Montag, Oktober 31, 2005

I love autumn. But with the time change came cold weather. Everyone says that this has been a mild October, so we'll see if November makes up for it.

Sonntag, Oktober 30, 2005

For all you Anton Bruckner fans here is his handwriting bidding his favorite organ farewell. It was found on the Brucknerogel when it was renovated.

Today I took my camera with me to mass at the Alter Dom. This is my teacher playing some Couperin on the Brucknerorgel.

Freitag, Oktober 28, 2005

This seemed like a fine example of hope after death. I took this in the park beside my university.

These globes adorn the front of my University. It's hard to take nice pictures of a big square building, so if you look in the background you can sort of see what it looks like. There are 8 or 9 floors I think, but everything I do takes place on the first 3.

Donnerstag, Oktober 27, 2005

"To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter; to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring - these are some of the rewards of the simple life." John Burroughs

Mittwoch, Oktober 26, 2005

Looking across the German countryside through a window of the Frauenstein Castle. Often what you look through changes your perspective of what is beyond. George Bernard Shaw says that " you are the window through which you must see the world". Be sure to keep your glass clean and the drapes tied back nicely.
Windows have always intrigued me. Shape, size, location, etc. Not only do they give us the ability to look out while we are inside, but they tell those outside a little bit about those within.
These windows attracted me for several reasons, but I'll leave you to discover your own.

Dienstag, Oktober 25, 2005

Looking out at the spire of the Neuer Dom from the Linzer Schloss, which is first documented in 799. I was very impressed that from the walls around the castle you could look out at the town and see what the big cathedrals actually look like. I wouldn't mind living up on a hill like that someday. Totally changes one's perspective.

Montag, Oktober 24, 2005

Other Blogs

So blogging seems to be the way of the future, or at least the way of those of us who are away from 'home' and want to keep others aware of our existence, because apparently living abroad is also the way of the future (but wasn't that fashionable years ago, too?). The following are some links to a few of my colleagues pages. If you want to be added, let me know.









Sonntag, Oktober 23, 2005

Afternoon swim, Linz.

The arts are very important to a large portion of Austrians. Looking down the south bank of the Danube there is the modern art museum followed by the Bruckerhaus, the orchestra house in Linz. Also along the bank are numerous modern art sculptures (I posted a photo of one awhile ago). I had the privilege of spending my weekend surrounded by art. Not only was I listening to good music performed well, I was surrounded by architecture that has existed longer than America. Today as I was sitting in a 17th century hall I closed my eyes and imagined what it might have been like to be there listening to the same music only a few hundred years ago. I have also seen so many 'new to me' instruments this weekend my brain is on overload. But I'm loving the experiences I'm having.

Samstag, Oktober 22, 2005

While I was taking pictures of the swans one of the ducks became either jealous or mad and decided to come over and give me a shower. If you look closely you can see the water droplets spraying off. It's kind of funny, but I really enjoyed being there among all the birds hearing them talk to each other and watching them interact. They have such unique personalities.
Sometimes in life it's the little stuff that makes the difference. Apparently I'm not the only one who realizes that. When I saw this lamp I just had to have a picture.

Freitag, Oktober 21, 2005

Taken from the bridge looking towards Postlingberg, a little town perched on top of a hill. It's on my list of things to do to take a bike ride there and get some photos. Looks like a perfect village, complete with a church in the middle. In the foreground you can see that the Danube is no longer blue, but it stills adds a distinct beauty to the area.

Donnerstag, Oktober 20, 2005

A church spire, a tree in it's autumnal attire and a swan drifting with the current. Fall days are lovely! But the evenings are becoming quite chilly. It was 7 degrees Celsius (around 44 degrees F) as I walked home from practicing.
Just when I thought Linz couldn't get any better I found swans! Those who know me know how I've always wanted a swan, regardless of how mean than can sometimes be. So when I was walking across the bridge the other day and saw them paddling along the bank a huge smile crossed my face. They are just so graceful. Today was rather overcast, but I was too excited to wait until a nice day. I'll shoot some more photos later but for now here are swans on the Danube.

