Notes and Editorial Reviews
Bavaria, in south Germany, in earlier times ruled by an Elector, whose capital was Munich, is a region of the greatest variety. The places seen here start with the Bavarian Forest and its traditional craft of glass-blowing. Other scenes are of the great palace of the Thurn und Taxis Princes at Regensburg and the fine baroque monastery church of St George and St Martin at Weltenburg.
Music for the tour is by Telemann, a friend and contemporary of Johann Sebastian Bach, founder of the Leipzig Collegium Musicum later directed by Bach, godfather to Bach’s second son and for many years in charge of music in Hamburg, where he was later succeeded by his godson. The
music here includes a Suite for recorder and strings, and two concertos from his Tafelmusik, one for three violins and the other for two horns.
Picture format: NTSC 4:3
Sound format: Dolby Digital 5.1/ DTS 5.1/PCM Stereo 2.0
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Running time: 53 mins
No. of DVDs: 1
R E V I E W:
Bavaria, in south Germany, has a convoluted history. Conquered by the Romans, it was taken by Charlemagne and incorporated into his empire before becoming one of the great Duchies of the Holy Roman Empire. The Duchy joined the German Empire in 1871, whilst remaining a kingdom until 1918. It was an early base for Hitler and became a state of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949.
Bavaria is renowned for the beauty of its rolling landscape and the charm of its villages, neither being the focus of this issue which starts with a visit to a glass factory in Frauenau. The sequence (CHs. 1-8), each with a one-line description in the booklet, is accompanied by extracts from Telemann’s recorder Suite in A minor played by
Capella Istropolitana. The baroque music comes over as an ideal accompaniment to the glass-blowing and engraving skills on show which now benefit from modern technology but which date back nearly seven hundred years in this region. The technique of blowing molten glass takes power in the cheeks and lungs akin to a brass instrument; the beer belly is, however, not a pre-requisite.
The second visit (CHs.9-11) takes the viewer to Schloss Thurn and Taxis, Regensburg. This became the family home of the former postmaster to the Empress who established the first postal system in Europe and was given the old Abbey of St Emmerman as a reward. Views of the spectacular staircase and gentle ceiling décor are accompanied by more baroque music by Telemann. This takes the form of his Concerto for three violins, which, together with that for three violins is taken from his Tafelmusik.
The final visit is to the Abbey of St George and St. Martin, Weltenberg, near Kelheim. German and Celtic monks founded the Abbey in the seventh century. Its location, on a peninsula of the Danube, permits some views of the countryside as the building is approached along the river. It’s a dull day that does not do justice to the colours of the trees or surrounding countryside. The views of the façade are accompanied by Telemann’s
Concerto for Two Horns whose haunting tone contrasts interestingly with both the simplicity of the exterior and the showy ornaments of the interior.
The playing time is somewhat shorter than the more usual hour. A little of the Bavarian countryside, in its usual summer sun would not have gone amiss. There is some repetition of photographs in the glass-blowing factory.
-- Robert J Farr, MusicWeb International
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