Friday, March 23, 2012

Unforgettable Experiences at Goettweig from our previous intern Ember

My name is Ember and I am now a member of the Incantato Tours Team. Before I joined the company, I toured with my university choir to Central Europe in the summer of 2008. One of my most memorable times was at the Benedictine Abbey of Goettweig. I felt like we were treated like kings and queens as we were offered a private tour through the monastery with Pater Justus, the museum was full of beautiful art and history but more importantly it had original compositions by Haydn and Beethoven on display. He also allowed our fellow student and accompanist to play on the organ in the cathedral. It was so special to see the cathedral at night and to have a personal concert on their beautiful, enormous organ.

Goettweig is situated on the top of a mountain, which offers one of the most beautiful panoramic views I've ever seen. Here are some pictures from the perspective of my camera last summer. This is a picture of my friend and I (on the right) with Pater Justus, at the end of our personal tour through the monastery and museum.

This is a monastery that carries on with their Benedictine style of life but has adapted graciously to the 21st century. This was made obvious on Sunday morning after their traditional mass there was a contemporary service held outside and the whole congregation was full of motorcycles and their riders. Although it was alarming to hear all the bikes roaring up to the courtyard, it was moving to be able to witness this - it was a beautiful experience.

While staying at Goettweig, we were able to take strolls along the Danube in Duernstein and to
take a hike up to the ruins of a castle fortress, which happens to be where Richard the Lionhearted was imprisoned during the Crusades.

Here's a silly picture of my friend acting like she was locked up in the same place as Richard. She'd kill me if she knew I posted this! =)

Last but not least, we had a wonderful experience performing in the sanctuary. It's a beautiful spectacle for the audience but also for the singers. I firmly believe that each venue offers something different to each piece of repertoire. My musical experience was definitely enhanced while singing here. The space is very much alive and is great for classical music, especially for an orchestra. Here is a picture of the sanctuary during our performance. In this picture, the choir is singing Bach's "Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied" - split into two choirs spanning both sides.

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