantly playing one of 3 pieces. The cool aspect of this room was that you could push a button to have each of the instruments amplified to hear what they sounded like in the context of the piece. The instruments were quite different back then.
The next room discussed Bach's family life, and his home. The only piece of furniture they still can trace to Bach is an iron chest. This chest was a donation box in a museum for years, and one day a visitor noticed the Bach seal on the lid, and it was discovered that the chest had been owned by Bach.
The next room discussed Bach's patronage and employment. It discussed the importance of Bach's political connections, and also the importance of the titles Bach held. It also told the story of Frederick the Great making Bach improvise a fugue from a hard subject, and also told about the piece of music that was recently discovered from Bach.
The next room discussed Bach's official duties in Leipzig. I thought Bach was busy, but man was he busy. For his job at the church, he had to organize the music for several services throughout the week for not one, but four churches. He also had to organize music for public ceremonies, funerals, and weddings. He also had to teach the boys choir, and music lessons to individual students, and he was required to cover for the headmaster for one week a month if I remember correctly. For his job, he would compose a new cantata every week. The most surprising thing of all? Bach was their third choice based on contingency.
The next room was a listening room with a computer with a lot of Bach's work. I personally listened to some of St Matthew's Passion, and the Mass in b minor. Here's what I listened to from the mass in b minor:
Unfortunately, the final room in the exhibit did not allow for photography. It is called the treasure room, and contains several original Bach manuscripts, and other sheet music used or written by Bach. It also has one of the original Bach portraits! Yes. One of the two originals that were made. Hinrich Saud to me "this is the most valuable thing I've ever looked at." While I don't think that's true considering he's looked at the Cathedral in Erfurt, I still see what he meant.
Overall, the Bach museum was such a cool experience. We spent a lot of time there, and read everything that pertained to music. Unfortunately we weren't too interested in the fragments of Bach's wall paper, and how the museum came to get them.
Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time in the day. We did not have time to visit Mendelssohn's house, but did see his statue outside of the church. A funny story is that from a distance I thought the statue was if Bach, and said to Hinrich "Imagine being as big as Bach. So big that you work for the same church that Felix Mendelssohn will eventually work at, and they don't have any statues of Mendelssohn because of how prominent you are." When we got to the statue, Hinrich dramatically exclaimed "You lied to me! There is a statue of him!"
We decided to purchase Fries, and leave after the Bach museum. On our way our of Leipzig, a young German girl saw our Fries, and walked up to me to ask where we had gotten them. I frantically tapped Hinrich's arm so he could answer her since I had no idea what she was saying. If O thought talking to girls was hard in English, it's a hundred times harder in a language you do not speak.
Oh! Speaking of not speaking German, I bought a book of German poetry by Goethe (the complete poems of him). It took me about 40 minutes to get through one poem on the way home translating what I could to Hinrich, and asking him what what I didn't know meant.
Dinner and The Green Mile
When we got home, we watched an episode of The Last Kingdom. Hinrich then read some of the poetry from the boom I got, and I listened to Mendelssohn's Elijah. We then ate dinner, and watched The Green Mile. It was quite moving! We then went to bed.
Thanks for reading this! And thank you all for your continued interest in my trip! This was by far the most exciting day for me!