Since I arrived in Arnstadt yesterday (Easter Sunday) around 5 pm, I have had so many experiences and met so many people that I cannot believe it’s only been 30 hours. Tonight I am exhausted from all the driving and the busy program I made for myself, but everything has been going splendidly, see the highlights here below.

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I got to hear Elina Albach’s adaptation of Bach’s Mass in B Minor for six singers, seven instrumentalists, and one narrator on Sunday evening in Arnstadt. It was inspiring, captivating, and just simply fabulous. This concert and Elina’s ideas behind it (as shared in an interview with me last week) will get its own article later this week.

Elina Albach

I cannot quite believe it yet that I actually got to attend concerts in two of the churches where Bach used to work, in Arnstadt and Mühlhausen.

I loved visiting the Bach House in Eisenach. From attending an excellent presentation of all the keyboard instruments in the instrument room, to seeing the books Bach had in his library, to meeting the museum’s generous director and discussing plans for next year with him, it was all better than I had expected.

I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful landscape in this region. There’s also quite a bit of variety in the landscape. Between Arnstadt and Eisenach there are hilltops that seem to pop out of the otherwise much flatter landscape, and many have fortresses on them. The route from Eisenach to Mühlhausen is extremely scenic, with beautiful rolling hills, meadows, forests, a river, and truly picturesque towns. Driving here is easy because it’s not busy on the roads. But I look forward to next year when we’ll have a professional driver and I will only have to keep my eyes on the schedule instead of on the road.

At the first concert I attended, on Sunday night in Arnstadt, I met so many people that I felt immediately confirmed and strengthened in my idea to plan a group trip for next year. It is a pretty exciting feeling.

And one random fact: the number of Bach merchandise items (including those made out of chocolate!) one can buy at the Bachhaus in Eisenach is mind boggling. If you follow @weeklycantata on Instagram, keep an eye on my stories and highlights — I will post all the chocolate there in the next few days!

Thanks for following along!

Wieneke Gorter, April 19, 2022.