Wednesday, 24 April 2013

secessionist or moderne

Often when walking into to town, I pass by the stately shadows thrown by the Lutherkirche of Wiesbaden, but I had not seen the inside until the other day. Other times that I thought about visiting, there seemed to be a gaggle of people there or choir practice and I didn’t want to disturb.

Last time I walked by, a friendly and informative church lady caught me snooping around and poking my head in. She insisted that I have a proper look around. I was not expecting the gorgeous Jugendstil pastiche of the enormous nave that can accommodate twelve-hundred guests. The church-lady treated me to a tour, and in the sunny afternoon, she showed me different perspectives of structure from the upper balcony, tower and equally art nouveau font and chapel. Construction and design began in 1908 as part of the so-called Wiesbadener Programme, an initiative to build protestant churches in the area—which produced several gems.
I suppose that these were the mega-churches of the day, with nothing derogatory intended, but also provided parishioners with a unique entertainment experience. In addition to the tradition of the Bach choir I overheard practicing, there are two celebrated and dueling organs, one at the front and one at the back, to produce a wall of sound. I’ll have to snoop around the other three architectural ensembles of the programme’s commissions.