04 August 2019

Moments in a small church in Salzburg

We visited the tiny Baroque church near the Augustiner brewery because we have Aussie friends who sang there when on your with the Melbourne Bach Choir. Leafing through the visitors book, looking for any record of their visit, I find this entry in English among all those that begin "Lieber Gott..." and go on with requests in German to look after friends and family:
"Dear God, Please look after my family and my pet rabbit Oreo. Lucy 8".
The church is on the side of the hill and you climb a long flight of stairs from the street to reach the nave. On our way back down we see a door part way that says "Freihof". We find cemeteries interesting so we go through and only as the door closes behind us do we see the "No entry to church" notice on the other side. A nasty moment, as the cemetery is walled and well above street level. There seems to be a narrow track round to the back of the church, which we follow to find more of the cemetery and a large double gateway, but the gates are firmly locked. Here at least there isn't a drop in the other side of the cemetery wall, and we reckon we could scale it at a pinch. However when we continue round to the far side of the church we find an open side gate. No need for heroics - we are very relieved to make a simple exit.

Salzburg Festival concert

This was going to be part of the Salzburg Part 1 post, but Blogger has taken against me and won't let me edit that post any more.

Although we stayed in Salzburg for 5 nights we drove out of the city on two of the days we were there so only had two full and two half days sightseeing on our own, and only three evenings. I did manage to get a single ticket for the Hesperion XXI concert, one of the half dozen concerts in the first days of the Festival with the theme "Lacrimae".  Hesperion XXI are performing John Dowland's "Seaven Teares", in the Kollegienkirche.

I go to the concert on my own as Peter is happy to go back to the apartment to read. The concert is great – Dowland’s lovely music played with great feeling and expertise. Hesperion XXI have been going for 45 years and are no longer young. If you took away their viols they’d look like the old blokes you see in the back bar of the RYCT. They are bald, or grey, or greying, and all wear glasses to read their music. The lute player Rolf Lislevand is a bit younger and enormously tall (Norwegian, Viking build). When they are taking a bow at the end I imagine he is standing on a raised platform in the middle for a while, until I manage to get a full view and find his legs go all the way to the ground. It is difficult to see all of him because there is an equally tall girl sitting directly on front of me. One of the problems of concerts in churches is that the seats aren't raked. If you get a very tall person in front, there is just no way to see the whole group at once. The other downside of churches is seriously uncomfortable seats, in this case very hard wooden chairs tied together with tape, so if you wriggle in your seat, your chair and all those tied to it squeak. No interval and so by the time they've done the full Seaven Teares and 5 encores your pants are firmly stuck to you. €125 is a lot to pay for a hard seat with a partially blocked view, but the music, the playing and the experience are worth it.