The language of music takes many forms in Thuringia. From atmospheric hymns and the rich, reverberating organ sounds of Bach in the churches to spectacular piano performances at music festivals, in the virtuoso style of Franz Liszt or as modern interpretations.
Anyone who believes that music is merely a vehicle for conveying messages is wide of the mark. Where words end, and where religion comes up against the confines of modern life, music gives us answers, allows us to hear the words in a new way and to make sense of them on a personal level. That is just what Bach did when his 13 cantatas expressed Luther’s words in a whole new language. Or Heinrich Schütz, Thuringia’s ‘father of music’, who also put the great reformer’s writings to music.
Listen closely to hear the musical stories Thuringia has to tell.
Wagner was no stranger to Thuringia. He visited the Venus Grotto and Wartburg Castle, where he found inspiration for his opera Tannhäuser, stayed in Meiningen with the duke and his family and obtained a fake passport in Jena. His legacy reflects the way he lived his life – bold, unconventional and full of drama …
Throughout his life, the most famous scion of the Bach dynasty, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750), proved that musicians are a restless sort … Bach was born in Eisenach, while Weimar, Ohrdruf, Arnstadt and Mühlhausen had the good fortune to provide a home to his talent, even if his paymasters of the time did not always appreciate it.
The Kunstfest Weimar arts festival is one of the town’s cultural highlights during the summer months. Internationally acclaimed artists join Weimar’s young, creative scene to transform its streets into a vibrant and inspiring stage. In this interview, the festival’s artistic director, Rolf C. Hemke, provides a fascinating look behind the scenes and also reveals which famous person from the past he would like to have coffee with.