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Weimar was a center for culture for a long time It was the home for many composers and artists such as Goethe, Liszt, J.S. Bach and Hummel. It was only logical that I started this travel blog with a city such as this. I have to say that I feel in love with it.
I arrived by train. Usually the buses in Germany are cheap through with MeinFernBus.de but if you are traveling with spare time and book in advance, the trains (Deutsche Bahn) can be as cheap and more comfortable. (I once did Dortmund-Berlin for only 22 euro)
From from Weimar’s train station to the city center, is was just a nice and short 10min walk down a single avenue, with old houses on both sides, small modern bars attracting young people with complicated cocktails, and trees standing on the sidewalk giving a very picturesque look to that part of town.
Elephant Weimar Hotel was right there in the center at the Goethe Platz. It was more than I could afford, but I had to spend at least one night at the same hotel where Bach and Wagner once stayed at. So that’s what I did, one night at a historical 5 star hotel and the other night at a Hostel just around the corner from the Elephant. I just had time to drop my bags and go straight to the opera to see my first live production of Der Rosenkavalier.
The Deutsches National Theatre (The Opera House):
I arrived late. I was not expecting to be able to get in before the 2nd act, but the usher and coat checker with an extreme urgency said: “Oh poor man, you are missing the such good music. Follow me!!! QUICK!!!”. I was worried that I would disturb people but I had no saying in it. They stole the jacket out of my hands and rushed me into the room. Silently, they got me an empty seat. Nobody noticed me. The expectators were hypnotised and soon enough, I would be too.
The very next day, I head to one of the main music-related attractions in Weimar. I was excited about visiting Liszt’s place, and I found more than I was expecting.
The first floor mostly has a souvenir shop and a small room with lockers. These lockers are amazing!!! Why? Because they will return the coin you inserted when you get out. It reminded me I was in a country that is proud of its history and values culture. By not trying to make a profit with these small things, they are incentivizing people to visit more.
The second floor has the living area with 2 of his pianos and several personal items like batons, glasses and a Beethoven’s Death Mask.
Right outside his house you can see an huge park. From here there is a road that quickly led me to house that Liszt had in his display. The Goethe’s Garden house.
Goethe’s garden House
Here we realise that letter pad at Liszt’s display was Goethe’s House. It looks like a small countryside residence but with so much character. There are no constructions around, only a vast garden with big trees and open fields. The house stands alone surrounded by nature and silence.
He influenced our favorite composers more than we will ever know. Without him we wouldn’t have Faust or Werther. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice would not exist and Beethoven would had never written Egmont. The 8th Symphony of Mahler would be an entirely different composition and our Lieder repertoire considerably smaller. Goethe’s existence inspired the creation of the music that is most dear to us.
Hummel’s house and grave
I walked back to Liszt’s house. Hummel’s house sits in the same street, just a few meters away. It’s closed to the public and the only indication of it’s significance is a small plate with his name.
His grave is 5mins away from his house on a historical cemetery. When at the North, go up the path. Hummel’s grave stands quiet against the right wall. Facing the tombstone, I stood in silence remembering some of his compositions and the fact that he had Mozart as a teacher.
University of Music FRANZ LISZT
Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt
Weimar is also well known for a having a world class music conservatory and Liszt the only musician I know that has two major music schools named after him. The building doesn’t stand out but the sounds coming from those practice rooms do.
It is always good to know about some of these when traveling. I found 2! They are both focused on different things and have 2 different types of customers in mind. From what I could gather, one of them is more geared towards instruments and electronics and the other one towards scores and book.
Weimar is a small city full of musical attractions that will be the delight of any classical music lover. Weimar will make us feel closer to our heros that are constantly reminded to us with all the statues and busts around town that the city chooses to pay a tribute. Weimar it is a landmark in our music history. A place where culture came took a leading role and both arts and sciences flourished more than most places in Europe.
Jena Philharmonic, just a few minutes away
I left Weimar, and after a 6 euro and 20min train ride, I got to Jenna. Despite being a very small city the orchestra is one of the best I have seen live. I was also very lucky with the program. The orchestra was doing Beethoven’s Eroica with its Music Director, Marc Tardue, and I was excited.! He had been my first conducting teacher, someone that inspired me a great deal in the beginning of my career.
Gear: On this trip I only took a Nikon D80 with a Nikkor 35mm 1.8 G. It was before I was shooting in RAW and I edited the files in Lightroom.