Monday, April 14, 2008

Der Alte Friedhof in Bonn

The last day Aaron and Megan were staying with us, we made a brief excursion to Bonn. For the most part we stayed in the center of town, and ticked points of interest off a map of Beethoven-related landmarks. One of which was Bonn's old cemetery. Der Friedhof dates all the way back to 1715, but was redesigned some 200 years later by Peter Joseph Lenné as something closer to a park than a graveyard. Though it wasn't known until some years later, Ludwig van Beethoven's mother, Maria Magdalena Beethoven, was buried here. Also Robert and Clara Schumann.

Now Aaron will happily tell anyone with a couple minutes to spare how, in the recklessness of youth, I once scoffingly dismissed Schumann as trivial and “flowery,” simply for the heinous crime of not being Schubert. I bring this up only because, if I didn't, Aaron would be all up in the Comments with flash-animation derision.

Anyway, on the day of our visit, the sky shifted between light rain and partial clouds, which made the cemetery's weathered grays and bright greens particularly appealing to the camera. I took way too many pictures, but then, how could I not? As Bonn's tourism information literature says,
“The old cemetery, which was redesigned in the 19th century, was supposed to put its visitors in a soft melancholic mood as a so-called “jardin parlant” (“speaking garden”). The harmony of nature and artistic graves impresses the visitors still today. The numerous important people laid to eternal rest here prove Bonn’s position in Germany’s spiritual life of the 19th century.”

Oodles of photos in this Picasa album, for your viewing pleasure. While you're there, why not enjoy a couple choice selections from the Robert Schumann piece that first encouraged me to rethink my position on the man? I'm referring to the Zehetmair Quartett's performance of his third string quartet. ECM put out the CD, and you can find out more about it here.

Robert Schumann – Zehetmair Quartett: Streichquartett Nr. 3: Assai agitato

Robert Schumann – Zehetmair Quartett: Streichquartett Nr. 3: Finale


Mark Jabbusch said...

Thanks for sharing the 'speaking garden' and the songs of Shumann that blur the lines between light and dark, and life and death.

Aaron Burkhalter said...

Y'know, I think I will be all up in comments here, because it is worth noting that the only reason you called Schubert "flowery" was because you heard it in Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemeanors."