We make our own way to London Gatwick Airport for our direct scheduled Easyjet flight to Berlin. Speedy Boarding has been arranged in order to streamline the journey for everyone. On arrival we are met by Peter and Tom and transfer by coach to the centre of Berlin. En route, Peter and Tom will begin to tell the story of Berlin and its extraordinary history. Once in the centre of the city, we have an included light lunch after which Peter will give the first of his organ recitals at our carefully selected church. After the music, we make our way to the 4* Maritim Hotel for our five day stay. After check in and time for some relaxation, a lecture by Peter introduces us to some of the music associated with Berlin. A drinks reception in the hotel is followed by dinner in the restaurant, which includes wine, water and coffee.
The day starts after breakfast with a 9.00am lecture on Carl Maria von Weber’s great opera ‘Der Freischütz’, which was premiered in 1821 in the Schauspielhaus. The opera was a landmark of German national expression after the Napoleonic wars and, through its music, symbolised the re-kindling of the German spirit after years of warfare. Following the lecture we leave the hotel and make our way to the Boulevard Unter den Linden on which are sited all the main buildings and museums that we wish to explore today. On the agenda are the Neuewache, Bebelplatz, as well as the opera house built for Frederick the Great in 1742. We also view the Singakademie, where Mendelssohn in 1829 gave the first modern performance of Bach’s ‘St Matthew’s Passion’. Included lunch is at a restaurant near Museum Island, the area where we spend the afternoon. Our first visit is to the Old National Gallery, which opened to the public in 1876 and which contains a fine selection of paintings by key 19th century German artists such as Friedrich Schinkel, Arnold Böcklin, Caspar David Friedrich and Moritz von Schwind. We then make our way to the Pergamon Museum to view its monumental buildings, which include the Processional Way from Babylon, the Ishtar Gate of Babylon, and the reconstructed Market Gate of Miletus. This evening there will be an optional opera or concert in Berlin (subject to availability).
We depart early this morning for Potsdam, a city situated 20 miles to the south west of Berlin. On arrival we enjoy a private tour of Frederick the Great’s summer palace, Sanssouci. The building is one of the finest in the German Rococo style and it is where CPE Bach directed orchestral concerts in which Frederick the Great played the flute solos. After a coffee break, we make our way to one of the local churches for the second of our organ recitals by Peter. The music performed will draw on the repertoire associated with the period of Frederick the Great. Included lunch is at the Flying Dutchman in Potsdam, a local hostelry that specialises in East German cuisine. The afternoon will be spent at the historically important Cecilienhof, built in the style of an English country house and famous for being the venue for the Potsdam Conference in 1945. On our return to the hotel - and to wrap up today’s theme - we enjoy a lecture with some music written especially for Sanssouci, including samples of concertos written by Frederick himself. This evening there will be another optional opera or concert in Berlin (subject to availability).
This morning’s lecture is on masterpieces in the Gemäldergallerie, a gallery that displays the main selection of paintings of the Berlin State Museums. We follow this with a visit to the gallery itself. Paintings discussed in the gallery will be Dirck van Baburen’s ‘Flute Player’ of 1624, Gerard ter Borch’s ‘Concert’ of 1675, as well as Vermeer’s ‘Lady Drinking and a Gentleman’ of 1658, and Tischbein’s ‘Self Portrait with his First Wife at the Clavichord’ of 1756-7. After an included light lunch, we visit the nearby musical instrument collection at the Philharmonie and - subject to permission - Peter will demonstrate some of the keyboard instruments, as well as guide us through the collection. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. This evening we enjoy a farewell dinner at the hotel.
After we have checked out of our hotel, we make our way to the Brandenburg Gate, without doubt the most iconic edifice in Berlin, and for many, the architectural nerve centre of the city. From there we walk around the corner to the Holocaust Memorial to spend some time among its extraordinary and thought provoking structures. We continue by coach to the 17th century palace of Charlottenburg for a tour of the state apartments, after which we make our way to the Reichstag to enjoy an included threecourse lunch at the Käfer restaurant situated at the top of the German Parliament building. The restaurant will allow us to enjoy some of the most spectacular views over the city. We then transfer by coach to the airport for our British Airways flight back to London Gatwick.
Tour limited to 24 passengers
Lectures by Peter Medhurst on Days 1 to 4
Two private organ recitals by Peter Medhurst in Berlin & Potsdam churches
Tom Abbott - professional tour manager & art historian
Centrally located Berlin hotel
All excursions, entrance fees, guided tours & gratuities for hotel & waiting staff included
Return scheduled flights from Gatwick to Berlin
Included welcome & farewell dinners (with drinks reception first night)
Included light lunches on Days 1 to 4 (with a glass of wine, water, coffee)
Included lunch at The Reichstag on Day 5 (with half a bottle of wine, water & coffee)
Audio headsets included on Days 2 to 4
Private executive coach for all day trips & transfers
Walking guided tour of Berlin
Museum Island - Old National Gallery & The Pergamon Museum
Sanssouci Palace, Potsdam
Cecilienhof Palace, Potsdam
Musical instrument collection at The Philharmonie
Charlottenburg Palace - tour of the State Apartments
Opera or concert on Days 2 & 3 (subject to availability)
We stay four nights in Classic Rooms at the Maritim Hotel Berlin (www.maritim.com). Centrally located next to the idyllic Tiergarten and close to the lively Potsdamer Platz, the hotel has two restaurants and a bar and all rooms are en suite. Welcome and farewell dinners are included at the hotel’s restaurant on the first and last evenings and the remaining two nights are on bed and breakfast basis. NB A limited number of Superior Rooms on the upper floors and Comfort Rooms on the middle floors are available at a supplement.
Single room supplement £99
Comfort Room upgrade supplement – twin/double room £20pp, single room £30pp
Superior Room upgrade supplement – twin/double room £30pp, single room £50pp
Optional concerts & opera
Local accommodation tax to be paid directly to the hotel
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