08 September 2019

Masses, more than masses

That evening was allocated to the best attended concert I've attended in yonks. It was an organ concert in the Dom, the famed and glorious mediaeval Cathedral here in Cologne. This is a huge space with the central aisle towering 45m above the floor. A review I read mentions seating for 2000 and it was full with tourists but not just. The cathedral holds 12 free organ concerts over summer. This organist was Stefan Schmidt, of the Wurzburg Dom, playing Grunenwald, Brahms and his own work called Improvisation, which I expect was once improvised but now written. This was a mammoth organ in a mammoth space and it filled it with ease. I wondered what blower would be required to power such an organ. The first piece was contrasting quiet and loud passages. The Brahms amused me with some carnival passages, just one or two fugues despite the title and otherwise a big and lengthy work. The cathedral is full of tourists during the day and as audience for these concerts. I wondered if the masses attend Catholic Masses in such numbers these days. Regardless, the building is a wonder.

Stefan Schmidt (organ) performed at the Dom Cologne.

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