Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Falcon Choirs Perform at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig on April 8 at 11.30 am

After exciting days in Rothenburg and Chemnitz, the Falcon Choirs will stop in Leipzig on Thursday, April 8. The singers are going to perform a recital at the Thomaskirche at 11.30 am. The church is a gem for fans of Johann Sebastian Bach. Have a closer look at it with Incantato Tours:

The Thomaskirche (St. Thomas Church) is a Lutheran church and it is most famous as the place where Johann Sebastian Bach worked as a cantor, and where his remains currently lie. There has been a church at the current site of the Thomaskirche since the 12th century. Between 1212 and 1222 the preceding church became the new St. Thomas Monastery of the Augustinian order. In 1217, The Minnesinger, or troubadour, Heinrich von Morungen bequeathed to the church a relic of St. Thomas as he entered the order of canons after a trip to India. After several reconstructions (remains of an earlier Romanesque church were found during archaeological excavations), the current building, an example of late Gothic architecture, was consecrated by Thilo of Trotha, the Bishop of Merseburg, on April 10, 1496. The reformer Martin Luther preached here on Pentecost Sunday in 1539. Today, it is a Lutheran church. The tower was first built in 1537 and reconstructed in 1702, leading to its current height of 68 meters. The composer Johann Sebastian Bach was choir director at St. Thomas Church from 1723 until his death in 1750. A statue of Johann Sebastian Bach that stands next to the church was dedicated in 1908. On December 4, 1943, the tower was damaged in an Allied bombing raid on Leipzig requiring repair. The roof of the church above the gothic rib vaulted ceiling is one of the steepest in Germany, with a roof pitch of 63 degrees. After the destruction of the Leipzig Johanneskirche in World War II, the remains of Johann Sebastian Bach were moved from there to the Thomaskirche in 1950. The current altar, installed in 1993, is the former Gothic altar of the Paulinerkirche, the university church of the University of Leipzig, destroyed in 1968 by the Communist authorities.
A statue of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, who lived in Leipzig from 1835 until his death in 1847, was dedicated on October 18, 2008 when it was re-erected across the St. Thomas Church on the occasion of the year of his 200th birthday. The 6 meter (nearly 20 ft.) statue depicts the former Gewandhaus Orchestra director and composer in bronze. Celebratory speeches were given by Kurt Masur, also a former Gewandhaus Orchestra director, and Burkhard Jung, mayor of Leipzig. The original statue designed by Werner Stein was first dedicated on May 26, 1892. It had been located on the east side of the Gewandhaus until November 9, 1936 when it was taken down by the National Socialists (Nazis) because of the composer’s Jewish background.
The Thomanerchor, the choir of the Thomaskirche, was founded in 1212 and is one of the oldest and most famous boys' choirs in Germany. It is headed by the Thomaskantor, an office that has been held by many well-known composers and musicians, including Johann Sebastian Bach from 1723 until his death in 1750.
Another notable feature of the Thomaskirche is that it contains two organs. The older one is a Romantic organ by Wilhelm Sauer, built from 1885–89. Since this organ is considered "unsuitable" for Bach's music, a second organ was built by Gerald Woehl's organ building company from 1999–2000. This "Bach organ" was designed to look similar to the old organ on which Bach had played in the Paulinerkirche.

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