Schleswig Cathedral

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I visited Schleswig cathedral in July this year and thought I might add a few comments about it to my collection of articles about cathedrals.

The Cathedral of St. Peter in Schleswig with its west tower, ridge turret and stair towers looks like no other. It is situated in a quiet part of the city very close to the Schlei and close to the old picturesque fishing village of Holm Schleswig. There has been a cathedral on the site since 1134. The Late Gothic Hall Church was built from 1200 to 1408 and the building gained its final outward appearance in 1894 upon the completion of the tower. The tower is 112 feet high and out of proportion with the main building but it is distinctive and draws the eye from far away.

The most renowned feature inside the building is the Bordesholm Altar Screen. It was carved by Hans Brüggemann between 1514 and 1521 out of oak. With its finely carved unpainted figures, the huge altarpiece is unique in northern German art of the period. It contains reliefs with 16 scenes from the Passion with a total of some 400 figures.

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After Luther visited Schleswig the cathedral appointed its first priest and has been a Lutheran place of worship ever since.

In the first article I wrote I mentioned taking my, then very young, nephew to visit Lubeck Cathedral a long time ago. I wrote that he now lectures in music at universities in Germany and is a freelance choir conductor. I didn't mention that his father was the choirmaster at Schleswig Cathedral. He still is. The link between cathedrals and music in the family has been there a while.

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When I visited Schleswig in the past I have been impressed by the musical activity in the area. I have never been to the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival but The King's Singers have been resident there twelve times in recent history. This year's festival saw 171,00 visitors attend 107 concerts in 63 locations.

Should you plan to visit the cathedral perhaps go during the music festival.

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