Limewood and sandstone

November 11 2014

Wooden means stiff, unyielding. But “lime”, the wood in which Riemenschneider and other German Renaissance sculptors carved, comes from the Old English lind or linde and Proto-Germanic lendā, which are related to the Latin lentus, flexible, and the Sanskrit latā. “Lithe” and the German lind, lenient, yielding, are from the same root.

Neither the name nor the tree is related to the citrus fruit.

Lime trees, tilia, are long-lived. In the courtyard of the Imperial Castle at Nuremberg, until 1934, stood a lime which, according to tradition, had been planted by the Empress Cunigunde, the wife of the last Ottonian Emperor, Henry II.


A better musical pendant to MacGregor’s Germany: Memories of a Nation than Strauss’s oboe concerto might be Hindemith’s 1962-63 organ concerto, a great piece of modern music from the country of Riemenschneider, the Holbeins, Grünewald, Dürer and Luther.

Martin Haselböck, organ of the Grossen Konzerthaussaal (what is the organ in the still?), Wiener Symphoniker, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos:

I. Crescendo, moderato maestoso
II. Allegro assai

III. Canzonetta in triads and two ritornelli, moderato

IV. Fantasy on Veni Creator Spiritus, ie I suppose on the Gregorian chant normally associated with it


Adam Brust

Sandstone, the equivalent of limewood: from Riemenschneider’s carvings of Adam and Eve, Würzburger Marienkapelle, 1491-93, Mainfränkisches Museum Würzburg, photo credit: Ulrich Kneise, Eisenach

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