"Eisenach: from Bach to Egk" Top 5 Page for this destination Eisenach by Nemorino

Eisenach Travel Guide: 104 reviews and 391 photos

In this photo, which I took in 2005, the Theater in Eisenach is advertising their new production (by a young stage director named Vera Nemirova) of the most popular and most often performed opera in Germany, Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791).

When I was here in 2001 I saw a different "magic" opera in this theater: Die Zaubergeige (The Magic Violin) by the German composer Werner Egk (1901-1983). It is a sort of fairy tale in which the character Kaspar is given a magic violin, which enables him to have a brilliant career as a virtuoso, but nearly costs him his life before all the conflicts are resolved.

Since I didn't know anything about Werner Egk at the time, I found it very useful that they had a comprehensive exhibition about his life and work spread out through all the lobbies of the theater. It turns out that The Magic Violin had it's world premiere in Frankfurt am Main on May 22, 1935, and that it was Egk's first major success as an opera composer. He also wrote several other operas, such as Peer Gynt, which was also performed recently here in Eisenach. His operas were often played until well into the 1970s, but not so often since then. (He was not a Nazi, by the way, even though he stayed in Germany during the Nazi period and did not go into exile like his friends Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill.)

Three centuries earlier, Eisenach was the birthplace of the composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). He was born here as the youngest of eight children, and lived in Eisenach for the first ten years of his life, until his parents both died and he went to live with relatives in the nearby town of Ohrdruf. He spent most of his adult life in Leipzig, where he was the cantor at St Thomas's School and the city's director of music.

The Bach House in Eisenach is a good place to get acquainted with Bach and his life and work, since the admission price includes an introductory music lecture with examples of his music played live on five historical instruments (two organs, a harpsichord, a spinet and a cembalo), as well as two recorded selections with a chorus and orchestra.

The lecture I heard there recently was in German, but they will lend you a written summary in Japanese or English, and I suppose also in other languages. (The tourist attractions in Eisenach are very well signposted, by the way, in both German and Japanese.)

The instruments and furniture in the Bach House are old, but probably not old enough to have been used by the Bach family. This was not his baby bed, for example. They aren't even sure he was born in this particular house, but it was in this neighborhood, in any case.

  • Last visit to Eisenach: Jun 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (10)

Comments (36)

  • blueskyjohn's Profile Photo
    Feb 16, 2015 at 6:46 PM

    Some interesting museum I would like to visit. Thanks for the tour Don!

  • alancollins's Profile Photo
    Jan 7, 2014 at 2:01 AM

    The castle looks an interesting place to visit.

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      Jan 8, 2014 at 1:02 PM

      I still haven't been up to that castle -- maybe sometime this year.
      Thanks for your visit to my Eisenach page.

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Jul 3, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    You found some good Museum's here worth visiting!

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Aug 13, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    I thought Id been here but dont recognise anything!I might have rushed past in a rush to Frankfurt airport though!..came to see if id seen this page before - obviously have! will have to go back thru the Lonely Planet as to why i drove madly to see Eisenach and then only thru the one lane roads to Frankfurt before the freeway started again....that was a hectic drive to the airport i can remember that much (160km/hr along with all the Germans in their mercs!)..i was doing a castle-mad and timbered building mad 4 day driving trip so it was probably to see Wartburg!

  • lmkluque's Profile Photo
    Aug 5, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    I would have liked watching those women spinning! Lucky you to happen across the Street Festival. Thanks for the tour Don!

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Jul 29, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    Well, after seeing this town, it may entice us to come back again for one more trip. Gotha reads like a real nice place to be.

  • Regina1965's Profile Photo
    Jul 22, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    I agree with Sarah, I have never heard of this town, despite the famous names linked to it - thanks for the virtual tour.

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Oct 24, 2011 at 3:07 AM

    Thank you for the introduction to another lovely German town unknown to me until now - despite the number of famous names linked with it!

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Jan 17, 2011 at 7:46 AM

    How lovely to be able to see a castle. The museums look wonderful too. A very charming city. Excellent page Don!

  • Elisabcn's Profile Photo
    Jan 16, 2010 at 1:06 PM

    A visit to the castle sounds nice but that supposed Bach's house with old furniture . . . it is a rip-off! At least there is good beer in Eisenach?! Thanks for sharing


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