Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Day of Bliss

Well, it should be awfully obvious to anyone who knows me that the blog title “A day of bliss” translates to “organ day”. Yes, at long last today I got to lay fingers on historic keys and my ears were able to savor the delicious sound of mean tone. I spent the whole day on cloud 9. While I do not get to see as many organs this trip as when on tour, I did discover that it is rather nice not to have many other organists fighting for bench time and I selfishly savored 1-2 hours at each organ all to myself!

The first place we visited was the small village of Loburg. Right now we are staying with Manfred, who graciously took the day off work in order to accompany us on this organ adventure. I am so glad he could come, because I don’t know that I would have found all these little towns without his help. He commented on the drive there that this was not the typical tourist town. I love how most Germans are just awe struck that I would travel all this way just to play the organs here. I was quite pleased that Manfred was so anxious to see what the fuss was all about and as the day progressed, I think my excitement was rubbing off on him because he seemed to really enjoy himself as well. Once we arrived in Loburg, we waited to be let in. The key to this church was over 12 inches long and quite thick. It was about as old fashioned as a key could get. I really wanted a picture but felt a little foolish to ask. The church was just beautiful, as you can see.

We were then led into this beautiful old church and my nose was greeted with the familiar old church smell. My heart just soared with joy and excitement to be back in an old church again. Then, my eyes immediately darted up to the organ loft and when I saw that old organ my heart just started to POUND with excitement. I thought I might squeal right there in the church. We were given a short demonstration and tour of the organ. This is the other part of organs I love: the climbing up narrow creaking stairs to the balcony and climbing in and around the pipes to see every square inch of these magnificent organs. After the tour, I FINALLY got to play. After a long year of waiting, I found myself sitting on the bench and as I drew the old heavy stops, I knew my waiting was coming to an end and I would soon have a little slice of pure heaven. I chose to play Buxtehude and it felt so good. I can not even being to describe it. I felt whole. Complete. My feet danced on the pedals and my fingers became one with the keys. I can not even begin to describe how good this felt. I played for well over an hour, savoring the feel and sound and testing different combinations to really hear what this organ could do.

Finally, we had to move on, and I was sad to go, but had another organ to visit, so I wasn’t too sad…. We then visited a stork farm just down the road. It was interesting, though I must confess my brain was still back in the church and I was still a little in the clouds from having played that organ!

After this, we drove nearly an hour to Tangermuende. This village was amazing and totally typical German style. This church was much larger than the last and I immediately got excited. This was one of the ones I wanted to see the most. We entered this enormous church (and I mean enormous) and I was more or less oblivious to the huge church because I was too busy running down the center isle to get a look at the organ. When my eyes saw that thing I did a little happy dance. I mean look at this. It makes you drool a little.

Then we when up these very old and narrow stairs. it’s a very good thing I do not have a queasy stomach because holy bananas, that was an interesting climb. The organist didn’t speak much English, so Manfred translated. It was so cold up there in the loft that they even had a heating pad on the organ bench! This organ was mean tone with short octave. I was in HEAVEN. The organist told me you can’t play anything with more than 3 sharps or 2 flats, and that it had short octave. I busted out the Buxtehude and the minute I heard that mean tone I could have cried with joy. OH MY GOSH. One of the most beautiful sounds ever. I can not even describe it. Stunning. I only had an hour to play here, but it was a real treat. I could have stayed all day. I have not been this happy in a very, very long time. Ecstatically happy. Words can not even begin to describe it.

I was VERY sad and reluctant to leave this beautiful organ behind, but we had to move on. Next stop was the little town of Niederndodeleben. This is a very fun name to try to say. You sort of have to get a running start. This little church also had a very sweet key to the front door. I got to climb up the ladder to go inside the organ and this organ had a cage built around the console to protect the organist from the crowding peasants. It felt very fun to be locked in by the organ. This organ I played for an hour, and then continued for a second hour playing around with hymns. Man alive, I could have stayed the whole day.

It was a very cute little organ. I wish I could have heard the reeds, but they were just horribly out of tune.
What better way to end a day of organ playing then an organ recital? I mean really. So we trekked over to the Dom and enjoyed a lovely organ recital there. My little organ loving being was happy as a clam with all of this, and I was grateful that Heidi allowed me this day of bliss and that Manfred got so excited by these organs.

After the recital, we went out to eat, which was nice. Worry not, we topped the meal with ice cream so as not to break my 1 ice cream a day rule. I was just so excited from the organs I forgot to photograph this, but rest assured I did consume a delicious scoop of vanilla goodness.

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