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January 14th 2011
Published: January 14th 2011
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One hour from Berlin by train is Leipzig. A lovely city to visit, rebuilt since the war and re-developed since re-unification but still retaining much of it's heritage and charm. Here lived JS Bach, Felix Mendelsohn and Robert Schumann as well as the young Goethe at different stages of their lives. Now there is a fine opera house and world famous Gewandhaus concert hall.

About 15 years ago one of my students told me about the delights of Leipzig and I have wanted ever since to visit. In particular, she told about the Auerbachs cellar, mentioned by Goethe in Faust. How marvellous to have the opportunity of seeing these myself, and in the winter when there are few other tourists. It's all so civilised. Waiting in the Thomaskirche to pay my respects at the tomb of JS Bach...there are only a few others and they all keep their distance allowing each individual or small group to have their private moment of contemplation and photography.

I was so transported by my second night in a row of Schostakowitsch at the Gewandhaus that i couldn't sleep till 2.30am. This time, the second symphony conducted (without a score!) by Leonard Slatkin. Also Mozart's Piano Concerto in G with fellow young American soloist Jonathon Bliss.

It was a bit drizzly but not cold. Just a really nice place to wander around and enjoy. I highly recommend it.
Friday morning I took the train to Basel...about seven hours' journey. But very restful sitting in a comfortable train watching the countryside flash by.


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