Leseprobe Rubrik: Culture

Music as Alive Today as Ever

The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra represents 275 years of European music tradition

It was a sight to behold, even for a city like New York: Musicians from Leipzig’s Gewandhaus Orchestra performed in front of the Flatiron building, evoking 75 years of living music history from Saxony right at the heart of the American metropolis. Amidst the skyscrapers and surrounded by rushing traffic, they caused a sensation: People stopped to listen and ask where the musicians were from. Many New Yorkers had already heard of the orchestra from Leipzig. Thanks to performances such as this one in 2014 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Saxon orchestra is one of the best and most widely-known ensembles in the world.
Classical music followers relish its earthy, dark sound and the musicians’ delight in playing. It is said that a concert by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra is never mediocre, but always features a certain boldness that immediately sparks the interest of the audience. In its home town of Leipzig, the orchestra has some 12,500 subscribers. The 70 major concerts it stages throughout the year alone are virtually all sold out. Yet the Gewandhaus itself is just one of three venues used by the orchestra in Leipzig. Traditionally, the ensemble not only performs at the Gewandhaus, but is also the concert orchestra for the Leipzig Opera and, together with St Thomas Boys Choir, gives weekly performances of Bach’s cantatas at St. Thomas’s Church. Thanks to these three different genres – concert music, musical theatre and church music – the orchestra has acquired an artistic horizon that is unique in the world. Moreover, no other leading symphonic orchestra performs as many works by Johann Sebastian Bach as regularly as the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.
In addition to the 200 concerts it plays in Leipzig every year, the orchestra’s annual tours have long included highly acclaimed guest performances in cities like London, Paris, Lucerne, Milan and Budapest. Another regular destination for the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra is Japan. In Tokyo, it surprised passersby at a shopping centre, much like it did in New York in 2014. The musicians also take a piece of European music history with them whenever they tour the world, with a repertoire that is still dominated by composers like Bach, Beethoven, Bruckner, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Schubert and Brahms. Famous music directors, or Gewandhauskapellmeister, of the Gewandhaus Orchestra, such as Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Ferdinand Hiller, Wilhelm Furtwängler and Franz Konwitschny, set the tone early on in the orchestra’s history and still influence its repertoire today. Even 200 years after the orchestra’s establishment, the list of significant music directors is unending: Since 1970, this post has been held by Kurt Masur, Herbert Blomstedt and Riccardo Chailly. Starting in 2018, Latvian conductor Andris Nelsons will guide the traditional orchestra into the future as its 21st Gewandhauskapellmeister.
The Gewandhaus Orchestra owes its excellent reputation not only to these world-famous figures, but also to its unique origins. In the 18th century, Leipzig was already a major Saxon city together with the royal seat of Dresden. Cultural life in Leipzig was largely influenced by Stadtpfeifer or “town pipers” – musicians employed by the city council, who performed at public events – and church music, until a group of 16 citizens and noblemen, including traders, patricians and merchants as well as some Stadtpfeifer, founded an independent ensemble. They gave private concerts, arranged musical evenings in private homes and soon established a society they called the “Grosses Concert” (Grand Concert). The group had struck a chord, and people lined up to hear them. (excerpt)

Nicole Czerwinka

Photo: (c) Gewandhaus/Jens Gerber

Leseprobe Rubrik: Culture

The Age of the Automobile

Technology meets emotion

The new wing of the August Horch Museum in Zwickau opened in autumn 2017, following several years of construction. As a result, the exhibition space has more than doubled in size. Where the museum previously ended, visitors now find themselves in a new restaurant called “August Horch”. It serves as an architectural transition from the old exhibition area, starting with the company’s origins and leading up to the Second World War (1904 – 1945), and the new extension, with 70 major exhibits covering the pre-war era to the present day (1927 – 2017).
The new part of the museum presents technology and vehicles in everyday scenarios, provides information and stirs emotions. The concept blends in-depth facts with entertainment. Visitors can marvel at unique cars, study multimedia displays and information panels, watch short films and multimedia shows, explore hands-on displays, and even try out a driving simulator.

