Here I am in Leipzig, in full tour mode, so hiding myself away when not needed and emerging to provide chords for musical support. I look to my left as I write this, and there is the statue of JSB and the Thomaskirche where he worked for twenty seven years, although, as I constantly remind people, he was an employee of the city, not the church itself.
I wandered round the streets last night – Mendelssohn’s house here, Schumann’s bar there, Wagner’s school just around the corner – and it is a sign of Bach’s uncontested status that, even with all the others in town, it is he that I am most excited to spend time with. Tomorrow is a day for exploring, so I think that I shall wander and take in the atmosphere, and I have on my list a couple of the museums that remind those who cannot remember and those who cannot forget what the former GDR was like.
When I was in Berlin a couple of years ago I was barely a couple of hundred metres away from the site of Checkpoint Charlie, and determinedly sought out the memorial to Peter Fechter, and it is that history as much as the musical background that intrigues me about places such as these. But still, always, this visit to Leipzig will come back to Bach, the one composer who simultaneously always inspires me to do better, always reminds me that I will never be good enough.
In ten minutes or so I shall head over to the church and run through my voluntary for the evening service, Bach, of course, and then rehearse with the choir, and between the rehearsal and the service I might just wander around, take in the air, imagine Johann on his weekly peregrinations between the various churches he was employed to supply with music.
Also, as I sit here and look at that statue, I am reminded that Nick Gale once sat at one of the tables at the cafe just down below my window, took a picture and sent it to me. Sometimes the memories we wish to celebrate and the past we wish to remember are not that very far away at all.