Over the coming months there will be four blog posts for each city on the Davis High School Baroque Ensemble’s 2020 England-France Tour tour: Place of Interest; Concert Venue; Music; History of the city. This week’s post, the tenth of the series, is on the concert venue in Bruges.
Holy Savior Cathedral — Sint-Salvatorskathedraal — is the venue for the performance by DHSBE in Bruges, Belgium.
The Sint-Salvator Cathedral, the main church of the city, was first built in 11th century, rebuilt in the 13th century in Gothic style, and has later additions, notably the tower. The Cathedral’s 101-meter-long interior contains some noteworthy furnishings including the wall-tapestries that can be seen when entering the church that were manufactured in Brussels in 1731.The Treasure-Chamber display includes 15th century paintings by Flemish artists, and religious relics. The late Gothic carved choir stalls close-by the organ, are 15th century; the pulpit is in the neoclassical style of Louis XVI, and the side-chapel of Saint Jacob has murals from the end of the 13th century.
The roof of the cathedral collapsed in a fire in 1839. Robert Chantrell, an English architect, famous for his neo-Gothic restorations of English churches, was asked to restore Sint-Salvator. He was also authorized to extend the medieval tower in order to make it taller than that of the Church of Our Lady – Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk. The oldest surviving part, dating from the 12th century, formed the base of the mighty 19th century tower. Instead of adding a neo-Gothic part to the tower, he chose a Romanesque style design of his own invention. After completion there was a lot of criticism of the design, and the Royal Commissioner of Monuments, without authorization by Chantrell, had placed a small peak on top of the tower because they considered the original design to be too flat. The Neo-Romanesque west tower is fortress-like and 99 meters high.
The Cathedral Organ was originally built in the early 18th century, and was expanded in the 20th century resulting in an instrument of 60 stops (different sets of pipes producing a range of sounds), on three manuals (keyboards), and a pedal-board (wooden ‘keys’ played with the feet). The organ is situated at the end of the nave facing the altar at the other end, and sits atop baroque style arches contemporary with the organ.
Medieval stained glass is the coloured and painted glass of Medieval Europe from the 10th century to the 16th century. Stained glass windows were used predominantly in churches, but were also found in wealthy domestic settings and public buildings such as town halls, though surviving examples of secular glass are very rare indeed. The purpose of stained glass windows in a church was both to enhance the beauty of their setting, and to inform the congregants through narrative or symbolism and moral lessons.. The subject matter was generally religious in churches, though “portraits” and heraldry were sometimes included; many narrative scenes give valuable insights into the medieval world. Stained glass windows were used predominantly in churches, but were also found in wealthy domestic settings and public buildings such as town halls, though surviving examples of secular glass are very rare indeed. The purpose of stained glass windows in a church was both to enhance the beauty of their setting and to teach congregants about biblical stories through narrative or symbolism. The subject matter was generally religious in churches, although “portraits” and heraldry were sometimes included, and many narrative scenes give valuable insights into the medieval world. Stained glass in Sint-Salvator is especially spectacular.
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