The museum is located on Audistrasse, close to the original site where automotive pioneer August Horch began making his luxury cars in 1904. The exhibition now impressively covers the entire history of car-making in Zwickau over more than 110 years. The August Horch Museum is the ultimate tourist attraction in Saxony for car fans from all over the world. They can learn all there is to know about the pioneering spirit and brilliant inventions of Saxon car-makers. Half-way through the tour of the museum, before they enter the fascinating new section of the exhibition, visitors can take a break in the new restaurant. Once refreshed, they continue the tour in the former production building of the Horch factory, which has been restored true to the principle of historic preservation. This is where the Trabant, probably the most famous car of the East German regime, was built after 1957. The August Horch Museum is one of just two automobile museums in Germany built on the site of a former car factory – a surprising fact in the “land of cars”. The historic buildings have been incorporated into the exhibition, creating a unique and authentic atmosphere.

The new section of the museum begins with a foray into the history of Auto Union racing cars. It is a proud tribute to the legendary Silver Arrows built at the Horch plant in Zwickau from 1934 to 1939. Head of development in the Auto Union racing division at Horch in Zwickau until 1937 was none other than Ferdinand Porsche.
The sweeping success of the Silver Arrows began with daredevil, amateur racing drivers, and became increasingly professional, with manufacturers forming their own racing teams. The exhibition tells impressive stories of engines, chassis and aerodynamics, of new speed records and intrepid long-distance races. The races by Bernd Rosemeyer and Hans Stuck against Mercedes Benz vehicles are legendary. Auto Union Grand Prix racing cars were ahead of their time in technical terms. The Auto Union Type A racing car with a 16-cylinder engine was the first mid-engine sports car. The engine was positioned behind the driver, a technical strategy still used in high-end motor racing today.
The highlight at this point of the tour – and for many of their entire visit – is the fantastic, 15-minute multimedia show. Visitors take a seat on the stands with baited breath. The lights go out, and events that took place in the pit lane at the start of a Grand Prix race back in the 1930s are recreated in sound and image. Two original Auto Union Silver Arrows are on the starting line. An unbelievably thrilling spectacle!
In its day, Auto Union was the second-largest car producer in Germany after Opel. The group, founded in 1931/32, encompassed the sports and luxury car brands Audi and Horch from Zwickau, the Wanderer factory in Chemnitz that built medium-sized cars, and the DKW plant in Zschopau, which made motorcycles and small cars. (excerpt)

Carsten Schulz-Nötzold, decorum Kommunikation

Photo: (c) Labhard Medien/dsl factory


Leseprobe Rubrik: Business

Timeless Watches

Keeping track of time in the watch-making town of Glashütte

Glashütte is an illustrious name in the world of watches. Watches from Glashütte are legendary. Instilled with the passion of their makers for precision craftsmanship and artistic refinement, they embody a very unique zeitgeist. And yet watches from Glashütte are also said to have a timeless beauty. Ever since 1845, watchmakers in Glashütte have been elevating the measurement of time to the status of an art. People are magically drawn to these mechanical miracles, which do nothing more than show the time. How did a small mining town in the Ore Mountains become a centre of world-class watchmaking? And what makes watches from Glashütte so fascinating? A search for clues in the town reveals the answers to these questions.
Glashütte is situated in the Müglitz Valley, south of Dresden. The road leading there winds up a steep, rocky gorge along the Müglitz, a minor mountain river. On entering the small, tranquil town, there appears to be nothing unusual about it at first glance. The Ore Mountains are full of small mining communities like Glashütte. At second glance, however, on arriving at the central square, Ferdinand-Adolph-Lange-Platz, it is impossible to miss the magnificent buildings with their large, brightly lit windows. The signs of famous watchmakers catch the eye: A. Lange & Söhne, Glashütte Original, Moritz Großmann, Mühle, Nomos and Union. Watches made here are among the most sought-after and expensive on the market. New models are presented every year at Baselworld, the world’s largest trade fair for clocks and watches, or at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva. Top of the range worldwide is the Tourbograph Perpetual “Pour le Mérite” by Lange & Söhne, which sells for 480,000 euros.
The best place to start exploring Glashütte is right here at the centre of town, where it all began. A large, stately building stands alone, island-like, between Schillerstrasse and Hauptstrasse. Formerly the German Watchmaking School, it now houses the German Watch Museum. To its left, at Hauptstrasse 12, is a watch shop, where Ferdinand Adolph Lange, Glashütte’s most-famous watchmaker, set up the town’s first watchmaking business in 1845.

