Morning dawned bright, clear and cold in Dresden. We enjoyed yet another delicious and bountiful German breakfast before heading out for our day of exploration and recording.
We started the day by meeting organist, Thomas Lennartz at the Dresden Hofkirche to play the magnificent organ built by Silbermann. This stunning organ was recently restored to its original glory–a majestic work of art equal to the majesty of the space in which it is played. The sound of this instrument resounded through the reverberant space leaving the listener and player in awe.
I enjoyed playing and recording the large toccatas and fugues of Johann Sebastian Bach. It was a space for playing loudly–for using the full resources of this large instrument. It was time to experience filling this cathedral with the glory of Bach. While I enjoyed playing this instrument, David enjoyed exploring and photographing the opulence of the church including the intricate pulpit, the altar area and of course the organ case–all of which were generously gilded with gold leaf. The renovation and restoration of the cathedral and organ had recently been completed in 2004.
Since we had some free time, we took time to be tourists and explored the court area located across the street from the Hofkirche. We enjoyed walking the high walkways of the court area and looking down into the court gardens and at the surrounding buildings of the court and city. The majesty of the court was evident in the gorgeously restored entry gate adorned with its massive gold crown. We sat in a glass pavillion and enjoyed another tasty coffee and pastry, relaxing and simply taking in the view of this historic riverfront city.
Soon, however, we were back in the KA and headed for the village of Reinhardtsgrimma, a small village near the Czech border. The terrain became hilly as we left Dresden and traveled through tiny village after tiny village along narrow barely two lane roads making our way to the Dorfkirche of Reinhardtsgrimma where one more Silbermann awaited our discovery.
The weather had turned cold and a hint of snow was in the air as we were directed to the pastor’s home. Finding this home, a lovely timbered house three centuries old, we met Johannes and Kristen Keller, the pastor and his wife. We were warmly welcomed to Reinhardtsgrimma and taken to the simple yet lovely church to see and play and record on another gorgeous Silbermann organ.
This church and organ had also recently been reconstructed and renovated. We enjoyed several hours of recording and playing on this distinctive instrument with sparkling, dazzling bright sounds–almost like the sounds I imagine shards of glass would produce. We enjoyed several hours in this place soaking in the sounds of this organ knowing our trip was coming too quickly to an end. However, we finally were forced to leave by the cold–we were chilled to the bone and my fingers were nearly stiff even in my fingerless gloves.
Upon returning the church and organ keys to Kristen Keller, she invited us in to the warmth of her home and we shared tea and cookies in her lovely kitchen getting to know this engaging woman. Again, too soon, however, when making a new friend, it was time to head toward our destination–a B&B high in the mountains nearly on the Czech border.
Winding our way to the top of a mountain past ski lodges and hotels, we finally came to our lodging. However, we were sent by the proprietor half-way down the mountain to a different hotel. Evidently he had rented our room to someone else or had decided to close for the day–we couldn’t actually discern the reason–but he had made arrangements for us to stay at a very nice place. So, all was well.
We enjoyed a dinner of goulash and potato dumplings that evening in the hotel restaurant. Retiring to our room, we were glad to have a warm welcoming place to stay on a cold-nearly snowy night in the mountains of central Germany. Another truly marvelous day!
(Recording of Toccata in d minor by Johann Sebastian Bach on the 1755 Silbermann of the Dresden Hofkirche; recording of Christians Rejoice on the 1751 Silbermann of the Dorfkirche of Reinhardtsgrimma are included on my CD, The Organ Music of Bach and Sons available at Promotion Music.)
Jeannine Jordan, concert organist