Monday, February 11, 2008

Wuppertal - a recent creation?

Looking up Julia Fischer to see who taught her (will comment her wonderful Brahms recording later), I come across this blog. Apparently the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is on a tour of Europe, and in it the city of Wuppertal (Germany) is described as '... seventy minutes from Cologne. Wuppertal is a fairly recent creation. Several cities were joined together, like Pittsburgh, Allegheny City and Lawrenceville. It’s an industrial city along the banks of the Wupper River. Tal means valley. The two biggest cities joined in a long, narrow stretch were Elberfeld and Barmen. Not everyone was happy with the merger, naturlich. Sollingen, the company that makes the fine German steel cutlery, is just up the river.'

As it happens, I grew up near Wuppertal (before I became Scottish). Not sure what they mean by it being a recent creation; it has always been Wuppertal as long as I can remember back - that's almost 50 years. Both Germany and the UK have had at least one local government reorganisation since then.

Wuppertal provided a favourite outing to the nearest zoo, and it has a famous overhead railway going along the river; there's some story about a baby elephant being transported in it and falling out - years ago. Wuppertal should also be famous for the Pina Bausch Tanztheater, and it also has a fine concert hall, though I see it offers a wide range of music...For an industrial city to have a ballet company like Pina Bausch's suggests that there is some intellect behind the money.

Luckily for the burghers of Cologne Wuppertal is nothing like 70 minutes from that city; it's nearer 35 minutes, though Cologne has its own fine artistic world, what with that delightful Semyon Bychkov and others.

And oh yes, we won't quibble about the spelling of the name 'Solingen'.

After spotting 3 errors in six lines of text, decided not to check the rest of the blog. Still don't know who taught Julia Fischer, though.