Friday 15 August 2014

Our concert review

So we got a review in the Juterbog paper. Here is the link to the original article.  

And here is the English translation, kindly done by Isa Sinclair.

Church with recording quality

The opening event was worth it: The Youth Orchestra from the Canadian City Calgary gave a charity concert for the restoration of the Rühlmann-Organ. Despite the free admission a lot of donations were collected.

A beginning is made: On Thursday a total of 1068,21 Euros was donated for the restoration of the Rühlmann-Organ by the audience of the charity concert in the Nikolai Church of Jüterbog.
More than 200 people came to the Donation-Opening with a Symphony-Concert-Evening.
Among others the Youth Orchestra played works by Beethoven, Mozart but also Bach.

Concert with recording quality

Already with their first piece, the brilliantly played “Reformation-Symphony” by Mendelssohn for the opening, they had the audience on their side. Applause lasting for several minutes rewarded the young musicians. And the Orchestra itself was impressed at the end: Conductor Edmond Agopian praised the excellent acoustics in the church in Jüterbog, “ this here has recording quality”, he raved after the concert. He promised that he would like to come back to Jüterbog with his orchestra one day.
the rest is about the restoration of the organ

Thursday 14 August 2014

August 12th

We got up at 5:00 this morning to beat the crowds to Neuschwanstein. This fairytale castle was built by King Ludwig II, a dreamer and Wagnerophile who died leaving his castle unfinished. It is kind of dreamlike inside as well, a bit out of touch with the real world, and very, very beautiful. Perhaps this quality is what inspired Walt Disney to model his "Sleeping Beauty" castle at Disneyland after Neuschwanstein.

After the castle we went luge riding and ziplining.

The zipline

The Bavarian countryside and towns are beautiful. I don't know about y'all, but I feel like I'd really like to spend some time living here.

(By the way, I was just kidding about the zipline.)

Tuesday 12 August 2014

August 11th

I should mention that at the last two concerts, the audience members have been crowding around Mr A afterward and asking him for autographs and pictures with him. I am told he signs the autographs on behalf of the CYO. What a magnanimous leader (I did have to look up the spelling of that). 

This morning we went to the Dachau concentration camp, the first of its kind and the model for all the others. Personally I found it a very moving and disturbing experience - "gross" was the word that came to mind. I think everyone was similarly affected. 

It rained while we were there and kept on raining throughout the day. We had a few hours free in the afternoon, so we donned slickers, unsheathed umbrellas and carried on bravely. There are a lot of beautiful churches in downtown Munich. We also got to see the theatre where Mozart's Idomeneo (on our concert program) was first performed. 

The final concert of the tour was today, at the Golden Hall in Augsburg. Now there's a nice concert venue. It was our most spectacular performance yet. Congratulations, hugs, kisses and tears all round. 

I could not bring myself to take any pictures at Dachau but here are the ones I did take. I am hoping to get a lot of pictures from everyone else which I will continue to post after the tour. 

Sunday 10 August 2014

August 10th

This morning we had to leave Leipzig. There's just never enough time to see and do and absorb everything we want to!

Spent a good chunk of the day in Weimar, where Bach worked, where he rotted in jail for a month and where his sons CPE and WF were born. Liszt also lived and worked here and we visited his apartments which have been turned into a museum. All the furniture was original, save the electric light stands, and was arranged in the same formation as it was when Liszt lived there.

On the way to Munich we stopped in Bayreuth for a photo opp with the Festspielhaus. What a neat building! 

August 9th

This is without a doubt the only non-bus day we will spend. We got to have an entire day in Leipzig, with walking tour, free time and concert in the evening. Probably the most amazing thing was St Thomas Church, where Bach was Kapellmeister for many years and where his bones lie today. We also got to visit the Bach museum and the Mendelssohn museum. This latter is located in the apartment where the composer lived and worked in Leipzig, and included an interactive conducting simulation. There was a baton, electronic scores and a roomful of tall speakers set up to resemble an orchestra, one for each section. One of the available pieces was the 4th movement of Reformation symphony, which is on our concert program for this tour. So naturally, we all clustered around our respective section-speakers and clamoured for Mr. A to take the baton. What a riot! The recording adjusts its speed according to your beats, and certain sections will play louder if you point at them. Everyone was laughing their heads off as EA tried to get the recording to behave. He is probably the only person ever to use that simulation that is better at conducting a real live orchestra than a recording. (For the record, getting a teenage symphony orchestra to play well is exponentially more difficult, and Mr. A does this with ease.)

Here are some pictures of the Thomaskirche and of our concert. After the tour I will add more. Keep them coming!