Saturday, October 18, 2008

Trams and Cupids

I have mastered half the Leipzig tram system -- that is, I can get uptown to city center, but I haven't yet figured out how to get home. Today, however, I was on foot, since the weather has improved considerably over yeaterday. I walked to ThomasKirche, the church where Bach was cantor for 27 years, to hear the world-famous Boys' Choir.

Unfortunately, the Boys' Choir was not singing today. But the Gewandhaus Choir was. These are adults, and they sing like angels. Sometimes a capella and sometimes accompanied by the organ, they offered a lovely program. The church was nearly full; these Saturday afternoon "Motettes" are popular.

What most caught my attention, however, was a tiny incident outside the church. There is a monument there, not to Bach but to Mendelssohn, who also lived and worked in Leipzig. The monument is a large column with a statue of Mendelsohn on top and, seated at the base, a muse (presumably Euterpe) with a bunch of cupids. People had left bouquets of flowers on the base. There was even a sealed letter, addressed to someone not Mendelssohn. The offerings reminded me a little of those left daily at the foot of the Vietnam Memorial in D.C.

As I watched, an elderly woman approached the monument. She had no flower. But she picked up a colorful autumn leaf and slowly, very carefully, inserted it between the toes of one of the cupids. And then I saw that there were other leaves between other cupids' toes. Leaves, rose petals, and a single daisy.


Frank Böhmert said...

The original monument was removed by the nazis in 1936.

This replica you saw was officially given back to public right this saturday! I think you came just a little too late ;-)

The petals etc. are probably to welcome "Mendelssohn" back in town.

Nancy Kress said...

Oh, I didn't know that! Thank you, Frank.

Frank Böhmert said...

You're welcome.

By the way, do you know the english version of the German newsmagazine SPIEGEL ONLINE? There you can find national news -- not about the Mendelssohn monument, that is, but you can read a lot about what happens in Germany.

Here's the link:

Frank Böhmert said...

... and this should bring the "Deutsche Welle" in English to you:,2142,266,00.html