Less is More Solemnis



I didn't see this coming as I sat in Reims Cathedral listening to a performance of Beethoven's Missa solemnis. Before that, I had walked around the church many times and had always discovered new details. No wonder, the cathedral is decorated with 2303 sculptures; I was particularly taken with the animals and mythical creatures. But what amazed me the most: the two west towers. As if cut off at the top. As if not finished. That was true. In fact, spires had been planned initially, but at some point during the construction in the 14th century, they had been abandoned.

As I said, crouching unsuspectingly in one of the rows of seats, I lifted my head and saw one of the two towers start to grow and converge into a spire high above. It must have had something to do with the music. The tower suddenly looked like a finger pointing into space, like a gothic rocket, and it was one. Propelled by many-voiced choir, the rocket took off. With it I flew up into the night, higher and higher.

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