Hell might be a little chilly this weekend.
I spent Friday night at church. Not just one church. Two churches. I was church hopping! A prayer progressive, if you will.
OK, admittedly, there was an ulterior motive. The Renaissance feel of Salzburg is in part flaunted by the many, many concerts of classical music offered around the city. The cathedrals in particular (since the music of these celebrated composers was often created for the church) are some of the biggest concert promoters. I can't tell whether there are different groups coming to perform at a single venue or whether it's like the house band promoting the newest set they just learned at a dive bar. Either way, my church concert experience was far from dive-y.
It was also far from my expectation. I dipped my hand in the holy water, hunkered down in a pew and tried not to look like an imposter as I waited patiently for the work of Schubert to envelop me. The booming organ began. Very dramatic. The procession of nineteen clergy people turned the corner. Hmm. A mass is commencing. Uh oh. The concert is integrated into the service. I can bolt now or I'm in it for the long haul. I'm grateful I chose the latter.
I wouldn't have gotten to hear the orchestra and choir fill every crevice of those high cathedral ceilings with their impactful sound. The thundering organ. Haunting, almost, at a night service yet the inspiring sound you would expect if the heavens were opening up above you. So inspiring that, on my saunter home, as the Dom cathedrals' bells clanged and people rushed in through its doors, my pace picked up and I funneled right in with them. Concert number two! It was standing room only for Mozart.
I didn't understand a word all night yet there was still something peaceful, serene, reflective in the experience as I sat there. In combination with the extraordinary scope of architecture and decor I gazed at around me in both cathedrals (the octagonal image below is looking straight up at the Dom's dome), I'd say they were concerts I won't soon forget. Unfortunately, I forgot to buy the t-shirt.