Mittwoch, Oktober 19, 2005

What could be more enticing to a group of young organists than a set of larger than life pipes (would they be 128' ?) to climb on?! So even though it was the middle of the night and the metal was very cold, we hopped up for a quick pose. This is a monument to Silbermann in Frauenstein, where we stayed. It was a lot of fun being back with everyone and I think we were all refreshed as we returned to our posts of duty.
(photo used by permission)
The church in Grosshartmannsdorf shares a priest with Helbigsdorf. It took us longer than we had planned to arrive at this church. The priest looked a little surprised to once again see the same seven strangers who had appeared in his service the day before seat themselves in his congregation. One can only imagine what type of reasons he came up with for us needing that much religion! Something that I love about the graves surrounding these small town churches is that instead of just putting cut flowers that will die or fake flowers that look dead they plant a little flower garden around the tombstone. I think it's fitting that in a church yard there is life and hope associated with death.
So now that you've seen all the organs I visited on our Germany tour I thought I'd show you the buildings which house them. We were in Luther country, so thing aren't as ornate. However I found the churches to be very sharp and tasteful. This is the church in Helbigsdorf. While the boys were taking their turns playing Lorelei and I climbed up to the top of the bell tower. We were intrigued by the structure of a building that was several hundred years old. We also found the room that held the workings for the clock. Then we climbed up to find the bells at the very top. Great adventure and we decided that the men who built the church were probably quite short because she and I are just over 5 feet and we fit under beams and through doors perfectly.

Montag, Oktober 17, 2005

Day is Dying in the West

It's hard to believe I have been in Linz for a few days over a month! I really am glad I'm here. Besides enjoying my studies I just like the area. This evening right about sunset I took a walk to a part of town I hadn't visited before. There is an old castle on a hill and I hiked up and took some pictures looking out over the lights of the city. Pictures and words can't express the beauty of the evening. Guess you'll just have to come visit and we'll go for a stroll and you can experience it for yourself.

Sonntag, Oktober 16, 2005

The 1988 Alfred Fuhrer organ in the Heiliger Geist church in Dornach where I should be practicing right now instead of posting. This is a very modern church, built in the 1950s I believe, but the acoustics are pretty good. There is a lot of modern art around the church. Quite a contrast from the cathedrals around. Anyway, off I go.

Freitag, Oktober 14, 2005

Pigeons primping before the play, Leipzig.

Donnerstag, Oktober 13, 2005

Bach and Leipzig are always associated in my brain, so of course my tour of the town included a lot of time with Bach. This is Thomaskirche. J.S. Bach spent the last 27 years of his life as Cantor here and is buried beneath the floor of the chancel. I spent a bit of time just sitting inside imagining what things must have been like when Bach was there. Very inspiring.
Besides playing several good organs last weekend I also spent some time visiting Leipzig. There are two things that come to mind when I think about Leipzig and one of them is the Gewandhaus. Years of saying "... performed by the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig" on air at WSMC has made its mark. This picture was taken standing in front of the orchestra house looking across the Augustusplatz towards the opera house.

Mittwoch, Oktober 12, 2005

The bike path runs along the Danube. I took this picture looking towards the bridge I cross when I go to practice. It was about as perfect a day as I've seen since arriving here almost a month ago. It was a shame to go inside at all.

Autumn has arrived in Linz. Today I rode the bike to practice, but had to stop a few times to enjoy the weather and take some pictures. This is part of a tree along the bike trail I take to the church where I practice.