Glashütte celebrates two anniversaries in 2018: The German Watchmaking School was established 140 years ago in 1878, and the German Watch Museum commemorates its 10th anniversary. It is only thanks to fortunate circumstances that visitors can now embark on a journey through time here, says museum director Reinhard Reichel. Following the demise of the East German regime after 1989, all clocks in Glashütte seemed to stand still. The only watchmaking company left at the time, Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe – a state-owned enterprise now renamed Glashütte Original – faced an uncertain future.
After German reunification, the collection of historic watches, the library and archive were turned over to the town council, thus preserving these significant testimonies to the past. In 2006 a foundation was set up by the town of Glashütte. One of its benefactors was Glashütte Original, which in turn was supported by the Swatch Group and its founder Nicolas G. Hayek, who had acquired Glashütte Original in 2000. A home for the museum was soon found in the former German Watchmaking School. After the building had been renovated, the German Watch Museum opened on 22 May 2008.
Watch enthusiasts can explore the complete history of watchmaking here in all its detail: Exhibits from the early years of watchmaking, tools from the watchmaking school, the evolution of clockwork from the 19th to the 20th century, a restoration workshop, and of course the vault, with its gold and gem-studded pocket watches. The museum also showcases the nine watchmaking companies currently in Glashütte along with their collections. “This is the most important room in the exhibition. We are not a museum that is restricted to a certain period. Time literally does not stop here. Watchmaking not only has a great history, but also a vibrant present”, Reinhard Reichel points out.
The Glashütte watchmaking industry was back in business within two decades following German reunification. Exactly 145 years after the cottage industry had been established by Ferdinand Adolph Lange, his great-grandson Walter Lange registered Lange Uhren GmbH as a new company on 7 December 1990. Other companies followed: Glashütte Original (1990), Nomos Glashütte (1990), Nautische Instrumente Mühle-Glashütte (1994), Union Uhrenfabrik (1996), SUG - Sächsische Uhrentechnologie Glashütte (1998), Bruno Söhnle (2000), Wempe Chronometerwerke (2005) and Moritz Grossmann (2008). Some 2,000 people are now employed in watchmaking in the town. Many are proud of having worked here for generations. The watch brands have become closely interwoven with the name of the town, a tradition that all new companies established since 1990 have drawn on.
In 2014, NOMOS Glashütte caused a sensation when it presented its proprietary Nomos Swing System at the Baselworld watch show. Comprising a balance, balance spring, escape wheel and pallet, the system powers a mechanical watch and sets the pace. Up until then, this mechanism was considered too sophisticated, complicated and expensive for a small watchmaking company to build itself. It would have to be made by hand, which would push up the price of the finished product. A special manufacturer in Switzerland had therefore gained what was essentially a monopoly on the business and was supplying virtually the entire watchmaking industry. But NOMOS Glashütte now has its own swing system and is no longer dependent on suppliers. What is more, the new system is not only of the highest quality, it can also be mass-produced, meaning the watches themselves are no more expensive. (excerpt)

Carsten Schulz-Nötzold, decorum Kommunikation

Photo: (c) Stiftung Deutsches Uhrenmuseum Glashütte/Rene Gaens

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