Jun 26, 2014
Auf wiedersehen Leipzig! - Leipzig BachFest, June 2014
Julia Wedman, violin
I am writing my last blog entry from Eisenach, Germany, where I have come for a couple of days to relax after the festival, visit the BachHaus Museum and get to know the town where Bach lived as a child.
As I reflect on our time in Leipzig, I am struck most by the warm feeling of having been surrounded by kindred spirits. It is incredibly heartwarming to experience so many people coming together (past and present) who have spent so much time working, researching, learning, performing, and listening to Bach's music - we are united across time and space in our desire to keep his incredible music alive for the world to enjoy.
Tafelmusik's last concert at the festival was a beautiful performance at the Nikolaikirche of Handel's Brockes-Passion, a rarely played work that Bach held in high regard and even copied out for his own use. It has some particularly beautiful arias sung by Mary, including the stunning duet "Soll mein kind" sung by Jesus and his mother. The librettist Bertolt Heinrich Brockes took a bit of artistic liberty and included several pieces by characters (including Mary) who do not actually have text in the passion stories in the bible. We were joined by British conductor Paul Goodwin (who works with several Tafelmusik musicians at the Carmel Bach Festival), the fantastic Zurich Sing-Akademie choir, and eight wonderful solo singers.
At the end of the concert, there was a special moment backstage where we were giving thank-you gifts to the organizers of the festival, with whom we have become great friends. Dettloff Schwerdtfeger, the managing director of the festival, shared with us that he had been at school in Canada when the Berlin Wall came down, and heard all of the news from a Canadian perspective. He was deeply moved (as were we) as he spoke about what a strong connection with Canada he would always have. It seemed like the perfect completion of a circle of friendship as we shared that poignant moment together in the Nikolaikirche, where the revolution began.
This was a tour that we will cherish in our memories for many years to come, and we look forward to further collaborations with the wonderful Bach-Archiv in Leipzig as we prepare for Alison MacKay's new Bach program which will premiere in Toronto in May 2015.
Saying goodbye to Nikolaikirche. Photo by Julia Wedman