St Michaelis behind 17th century houses

I don’t know from which direction Bach and Erdmann will have approached St Michaelis, their final destination, when they arrived in Luuneburg. It lies at the western edge of the town, and the view in the image above shows one possible approach – a street looking much as it would have in 1700. 

The views below show the nave of St Michaelis as Bach would have known it (on the left), and as it is today (on the right). Note that the organ which is visible on the left of the historical image no longer exists. This organ was, apparently, not in good repair, and was replaced shortly after Bach left Lüneburg. It is not clear how often Bach would have played the organ in St Michaelis; he diefinitely played the organ in St Johannis (below), where he had lessons with the famous North German organist Georg Böhm.

St Michaelis in 1700
St Michaelis nave today

I had time to explore the town before my concert. The first image is of the nave of St Johannis, one of the three churches in Lüneburg’s historical centre, and the church in which Bach had organ lessons with Georg Böhm. The second image shows that very organ, which is impressively ornate. The third church is St Nicolai (third and fourth images). Apparently, each of the churches sent choristers into the town to busk, and the “choral territories” were fiercely delineated. Obviously, each choral gang wanted to busk in streets inhabited by particularly rich citizens, and brawls ensued between rival choir gangs in order to exercise that privilege. The last image shows the old apothecary, a rich testimony to the wealth of the town and an example of North-German architectural opulence in the middle ages.


St Johannis nave
the organ in St Johannis
tower of St Nicolai seen from a street with 17th buildings
St Nicolai nave
Rats Apotheke from middle ages