A Musical Journey - Germany (Bavaria)

A Musical Tour of Bavaria
Chapters 1-8 - Glass Factory, Frauenau, Bavaria
Chapters 9-11 - Schloss Thurn and Taxis, Regensburg
Chapters 12-15 - Abbey of St George and St. Martin, Weltenberg, near Kelheim
Music by Georg Philip Telemann
Performed by Capella Istropolitana/Richard Edlinger
No recording dates or venues given
Naxos CD 8.550156.
DVD Director: Adriano
Cameraman: M.Bestle
Audio Format: DTS 5.1. Dolby Digital 5.1. PCM Stereo 2.0
Video Format: NTSC. Region 0. Colour. Aspect ratio 4:3
NAXOS DVD 2.110537 [53.37]
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 whose 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
The visit to a glass factory is a little different from the usual fare in this series and none the worse for it.