Sunday, May 9, 2010

Schumann Haus and Bach Museum in Leipzig

I'm sorry for being lazy to update my blog. I came back to Berlin on May 7th after the concert in Helsinki. I do like travelling around, but coming back home always makes me feel good :-)

Today, I visited a friend in Leipzig and spent a wonderful time. We went to the Schumann Haus and the Bach Museum. As I'm currently working on pieces by these two composers, they were so inspiring to me.

There are at least 6 Schumann Hauses in Germany (Zwickau, Düsseldorf, Bonn, Trier, Metz and Leipzig), but this house in Leipzig is quite important to me, because this is where Robert and Clara lived together after their marriage and Robert wrote his amazing song cycle and his piano concerto for Clara, although he dedicated them to other people (supposedly for friendship?).

I enjoyed discovering the background of the composition of the Piano Concerto and seeing the manuscript of the Fantasy for piano and orchestra, which became the first movement of the Piano Concerto later on.

There were many quotes of R.Schumann, but I especially liked the following, which he wrote in a letter to his former teacher, Mr.Johann Gottfried Kuntsch, in 1832.

"Die Fugen selbst hab'ich der Reihe nach bis in ihre feinsten Zweigen zergeliedert; der Nutzen davon ist groß und wie von einer moralisch-stärkenden Wirkung auf den ganzen Menschen, denn Bach war ein Mann -durch und durch; bei ihm gibt's nichts Halbes, Krankes, ist alles wie für ewige Zeiten geschrieben."

("I have dissected Fugues (by Bach) themselves, one by one, up to their finest branches. The value is great, like a morally fortifying effect on the entire person, because Bach was a man, through and through; with him there's nothing halfway or sick, everything is written as if for eternity.")

The Bach Museum opened this March in front of the St.Thomas Church, where Bach was working as Cantor and Music Director for many years. The building looks symple, but the inside is full of modern technology. It is the most modernized museum of a classical composer I've ever seen! (Well, La Maison Erik Satie in Honfleur was also quite amusing with modern technology.)

I especially enjoyed the special exhibition "Meisterwerke im Wochentakt" (Masterpieces on a weekly basis"), where I could see some parts of his manuscript of cantatas, listen to its recordings with a headphone and read of course its conception and background. I was also amazed to see the family tree of Bach, even though I knew that he had many children (20 in total, but only 10 survived infancy!) . There was a room where you can sit on a comfortable sofa and listen to any work of Bach with headphone, searching by the BWV catalogue or title or instruments. But be careful, it is so relaxing that you can easily forget the time!

Anyway, the visit of those two museums fortified my motivation to work on their music (the Schumann's piano concerto and the Bach's Art of Fugue) enormously!