Weimar A Musicians Travel Guide by André Lousada

I am in love with Weimar

Weimar was a center for culture for a long time. It was 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 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).

Young kid mimics me photographing him

From Weimar's train station to the city center, is was just a nice and short 10 min 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. That evening, 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)

Wagner's Lohengrin was premiered here in 1850

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 spectators were hypnotised and soon enough, I would be too.

During intermission, everyone was mingling and having fun. It was a social event! A couple sitting at the table with me tells me they don't come to the opera much. "Just 6 times a year". - they said. I wished all the world was like that.

Liszt-Haus

Liszt's House

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 then I was expecting.

Situated on a main street at the park entrance

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. The main living room has 2 of his pianos, a few working desks, several personal items and a Beethoven's Death Mask.

Beethoven's death mask! It is REALY scary how real and alive it looks!!!!!!

His bed room is simple and with a surprisingly tiny bed and the collection of his batons inside of a display. These are huge! Very far from todays standards.

The last room of the house had his weird looking walking canes, his traveling piano to practice on the road, a collection of several busts, and his death mask.

On the way out, you see a picture of a garden house

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.

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 park with big trees and open fields. The house stands alone surrounded by nature and silence.

The view from the park

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.

The Garden and the house (on the left) and the a door to a shed or servant house (on the right)

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 5 mins away from his house on a historical cemetery. When at the North entry, 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.

Sadly, not very taken cared of.

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.

The big music school building (On the left) and the the very humble front door. (On the Right)

Music Stores

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 took a leading role and both arts and sciences flourished more than most places in Europe.

Goethe and Schiller standing together of the Opera house. Two poets that indirectly brought us so much music.
Bust of J. S. Bach that stands in front of the Music School (on the left) and the statue of Liszt that you can find in the park a few minutes from his house. (On the right) Too bad it was under reconstruction.

Jenaer Philharmonie

Jena, 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 wonderful. 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.

WHO AM I?

My name is André Lousada. I am a orchestra conductor passionate about traveling to places where the music I love was born. This was my first blog about my musical travels. More to come!!!

My email: contact@andrelousada.com

Gear

On this trip I only took my old Nikon D80 with a Nikkor 35mm 1.8 G. It was before I was shooting in RAW and I edited the files in Lightroom.

Created By
André Lousada
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Credits:

All pictures by André Lousada all rights reserved copyright @ www.andrelousada.com/musicalimagery

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