Day 11: Lively in Leipzig

The weekends in Leipzig are filled with musical activity, not only in the Concert Hall and Opera House, but everywhere in the street. Students and aspiring musicians and performers try their luck at attracting tourists and locals, in a town that welcomes crowds and causes.

The Stasi Museum depicted life just as it was before the Reunification and explained the course of events that led up to it. It was a fascinating unfolding of momentous days in 1989, from the first peace protests, to the burning of evidence as the tides turned, to the final decision point on November 9, when the Berlin wall fell. It’s an easy date to remember as it is the reverse of 911.

The translation to the sign above reads “On behalf of the government of the Citizen’s Committee, this building will be secured by the National Police”.

I imagined all the legal papers that were needed to draft the new laws and how  the East German economy was shot into the modern world overnight. It seemed so simple, yet it must have been an overwhelming undertaking.  It took the will and determination of every German. My faith in humanity was restored and I felt grateful that such a human event could occur in my lifetime.

The Grassi Jugendstil atrium reinterpreted

An afternoon at the Grassi Museum was a shift back to the familiar yet unusual. There was an excellent exhibition of Flemish and Dutch glass and ceramic pieces, inspired by Asian ceramics. The incredible use of light, color and design seemed to be ingrained in the area’s artistic traditions.

While limited, the museum had an excellent display of Asian ceramics and figures. They reminded me of similar pieces I saw in Northwest China.

A collection of artifacts from Iran intrigued me. I marveled over the many pieces that I had not ever seen. I resolved to continue my comparative history studies of countries along the Silk Road. The blue porcelain pieces were reminiscent of those in China, but the metallic colors and designs were much more vibrant and intricate.

The end of the day was capped with two classical music performances. The first was a family concert at the Gewandhouse Orchestra. Herbert Blomstedt, who led the San Francisco Symphony for many years, conducted the orchestra with the Beethoven Pastorale Symphony.


The second of the two concerts was held at the Schumann House, where Robert and Clara Schumann lived. A pianist performed many pieces from Beethoven, Clara Schumann’s own pieces, and those by Schumann. They were very lively and spirited pieces and a contrast to the earlier, much duller performance.

Entry staircase

The simple yet elegant stairway at the entrance to the Schumann house was a lovely reminder of the integration of good design and construction in German homes. The museum is now linked with other musical sites such as the Mendelsohn and Wagner houses in Leipzig into a “Music Trail”.

Community Room with motion sensitive instruments in ceiling

During the performance break, the announcer invited us to a community room and shared the research that is being done with electronic instruments generated by motion detectors. Each “spot” was keyed to an instrumental sound, such as clinks on porcelain, horns, keys, drums and bells. Using motion detectors and people walking between objects mounted in the ceiling, a series of sounds were generated. The more people moved, the more each sound was created.  The innovation could produce symphonic sound with audience participation. It was an exciting demonstration that everyone enjoyed.

2 thoughts on “Day 11: Lively in Leipzig”

  1. Putting all my comments for the last few posts here as one.

    Anna Amalia library
    Love the architecture. I could get lost in that place for days. Really loved the natural light coming into the areas. Is the light as fantastic as it looks in your photos!
    And the locals are quite the fashion statement. Was it hard to keep up with them?
    FYI: I didn’t see a link to the video. Can you repost or send?

    Loved reading all the various panels. Very interesting, esp his reflection on art.
    Also loved the staricase but why the wooden pillar?
    And the garden paths – not English gardens but alive nonetheless.
    The chair is a riot and reminds me of some computer chairs that are now available.
    GREAT exhibit.

    Funny!! I am having asparagus for dinner! But mine are green, not white. YUM YUM either way.
    The wooden arches in the church are beautiful. There is always something about wood for me.
    And the mural in the video is very impressive. It looks brand new. The paint is so fresh and bright.

    Leipziz, part 2
    OH MY: The Grassi Jugendstil atrium is breathtaking, as is the bannister.
    Your interpretations of the various art pieces, esp as they relate to objects you have seen on other travels is very interesting. I am sensing a book in there!
    And the movement community room is fascinating.

    Whew!! what a fun tour. You really know how to pack it all in. You should start a female version of Rick Steves ;-D

    Thanks for sharing. I love walking in your shoes through your days journey!

    sending hugs, p


    1. Thanks for the feedback Pam!
      Here are a few answers to the questions about the Anna Amalia Library:
      1. The light is somewhat subdued because of the priceless books on the shelves. Wish I could say I did, but I didn’t do anything special–just took the shots using my phone.
      2. Here’s the link:

      3. I’ll have to check where you refer to fashion statement.
      4. I learned from the lecture at the GI yesterday that Anna-baby was quite the woman. She was the niece of Friedrich and dragged 20 carriages full of stuff with her from Vienna. After her husband died, she served as Regent for 18 years followed by her son Carl August.
      On Goethe: this was my second visit to Goethe’s House, so I was able to get a pretty good idea of who he was from the panels and the Audio Guide. The Germans have come a long way in providing translations. Still waiting for the opera supertitles in English, but until then I have an excuse to learn German! I use the German translations to understand Italian opera if that makes any sense to you.

      I’ll try to post or send you a video of the community room demonstration at the Schumann House. It was indeed fascinating. As a musician, Chris would probably like seeing it!


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