Dienstag, Oktober 11, 2005

The largest and most ornate instrument that we played was in St. Wenzel, Naumburg. It was built by Zacharias Hildebrandt between 1743 and 1746. Hildebrandt was a student of Silbermann and both Bach and Silbermann approved of this organ. The organ was electrocuted during the years when everyone thought that was the way to go, but the consol was left alone. The organ has now been restored to its original glory and was completed in 2000. It was amazing to play not just the instrument but also in the acoustics of the room. I will not soon forget this experience.
Due to popular demand, here is a picture of me. It was an honor to be able to spend some time at the consol where J.S. Bach himself played only a few hundred years ago. This is the Zacharias Hildebrandt organ in St. Wenzel, Naumburg. See the above entry for more information about the organ.
Of course no Silbermann tour would be complete without a visit to his museum, located in the Frauenstein Castle. We took a quick tour of the castle then spent the rest of our time in the museum. It contains information about Silbermann and all of his instruments as well as a full size replica of his first organ (1711), which sadly was lost in a fire not long after. We could have played this instrument for 20 euros, but declined since we had already played organs he actually built. Silbermann was one busy man, putting out an organ every year or two. He held the title "Honorary Court and State Organ Builder to the King of Poland and Duke of Saxony", a position that he convinced them to create just for him.

Following Grosshartmannsdorf we visited Freiberg. Silbermann built 5 organs in the town and 2 of them are located in the St. Marien Dom. This is a photo of his 2nd organ, 1714, and also the largest that he completed. I wasn't able to take a picture of the smaller organ due to no photography being allowed, but I just had to have a picture of his largest organ. We were not able to play this organ but had the opportunity to hear someone else attempt some Bach on it. Perhaps someday we will be allowed to touch the sacred keys.
Our next stop was Grosshartmannsdorf to play another Silbermann. His 38th organ built in 1741, it's larger than Helbigsdorf. Silbermann actually left registration suggestions for this organ and we had a lot of fun testing them out to see what we thought. Of course they sounded good and we spent several hours enjoying the instrument.
I had the privilege of spending this last weekend in Germany touring organs with a group of my friends from college. We are now spread all over Europe doing various things and it was awesome to be back together sharing music. This is the first organ we played. It was built by a good friend of J.S. Bach, Gottfried Silbermann, in 1728 in the little village of Helbigsdorf. The 22nd organ that he built, it is in excellent shape and is an example of the smaller organs that he built. Wonderful start to our Silbermann tour.

Donnerstag, Oktober 06, 2005

The spire of Linz's Neue Dom, Maria Empfaengnisdom, was supposed to be the tallest in Austria. But Vienna, the largest city and therefore having a bit of an edge, was not about to have Stephansdom outdone. So this spire is 134m, 3 meters shorter than its rival. The challenge is photographing something so tall when there are buildings all around and no nearby hills.

Mittwoch, Oktober 05, 2005

This is looking towards the front of the Alter Dom. It was the cathedral church of the diocese of Linz from 1785-1909 and is quite ornate. The marble high altar is by Colomba and Barberini with a picture by Antonio Bellucci. It is truly an inspiring place to be.

Dienstag, Oktober 04, 2005

Here is the Anton Bruckner Organ, located in the Alter Dom of Linz. It was built by Franz Xaver Krismann and Bruckner served as the organist from 1856 to 1868. The church was built from 1669 to 1678. I went to a recital given by the current organist, August Humer, who also happens to be my teacher. The organ has some amazing sounds, and the acoustics, while not quite as live as the new cathedral, are still phenomenal (4 to 5 secs). Last Sunday a Mozart mass was performed by a chamber orchestra and choir and it was just enthralling. I alternated between tears and goose bumps the entire time.
The Neuer Dom of Linz, built between 1862 and 1924, has 3 organs. One of them is not functional at this point, and I'm not sure if they have plans to fix it. The first photo is the organ at the front of the church and built by an Austrian. I heard it used during mass. The large organ at the back was built by a Dutch organ builder. It's an amazing organ. Andrea Marcon performed a recital on it of early music. Very very good. The acoustics in the cathedral are just wonderful. I don't know what the official number is, but I counted about 6.5 seconds several times during the recital.
This is the organ at the Stadtpfarrkirche Linz. The oldest cathedral in Linz, I've seen plaques with dates back to 1000. A Romanesque basilica was built on this site in 1286 and in 1648 the church was rebuilt in the Baroque style. The organ is in the romantic style and was just recently finished. I went to a concert on it by Thomas Schmogner who was performing Anton Bruckner's Symphonie Nr. 9 in d-moll. It was Schmogner's s own transcription for organ including the 4th movement which he had constructed from manuscripts.

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