Tour to Austria

Vienna, Linz, Salzburg, Melk and Göttweig

10th to 17th September 2009
Monday 14th September - Göttweig and Melk

Departure was at 9.30am and the tour planned for the day was in the Wachau Valley. The first stop was at Göttweig Monastery of the Benedictines. The tour started with the visit to the church. The choir here performed ‘Adoramus Te' (Palestrina), ‘Ave Maria' (Arcadelt) and ‘Jesu Dulcis Memoria' (Portelli). Philip Attard played also the saxophone. Right after the short performance, the group was taken in the Imperial Wing where affrescoes, paintings and furniture were seen together with an explanation from a young Tour Guide. At around noon, the group left for another important spot in the Wachau Valley, precisely for Melk. As the bus driver went through the narrow winding streets, the group had the chance to see the Danube, the countryside filled with vineyards, apples and apricot trees and nice villages. From the distance, one can notice how imposing on the neighborhood the Melk Abbey is. In fact one could easily feel that this Benedictine Monastery is richer than that of Göttweig. The museum consists of rooms filled with a display of valuable things, church decorations and vestments, some of which are still used in the present days. Empress Maria Theresa used to visit the Abbey and at times she even hold banquets here bring over Mozart for performance. Before entering the library, the Austrian guide asked the group to have a look at the Danube and its surrounding villages on one side and the church facade on the other. The library is a patrimony on its own. The ceiling is glorified with affrescoes and the walls filled with shelves packed with manuscripts and other important literature of philosophy, theology, science and much more. The last highlight at Melk and the most important one remains the church. It is the most well-preserved Baroque church in Europe. It had golden gilding on most of its sculptures and magnificent wood carving in benches and at the organ loft. Here the choir performed a cappella: ‘Jesu Dulcis Memoria' (Portelli), ‘O Sacred Head' (Bach), ‘O Sacrum Convivium' (Bartolucci), ‘Christus Factus' (Debono), ‘Tina ‘l-Ħlewwa' (Caruana) and ‘Allelulia' (Gabrieli). Philip Attard played also some solo pieces on the saxophone. At the end of the concert, Fr. Martin Rotheneder invited the choristers at the organ loft. He allowed Mark Debono and Alex Vella Gregory to play it. From up there, Marouska Attard interpreted ‘Is-Sliema' by Paul Portelli. She was accompanied by Alex Vella Gregory. Fr. Rotheneder was also interviewed by Alvin Scicluna for a programme on the National Television which will feature Schola Cantorum Jubilate in Austria. Before leaving the Abbey, Fr. Rotheneder played the organ skillfully though he said that he was not an organist. Back in Vienna, the choristers had a shower and went out again…this time to Grinzing. Grinzing is a nearby village well known for its wines and traditional food. A nice way to finish such a day…Prosit! Cheers!

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