I left our group just outside Leipzig in my first post. Now we have arrived in that beautiful, historic city. The Thomaskirch, where Bach was choir director from 1723-1750, was our main destination in the city, itself. There is a memorial to Bach outside the church. I had my picture taken with a member of our tour group, as did many others!.
Ullrich Bohme, the organist was so nice to demonstrate the two organs in his church for us before turning them over to us. This is the church where Bach is actually buried. His grave, in the floor in front of the altar, is quite a mecca for music pilgrims. While we were there, a group of Japanese children were singing a beautiful song down below us on the main floor of the church. At the gift shop near the Thomaskirche I bought a book telling the history of the church. It made for interesting reading on the bus as we continued on our journey. Our group had time for sightseeing in Leipzig, and one of the attractions was Moelsner’s Music Store, which has been in business in the same location since 1860.
A day trip from Leipzig took us to Zschortau, (pronounced “Chor – taw”, in case you’re wondering.) For me, this was one of the best parts of the trip. I love the small Germany villages. The St. Nikolai church was very ancient (began as a medieval defense tower and the church was added later), and the Lutheran pastor was a delight! His name was Pastor Sanf, which, he informed us, means “mustard”. He certainly was spicy and full of life and fun. He came onto our bus as we were leaving to bless our journey. We sang “God Be With You ‘Til We Meet Again” as we drove away. Here’s the Scheibe organ we played there. It is the original organ which was examined by J.S. Bach in 1746 (and pronounced good!)
We visited another little village outside Leipzig called Stormthal, where there was a restored Hildebrandt organ. Originally built in 1723, it was the first organ built by the newly trained Zacharias Hildebrandt, and heartily approved by Bach.
I leave you again so that I can publish this. We will continue outside Leipzig next time…and then further into Bach country. Join me again for Part 3!