As part of my current tour for the Schleiswig-Hostein Music Festival, I'm getting to visit some pretty nice churches with some serious historical significance in Saxony (whilst being based in Hamburg for most of the duration of this project). This St Michaellskircke in Luneburg was one that we played in last night. Originally a Benedictine church which was built in the 14th century, it was claimed by the Lutheran sect during the Reformation. At the time, it was a pretty wealthy area due to the local salt mines... salt being a valued and rare commodity during that time.
The above photo (taken from the stage) shows how much the church has settled into the ground over the intervening centuries (apparently, it is in part due to the shifting of the ground caused by the local salt mines!). For reference, the horizontal floor of the organ is the correct horizontal level! As you can see, the pillars are starting to get a little bit out of vertical!
Looking in from the other side, you do see that the slant of the pillars isn't quite as noticeable.... which leads me to wonder if the organ isn't the one that is sinking rather than the pillars! As an interesting historical side note, JS Bach sang here as a child in the church choir... which was fitting for our concert, as we presented several of Bach's works for the programming.
Something that I'm not so keen on is the pastel pinkish colours of the church... however, it is something that is more common than I would have expected. Perhaps some sort of historical accident or explanation that I don't know of....
Like most Lutheran churches, the decorations and adornments of the church tend to be much more modest than their Catholic counterparts. In this case, most of the detail was in the stonework... especially for the podium from which the priest (sorry, I'm pretty sure that it isn't priest for the Lutherans, but the name has fled my mind!) would give their sermon. As you can see, there is some pretty fine detail in the stonework, which might also be an artifact from the local mining area. Mines would attract stoneworkers... and some of them might well have dabbled in artwork as well!
Giant stained glass windows bookend the altar side of the church.... impressive in height, they aren't quite provoke the same level of awe as the stained glass windows of the Gouda church. However, the wood carved altar is quite impressive in it's majesty.... with a critical scene from Christianity depicted in the painting. Normally, I do expect a depiction of the Crucifixion in this place, however, there is a symbol of that at the top of the altar.
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