Today was the day we sang at St. Thomas. As I figured it would be, it was a fight between the rush of the surreal experience and the hesitation/inner struggle about the integrity of what was happening. Was this truly worship or just a concert? The tourists went wild with their cameras. People talked and got antsy. I try very hard not to judge, but situations like this makes one wonder.
When the service began, we walked in, genuflected the altar, then ascended the steps and walked right by Bach's grave to the steps to sing. I got major goosebumps and couldn't believe it was real life. We sang, then headed to the balcony for the cantata. I wish I could just bottle the whole experience. The sights, sounds, smells, emotions. I want to preserve it all to ponder and reflect on later. I experienced so many emotions. The adrenaline rush at the experience. The frustration with camera flashes. The awe of being so close to such a long history. The joy of good string players. The sadness of division within the church. The curiosity of what Bach would think of this all today. It was an absolutely overwhelming surge that left me exhausted, contemplative, energized, thrilled, and disappointed all at once. That sounds crazy, but I assure you it is not.
I have many pictures of myself and Kantor Bach, but today I was able to take a picture facing the other way. I've wanted such a picture for years. This one just may get put in my office.
After church, I went to the Bach bookshop and got a little carried away buying stuff. It happens every time. I loose all sense of frugalness and self control in that place. Whatever.
From here I headed to the wonderful Bach museum across the street that had many neat exhibits including several original manuscripts in Bach's own hand. I needed the oxygen big time. Unbelievable.
When the zoo closed, we enjoyed dinner together, then headed back to St. Thomas to hear the b-minor mass. Bliss. Sheer bliss. Seated in those pews, looking around, while the music swirled and curled in the air. My emotions went crazy again and my head head was on overload. Bach was a genius. I got all emotional at the Gloria. And the Sanctus. Bliss, I tell you, bliss! There is no way to describe it unless you experience it for yourself. Quit reading my blog, and book the next flight to Leipzig!
I love this city. A lot.