12 November 2023

It rains and pours

It never rains but it pours, they say, so next day we are in Leipzig and we hear commotion and chase the source and it's a noisy stream of people with placards and chants and an opposing stream moving parallel but kept separate by police and much commotion and emotion and just a little joviality I reckon, not least for the woman I was chatting with who was explaining that this has become an annual event, first run by a group marching against masks and vaccinations at the start of Covid a few years back and now become annual with the local lefties out in response. We were somewhat amused but the cops didn't look it and I wouldn't like it to develop further but at least it's good to see a community with political concerns that will bring people out some time. Not that this was a sensible cause, but. So another little unexpected vision of this country. But this is Leipzig and people have told us it's a young city (metro population 1m [city 600K; nicknamed "Hypezig" or "The better Berlin"), ex-East Germany with a centre -eft government (Social Democrats [SPD] with Greens and Left parties (?)) but what it's really known to us for is JS Bach (but also Mendelssohn, JC&CPE Bachs, R&S Schumanns, Fabricius, Leibniz, Mayer, Wagner, Reineke, Beckman...) and we got in a first concert very soon after arrival. It was at famed Thomaskircke which is just 5 minutes walk from our stay. It was a Saturday afternoon, the church was teaming, the entrance charge was €2, this was a Lutheran service but mostly just a sermon and no applause, the performers were no less than the Thomanerchor and Gewandhausorchester and organist and soprano, alto, bass and conductor, it was called a Motette and included a grand organ piece by Mendelssohn, song by Kaminski, JC Bach, Reger, two songs the audience could sing along with (Gemeinderlieden "Zich an di Macht, de Am des Herrn" and "Dona nobis pacem") and a final JS Bach cantata (Wasa sol ich aus machen, Ephraim). The opening Mendelssohn was a big, noisy, powerful organ outing. Then a choral numbers with organ continuo accompaniment. The choir, mostly boys but with a sprinkling of girls these days, came down to stand in the aisles, perhaps to assist with the more complex Dona nobis pacem. The final JC Bach cantata was was bass aria, alto recitative and aria, soprano recitative and aria and the final choral summary all accompanied by a chamber group of historical instruments with continuo. Suffice to say the singing and playing was consistently spectacular and the choir had a different quality of voice, at least amongst the highly pitched boy voices. Just a stunner and we have another due in a hour or so as I write this. Must go...

Performing a Bach cantata and more at a Lutheran Service at Thomaskirchke were Johannes Lang (organ, continuo), Hanna Zumsande (soprano), Jolia Boehne (alto), Julian Dominique (bass), Thomanerchor Liepzig, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig comprising Henrick Hoschild (concertmaster, violin), Jan Wessely (horn), Susanna Wettemass and Thomas Hipper (oboe), David Petersen (bassoon), Nicolas Defranoux (cello), Henning Rasche (double bass) and Cornelia Osterwald (harpsichord) under Thomaskantor Andreas Reize (conductor).

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