Passau, Germany

Passau, DE

Passau, too, was an ancient Roman colony occupied by Germanic tribes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passau – Main_sights It is known today as the City of Three Rivers – owing to the confluence of the Danube, Inn, and Ilz – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passau and is remembered in history by some of us for the Treaty of Passau, 1552, signed by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, to guarantee Lutheran religious freedom. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_of_Passau

We were given a walking tour of the town which included the bishop’s residence, market square, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Stephen%27s_Cathedral,_Passau

_N7A7757

This building served as the Bishop’s residence until 1871; today it is occupied by Diocese administrative staff.

_N7A7752 _N7A7761

Above is a shot of the entrance door – impressive to this woodworker. Below is the ceiling of the entrance hall, Gods of Olympus protecting Immortal Passau.

_N7A7762

We then entered St. Stephan’s Cathedral from a side door, and were guided to the organ loft, about three stories above the nave,  where we were greeted by one of the musicians serving the Cathedral. This lady gave us an introduction to the organ which is actually five organs: three in the loft, one in the chancel, and one in the ceiling. All together, this organ with its 17,774 pipes and 233 registers (voices) is played by one five manual (keyboard) general console, and is the largest organ outside of the US. The musician played for us Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor which gave me goose bumps in this acoustically alive space 100 meters long.

Here is the piece we heard:  http://www.last.fm/music/Johann+Sebastian+Bach/_/Toccata+and+Fugue+in+D+Minor  Click on link at bottom: “best version ever”; when you are finished listening, “x” out of the second/most recent page: “Toccata and Fuge”; then click on back page “<” to return to the blog.

_N7A7733

_N7A7735

This is the original mechanical console above which in gold leaf is a carving of David playing the harp. If one looked to the ceiling, one sees this:

_N7A7736

 

 

_N7A7730

And looking out the length of the nave one sees this:

_N7A7731

This is the general console controlling all five organs. The organist is playing Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor. What a thrill!

_N7A7742

While this masterwork was being played, we walked down to the nave and took a few shots.

_N7A7724

Looking up at the the organ and choir loft, one can see pipes on either side of the main instrument. One is a French, and the other an Italian organ.

_N7A7747

Standing closer to the chancel, one sees the pulpit and in the ceiling a dark circular opening for the organ situated there. Then, looking at the chancel, one sees the fifth organ to the left.

_N7A7746 _N7A7748

Positioning the organs thus minimizes the acoustical delay.  I’d like to share a few of the architectural details.

_N7A7740 _N7A7749 _N7A7745

It is impossible to impart the thrill of this musical experience; the recording on my iPhone doesn’t even approach how moving was this experience. Next we walked to the square in front of the church.

_N7A7772

Followed by a short walk to Herr Simon’s Konditorei where each person was given a block of marzipan (almond paste) and asked to make a likeness of our face. Tessa Barrett, our grand-daughter won first place! A stroll through his shop was very tempting with all the sweets and hand-made ice cream, but our Bavarian lunch awaits on board.

_N7A7775 _N7A7779

We took a quick walk around the square outside the Konditorei and walked into St. Paul’s Church.

_N7A7776

The rest of the square:

_N7A7777

The Bavarian lunch was indeed genuine with beer, brats, potato salad and the wait staff dressed in costume.

_N7A7794

Joey and Amy.

_N7A7798

Eszter and Demetrios.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s