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Guide to Bach Tour
Halle (Saale)
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Contents

Description | History
J.S. Bach: Connection | Events in Life History | Performance Dates of Vocal Works | Festivals & Cantata Series
Features of Interest | Information & Links | City Guide
Photos | Maps

Description

Halle is the largest city in the German State of Saxony-Anhalt. It is also called Halle an der Saale (literally Halle on the Saale river, and in some historic references simply Saale after the river) in order to distinguish it from Halle in North Rhine-Westphalia Currently the city is officially called Halle (Saale).

It is situated in the southern part of the state, along the river Saale which drains the surrounding plains and the greater part of the neighboring Free State of Thuringia located just to its south, and the Thuringian basin, northwards from the Thuringer Wald. Leipzig, one of the other major cities of eastern Germany, is only 40 km away.

Country: Germany | State: Saxony-Anhalt | District: Urban district | Area: 135.01 km˛ | Population: 234,300 (December 2007)

History

The name Halle derives from the Celtic word for salt, like that of it's namesake in Westphalia, Hallein and Hallstatt in Austria and Schwäbisch-Hall in Germay, while the name of the river Saale contains the Germanic root for salt. Salt-making has been conducted in Halle since at least the Bronze age.

The town was first mentioned in 806. It became a part of the bishopric principality of Magdeburg in the 10th century and remained so until 1680, when it was annexed by Brandenburg together with Magdeburg.

After World War II Halle was the capital of the short-lived administrative region of Saxony-Anhalt (until 1952), when the "Länder" were abolished in the GDR. As a part of East Germany (until 1990), it was the capital of the administrative district ("Bezirk") of Halle. When Saxony-Anhalt was reestablished as a Bundesland, Magdeburg became the capital.

Halle has a long musucal tradition. The creation at the end of the 13th century of the Brotherhood of Musicians and Fife Players (Spylleuten und Pfeiffern), and the foundation of an opera in 1654 by the Duke Augustus, illustrate the age-old support of music shown by the municipality. Georg Frideric Handel was born in Halle in 1685. Organist at the cathedral in 1702, he composed many sonatas and cantatas before moving, after a period in Italy, to north aermany and then, in 1710, to London, where he set up residence. His compositions quickly won him an enthusiastic reception from the general public and, more importantly, royal favour and patronage. In 1726, he took British citizenship, after which he was appointed composer of the Chapel Royal. One of his major interests was the composition of large-scale choral works, of which perhaps the most famous example is the oratorio Messiah. The city pays a tribute to the master of German Baroque music in the annual Händel Festival.

Chronicle of Events

13th century A.D onwards
500
531
806
961

968

1263
1280
1484-1503
1524
1618-1648
1685
1694
1698
1721
1817
1840
1947-1952
1952
1990

Salt obtained from local brine
Celtic tribes advance along the Saale
Slav peoples colonise the region
First reference to the castle of "Halla"
Emperor Otto I bestows the Gau (district) of Neletice on
the Moritzkloster (Monastery of St. Maurice) in Magdeburg
Founding of the Archbishopric bishopric of Magdeburg,
of which Halle was part until 1680
Halle granted market, coinage and toll rights, and urban status
Halle joins the Hanseatic League
The Moritzburg built as residence of the Archbishops of Magdeburg
Formation of the "Vale of Halle Brotherhood of Saltworkers"
Halle razed during the Thirty Years' War
George Frederick Händel born in Halle
Founding of the University
Founding of the "Francke Foundations"
Salt-works awarded Imperial patronage
Halle University merges with its Wittenberg counterpart
Halle linked into the rail network
Halle becomes Regional Capital of Saxony-Anhalt
First Händel Festival staged
Amalgamation of Halle and Halle-Neustadt. Halle becomes the biggest city in Saxony-Anhalt

 

Bach Connection

In 1713 J.S. Bach attempted, unsuccessfully, to obtain the post of organist at Halle's Marktkirche (a position. Ironically enough, that went to hls eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann Bach 30 years later). In June 1729 J.S. Bach invited G.F. Händel, who was visiting with his mother in Halle, to come to Leipzig, in vain. J.S. Bach himself ill, sent his son Wilhelm Friedemann Bach to Halle.

Events in Life History of J.S. Bach

Date/Year

Event

Weimar (1708-1717)

Dec 1713

Competition for organist post at Halle

Feb/Mar 1714

Offer of Halle post declined

Apr 29-May 2, 1716

Organ examination in Liebfrauenkirche, Halle

Leipzig (1731-1740)

Apr 1740

Visit to Halle

Leipzig (1741-1750)

Apr 16, 1746

Appointment of son Wilhelm Friedemann Bach as organist of the Liebfrauenkirche, Halle

Performance Dates of J.S. Bach’s Vocal Works: None.

Bach Festivals & Cantata Series: None.

 

Features of Interest

Giebichenstein Castle: first mentioned in 961, west of the city centre on a hill above the Saale river. Moritzburg: a newer castle, built in 1503; residence of the bishops of Magdeburg; destroyed in the Thirty Years' War, then a ruin for centuries, rebuilt in 1904; today an Art Gallery.
Dom (Cathedral): a steepleless building, originally a church within a Dominican monastery (1271).
Liebfrauenkirche: where J.S. Bach examined the organ in 1716.
Marktkirche: a triple-aisle hall-church with no chancel. Here J.S. Bach tried unseccesfully to obtain the post of organist in 1713-1714.
Marktplatz: a huge square dominated by the belfries of the Marktkirche and the Roter Turn (red tower), built in the 15th century.
Moritzkirche: a triple-aisle hall-chirch, built 1388-1511.
Händel-Haus: the great comoser’s birthplace has been trasformed into a museum.
Technisches Hallorn –und Salinemuseum: the museum recounts the history of exploitation of the local salt mines and the cultural development of the “Hallorn”.

See detailed description and photos at: City Guide

Information & Links

Halle (Official Website) [German]
Halle (Saale) - City information
Halle Tourist [German]
Halle, Saxony-Anhalt (Wikipedia) [various languages]
Cityreview: Sachsen Anhalt > Halle [German]
Halle (Saale) (Meinestadt) [German]
Photos of Halle (Blog of Carsten Linke) [English/German]

 

Prepared by Aryeh Oron (March 2004 - December 2009)

Guide to Bach Tour: Main Page | Life History of J.S. Bach | Performance Dates of J.S. Bach’s Vocal Works | Maps | Route Suggestions | Bach Organs | Discussions of Bach Tour
Places: Altenburg | Ammern | Arnstadt | Bad Berka | Berlin | Brandenburg | Bückeburg | Celle | Collmen | Dörna | Dornheim | Dresden | Eisenach | Erfurt | Gehren | Gera | Gotha | Halle | Hamburg | Heiligengrabe | Jena | Karlsbad | Kassel | Kleinzschocher | Köthen | Langewiesen | Leipzig | Lübeck | Lüneburg | Meiningen | Merseburg | Mühlhausen | Naumburg | Ohrdruf | Pomßen | Potsdam | Ronneburg | Sangerhausen | Schleiz | Stöntzsch | Störmthal | Taubach | Wechmar | Weimar | Weißenfels | Weißensee | Wiederau | Zeitz | Zerbst | Zschortau

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Last update: ýJanuary 2, 2010 ý10:19:01