I’m at breakfast with my iPad and a cup of coffee, so just got time to carve a word before I dash off. I’m in Leipzig at the inaugural meeting of the European Society for the Study of Human Evolution (ESHE).
Central Leipzig, recently. Human evolution not pictured
Human evolution is always topical, but what with many new fossil discoveries, and new insights from genomics, it’s now especially hot. And what with the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology just down the road, Leipzig is a fitting place for the first meeting of what promises to be a very vibrant society. I’ve learned of several remarkable new things already, and that was just at the first night party, but if I told you what they were I’d have to kill you.
I adore the music of J. S. Bach, but there is none on my iPod as that sort of thing has to be appreciated on its own, in stillness, without doing anything else. Much as it was meant to be appreciated, in fact, in a church, in contemplative mood. Bach spent the later part of his career in Leipzig, and specifically at the Church of St Thomas, where he was choirmaster and general musical head honcho person.
So not a couple of hours after arriving here I achieved a longtime ambition and walked over to the church (central Leipzig is tiny and easily walkable, even very slowly) for a look around. And, heavens to Betsy, I hadn’t been there more than a minute when someone struck up on the organ, restored to its former glory just as J. S. would have liked it. It was a magical moment. All together now, Der Kunst Der Fuge – heads down, no-nonsense counterpoint.