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Bach Museum Help Needed

My daughter who is a piano major and myself with be in Germany in late April/early May. We are going to both Leipzig and Eisenach. There are Bach museums in both locations, but we only wish to do one. Can anyone recommend one over the other? Which is more comprehensive? Also how much time do you need at each one?

In Leipzig we plan to go to the Thomaskirche, Mendelssohn house, maybe the Shumann house and the Nikolaikirche.

In Eisenach we are doing the Lutherhaus, Wartburg, and the Reuter-Wagner Museum.

Thank you for any help you can provide.

Posted by
12040 posts

I've only visited the museum in Leipzig. I'm a huge Bach fan, but I even I found the museum a bit on the dull side (then again, I find that museums seldom do justice to music of any genre. Kind of like hearing food or smelling art). I only learned a little that I didn't know before, and the museum houses very few artefacts that have a historical connection to the man. You could probably spend as little as one hour or as much as three. It's not a very large museum.

The Thomaskirche sits right across from the museum. It isn't the most elaborate church I've ever visited, but if an organist is playing at the time of your visit...well, there's something really uplifting about hearing the music of the master played in the building of its origin.

The Nikolaikirche is more interesting as a physical building. I don't think I've ever seen a church with a similar floral motif in the decor, and definately not typical for a Lutheran house of worship. To fully appreciate this building, make sure you read about it's importance in the fall of communism.

Leipzig is actually one of my favorite cities in Germany, and certainly one of the most under-rated. It doesn't have a plethora of museums, but it's such a beautiful, vibrant, walkable town. And for a city that was once part of the DDR, it retains a surprising amount of its historical buildings (mostly from the Empire period). Dresden might have better museums and the historic core is definately grander... but it seems rather divorced, both spatially and chronologically, from the larger city it occupies.

In Eisenach, if you can't understand German, you will need to time your visit to the Wartburg very carefully. The castle offers English tours infrequently. Oh, and for a classical musician... read up on the Wartburg's connection to the Tannhauser legend.

Posted by
14210 posts


In Leipzig aside from the houses/museums of Bach, Mendelsohn, and Schumann is also that of Franz Liszt.

Posted by
10344 posts

I've always noticed how the Germans have given us some of the greatest classical/orchestral music.
For just one country to produce such talent, for a relatively short period of history, seems worth noticing.

Posted by
6830 posts

AFAIR, if you're stuck on a German tour of the Wartburg, they give you a paper sheet with the bulk of the tour information in your own language. I would not skip this stop because of the tour schedule.

We did not see the Bach sites in Eisenach because we read that his birth house is long gone. But the museum in Leipzig was excellent. I might note that some museum-goers find manuscripts (especially if they don't read some music) less than thrilling, but we found the presentation to be engaging and rewarding. I feel confident that the Leipzig museum is larger and better-funded.

Try to spend enough time on the internet to find some live concerts during your visit. This should be easier in April than it was for us in the summer. Hope your trip includes Weimar, a very enjoyable and walkable city.