Today we took a BachFest-sponsored bus tour to the city of Freiberg, about an hour-and-a-half away. You can see in the picture above that even our bus had Bach on it! The reason we came to Freiberg is that there are several historic organs by Gottfried Silbermann, a Baroque master organ builder.
Our first stop was at the Petrikirche where the organist of the church gave a short concert. He opened with Bach’s Fantasia on “Komm, heiliger Geist,” You may remember that this is a piece I play every Easter Vigil after the Easter Proclamation. It sounded a step higher than usual because the Silbermann organ is pitched at A=462.5 Hz. I was a little surprised at how gutsy the organ sounded, but we were told the organ was a little too big for the room.
We then had a walking tour of the old town of Freiberg. The weather could not have been more perfect, and it was simply a gorgeous day: clear blue skies and no rain, about 70° F. We remembered eating a memorable lunch at a cafe near to the Dom when we were here five years ago with our friend, Bruce Bengtson, so when we spotted it, we happily went inside to eat and ordered a delicious soup and salad. Apparently the inn is one in which the philosopher Goethe stayed for two nights.
After lunch we entered the Dom where there are two Silbermann organs and heard an outstanding recital by cantor Albrecht Koch on both instruments. Oh, my, what a treat this was! Both the playing and the instruments were extraordinary. I can honestly say that I’ve never heard such unique reed stops as these. No wonder these organs are world-famous.