Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wieskirche and Christmas in Germany

It was Christmas 1988. I was in law school, and my former wife and I were living in a tiny apartment in West Vancouver, British Columbia. A program aired on either PBS or CBC entitled "Christmas in Germany." Loretta Swit, who hosted the show, went all around West Germany (this was a year before the fall of the Berlin Wall) during the month of December visiting various places and relating German Christmas customs and traditions.

Nearing the end of the show, she visited Wieskirche in southern Bavaria, considered to be a masterpiece of Rococo art and architecture. She mentioned that Albert Schweitzer, the famed theologian, physician, organist and philosopher, once played the church's magnificent organ, and there was a short segment where the church's organist played for the film.

Picture of the interior of the church (Internet)

We recorded the show, and every year thereafter, we sat down together as a family and watched it at the beginning of Advent. Particularly for the older children, it became a cherished tradition.

I thought of them today as we drove under cloudy skies the short 30-minute drive to Wieskirche. I wanted to see it myself, but I also wanted to see it for them. As we approached the church, we drove through what looked like park land. The grass here is so unbelievably green - even as we approach the 1st of October. Then there are the luscious trees, both deciduous and coniferous. The leaves are just starting to change. I would imagine that in 7-10 days, the colors here will be - if you're really into fall - orgasmic.

Organ loft




Very old graffiti carved into the pews

What was particularly cool is that, a few minutes after we arrived, there was a short organ "meditation," and we got to sit in a pew listening to Jeremiah Clarke's "Prince of Denmark March" while gazing at the rococo explosion of color around and above us.

I did record it, but the WiFi limitations of where we are staying are such that I cannot post it to YouTube. But here's a lovely recording for anyone who may be interested.

Cloudy, cloudy day, paint your palette blue and grey (and orange)

Guest house

Herr Koepke at the souvenir stand

Then, it was on to Fussen ... the subject of my next post.

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