Though it’s now dubbed the “new Berlin,” Leipzig isn’t all that handsome: it’s a “hodgepodge” of a city scarred by centuries of “destruction and obliteration, rebuilding and renewal.” “It’s as if Leipzig is still recovering from its own history.” But there are good reasons for a visit, says James Runcie in the financial times – including his great musical heritage.
Johann Sebastian Bach came here to work here in 1723 at the age of 38 and stayed until his death in 1750. He was cantor or choir director of the Thomaskirche, which still stands today, and while Leipzig a Many other illuminating traces of the city, who he knew have stayed ever since.
St Thomas’ is a ‘barn-like’ late Gothic hall church with two organs – a reminder that when Bach wrote the St Matthew Passion for two choirs and two orchestras, he produced ‘antiphonal music for that very place’. He was originally buried in another church nearby, but his remains were moved here after the Allied bombing of 1943 and now lie in a vault in the nave. His house no longer stands, but a trip to the Old City Hall recalls the hardships of his life with its sour portraits of city dignitaries — the kind of men he railed against when he thought he didn’t have the “money or the attention.” to get what he deserves.
Take a food tour for an easier look into the great composer’s daily experience. Bach loved Gose, a sour wheat beer that many find pretty “disgusting.” You could try it in the Gosenschenke tavern without hesitation.
At Auerbachs Keller (where Faust drinks in Goethe’s 1808 play), order Leipziger Allerlei, which is “the kind of food Bach ate”: a “mixture” of peas, asparagus, morels, cabbage and cauliflower with bread dumplings. And stop at one of the city’s old cafes – Bach seems to have loved coffee and even wrote an amusing “mini-operetta”, the Coffee Cantata, about it.
Details on the Leipzig music track can be found at leipzig.travel
https://www.theweek.co.uk/arts-life/travel/956426/trip-of-the-week-in-search-of-js-bach-in-leipzig Trip of the week: In search of JS Bach in Leipzig