Bavaria, in south Germany, has a convoluted history. Conquered
by the Romans, it was taken by Charlemagne and incorporated into
his empire before becoming one of the great Duchies of the Holy
Roman Empire. The Duchy joined the German Empire in 1871, whilst
remaining a kingdom until 1918. It was an early base for Hitler
and became a state of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949.
Bavaria is renowned for the beauty of its rolling landscape and
the charm of its villages, neither being the focus of this issue
which starts with a visit to a glass factory in Frauenau. The
sequence (CHs. 1-8), each with a one-line description in the booklet,
is accompanied by extracts from Telemann’s recorder Suite in A
minor played by
Capella Istropolitana. The baroque music
comes over as an ideal accompaniment to the glass-blowing and
engraving skills on show which now benefit from modern technology
but which date back nearly seven hundred years in this region.
The technique of blowing molten glass takes power in the cheeks
and lungs akin to a brass instrument; the beer belly is, however,
not a pre-requisite.
The second visit (CHs.9-11) takes the viewer to Schloss Thurn
and Taxis, Regensburg. This became the family home of the former
postmaster to the Empress who established the first postal system
in Europe and was given the old Abbey of St Emmerman as a reward.
Views of the spectacular staircase and gentle ceiling décor are
accompanied by more baroque music by Telemann. This takes the
form of his Concerto for three violins, which, together with that
for three violins is taken from his Tafelmusik.
The final visit is to the Abbey of St George and St. Martin, Weltenberg,
near Kelheim. German and Celtic monks founded the Abbey in the
seventh century. Its location, on a peninsula of the Danube, permits
some views of the countryside as the building is approached along
the river. It’s a dull day that does not do justice to the colours
of the trees or surrounding countryside. The views of the façade
are accompanied by Telemann’s Concerto for Two Horns
haunting tone contrasts interestingly with both the simplicity
of the exterior and the showy ornaments of the interior.
The playing time is somewhat shorter than the more usual hour.
A little of the Bavarian countryside, in its usual summer sun
would not have gone amiss. There is some repetition of photographs
in the glass-blowing factory.
Robert J Farr