The next leg of our Germany Recording Tour took us to Wittenberg (Lutherstadt), Germany where I was scheduled to play a concert on the Ladegast organ at the Schlosskirche. It was with great excitement what we drove into this historic city to meet Thomas and Sarah Herzer, Kantors of the Schlosskirche and Luther Seminary.
The tower of the Schlosskirche can be seen soaring above the skyline of Wittenberg with the words “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott” encircling the crown of the tower. We were definitely in Luther-land! The door of the Schlosskirche (Castle Church) is where Luther famously nailed his 95 Theses in 1517. Inside the door of this famous church is where I met Kantor Thomas Herzer.
After a brief tour of the church and the Ladegast organ, I was given the keys to not only the organ but this grand church. We were now free to come and go as we liked for the next 12 hours, to practice and record for as many hours as possible. After being shown to our room in the equally as historic Luther Seminary building, also from the early 1500s, we made the walk back to the castle church–walking the same route Luther walked between his home and the Castle Church. This area retains its 16th century charm and was a lovely walk on a cold moonlit night.
We spent several hours at the Ladegast organ practicing and choosing music for my concert, Orgel Punkt, the following day. The 4-manual, 57 rank mechanical action organ was built by Ladegast in 1864 and restored and expanded by the Eule firm in 1994. I chose a varied 30 minute program consisting of all Bach–the G Major Fantasie, Chorale Preludes on “Wachet Auf,” “Nun freut euch,” “Sei gegrusset” and the great St. Anne Fugue. We stayed late into the night to practice and record and enjoy the sound of this marvelous instrument in this tremendous space.
(I recorded several pieces for our CD, “Bach and Sons” at the Schlosskirche including the Pedal Exercitium by JS Bach, Chorale Prelude on “Jesus, My Great Treasure” by Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, and the Sonata in g minor by Carl Phillip Emmanuel Bach. The CD is available at Pro-Motion Music. Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist.