I recently had a concert in the town of Wiesbaden... it's one of many places in Germany that I've never been to (well, at least according to my Google calender search... which may or may not be true!). It seemed to be a nice town, a lot larger than I had expected it to be and on this particular winter day, not too cold either! Europe hasn't seen any snow in the areas that I've visited and I was lucky enough to dodge the rain as well!
The Kurhaus (the old spa/cure house) in Wiesbaden is a 20 minute walk from the main station (HauptBahnHof, Hbf). It's an easy walk, pretty much a straight line walk (one slow left....). This was the location of the concert for the evening and I was arriving by train on the day of the concert. Arriving on the day is a bit of a risky thing... especially in winter when the risk of snow might render your best laid travel plans completely useless! However, as I mentioned before, there is no Christmas snow this year....
The town of Wiesbaden has historically been known as a spa-town... attracting clientele from Germany, Europe and around the world. Perhaps that is why I never heard of it... I'm not really a spa afficionado! Anyway, it would also explain the large number of foreign language speakers that I could hear on the street... mostly English speakers.
This particular spa house (Kurhaus) was constructed at the beginning of the 20th century at a phenomenal price of 6 million golden marks! It was also regularly attended by the royalty and leadership of the German States including Kaiser Wilhelm II.
These days, the Neo-Classical building is home to a casino and two concert halls.... and during Christmas, a gigantic Christmas tree! There are two halls, the concert for this particular evening was in the smaller hall, and the audience would go to the larger hall after the concert for a dinner (musicians NOT invited!). It appeared to be part of a sort of package, a dinner and concert (or more correctly, a concert and dinner...) combination ticket.
The acoustics of the small hall was really quite amazing. The hard surfaces and high dome made for a really resonant and live sound... I do wonder if this was one of the spa rooms in times past!
The patterns of the tiles are pretty impressive and intricate... and the inlays on the wood doors, whilst not being too decorative are still pretty impressive. The columns make for that Classical feel, but I'm not sure if they really are marble or not... I guess if they were original, then they would be! A wall of mirrors (behind the stage) give a greater impression of depth to the space... not that it really needs it, despite it being a small hall, it is still bigger in volume than our house!
A real highlight of the room are the chandeliers that hang down from the roof... they aren't particularly ostentatious but they add a real sense of elegance to the room. Unfortunately, on a winter afternoon, the effect of the glass dome can't really be seen... but I'm sure that in the lighter and brighter months, it would be a an impressive way of lighting the room!
As always... night shots of a well thought out illumination of a building is always going to look much better than the daytime shot!
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