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3 Inspiring Bastions of Music – Germany

Wednesday Apr 16, 2014

Germany - Feature

A favorite music quote of mine from Portland, Maine born Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is, “Music is the universal language of mankind.” What I take this to mean is that although we may be separated by language, through the emotions evoked by the music itself, we can find a common ground that transcends the spoken word.

As you’re finessing the details of your next trip to Germany, try adding a destination or two to your itinerary that you’re less likely to find on the mainstream “best of” lists that include popular cityscapes like Berlin or Frankfurt. Take an intimate look into these compelling cities where music never plays second fiddle.

Mittenwald ~

Germany - Mittenwald

Take a look behind the music at the intricacies and
art of creating a violin.

We have all felt the emotional pull as beautiful strands of pure, clear sound have been coaxed by a violinist from their device. This versatile instrument can easily be the star of a musical composition, or be gracious and step out of the limelight, enhancing the performance of another. Not only the genre of classical music, but folk, metal, rock n’ roll, and many other styles incorporate the sounds of violins. The beauty of a violin, however, is more than the sweet and poignant sounds that burst forth as the horsehair of the bow is drawn across the strings, there is a delicacy and precision in its craftsmanship that is a marvel in and of itself. Mittenwald is widely recognized for being a manufacturer of the violin, viola, and cello, and this market town offers numerous attractions that cater to this music oriented interests.

“Where words fail, music speaks.” ~ Hans Christian Anderson


The Geigenbau Museum in Mittenwald displays an impressive collection of stringed instruments, offers demonstrations, workshops and shows films relevant to the history of this classic instrument.
The International Violin Making Competition takes place in Mittenwald every four years, and this year is the seventh installment of this event. Aside from the competition that lures over 200 violin craftsmen, there is a special flea market dedicated to the musical arts, stimulating lectures and a series of concerts, all oriented towards those with a penchant for music.


Mittenwald is a 100 kilometer drive south of Munich, and a short ride north of Innsbruck, Austria in your car rental. With that kind of convenient proximity, why wouldn’t you visit?

Ruedesheim am Rhein ~

Germany - Ruedesheim am Rhein

Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet displays a miscellany of antiquties that explore the history of recorded music.

“Music is…A higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” ~ Ludwig van Beethoven


Don’t be misled into taking the name Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet too literally. This enchanting miscellany explores the history and means by which music has been recorded up through the creation of the gramophone. Music boxes, player pianos, and musical clocks can all be found amidst the hundreds of self-playing, instrumental treasures. The building that these antiquities are housed in is also a historical gem. Dust off your old LP’s, and brush up on some vintage tunes, as sing-a-longs are a regular occurrence during tours for those familiar with the musical stylings of a less modern lilt.
The Rheingau Music Festival is an annual summer music festival with a strong focus on classical compositions, but diversifies its program with a selection of other genres as well. Each year, the concert series chooses a different theme, and for 2014 it is Liebespaare, which translates to Lovers. Another aspect of the festival is that every new series is dedicated to remembering and celebrating the births of brilliant composers of the past. William Shakespeare, Richard Strauss, and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (son of Johann Sebastian Bach) have significant anniversary dates in 2014, and will be commemorated at the Rheingau Music Festival in 2014.


Ruedesheim am Rhein is a quick 29 kilometer drive west of Wiesbaden, or approximately 67 kilometers southeast of Koblenz. Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet is the perfect point of interest to visit at any age.

Leipzig ~

Germany - St. Thomas Church

St. Thomas Church, where Johann Sebastian Bach worked as a choir master, and where his remains still lie today.

Photo Credit: az1172 /

Leipzig is a city that has a long standing relationship with music, from such respected and influential composers like Johann Sebastian Bach and Felix Mendelssohn, to the famous St. Thomas Boys Choir in modern day. Throughout Leipzig, there are opportunities to discover the abundant musical culture that has outlasted generations. Here are just a few of the attractions for music and history lovers can pursue while in Leipzig.

“If a composer could say what he had to say in words, he would not bother trying to say it in music.” Gustav Mahler


The Bach Museum is more than a collection of artifacts and papers preserved to give you a glimpse into the family life and work of the musical master. One of the aspects that I appreciated the most was the listening stations that include the complete catalog of his work. The Bach Festival is an annual event that occurs in June where musicians from all over the world take the stage to perform Bach’s music, in historical venues throughout Leipzig.
The Museum of Musical Instruments began when a Dutchman, Paul de Wit, assembled a collection of historically significant musical pieces in the late 1800’s. After more than 120 years, the once humble collection now exhibits somewhere in the realm of 10,000 music-related objects. You may thank the University of Leipzig, who own the collection, for sharing with the public such an important contribution to the annals of musical antiquity.
It is said that like attracts like, so it will be no surprise to you that the Schumann House was more than the home of Robert and Clara Shumann, but also a haven where many notable personages of the time gathered in friendship with the Shumann family, namely, Felix Mendelssohn, Hans Christian Anderson and Franz List.


Leipzig is approximately 115 kilometer drive from Dresden, and 257 kilometers northwest of Prague in your rental car.

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