Seventeen members and friends of BHC visited Hannover from 22-27th May, our biennial visit, but this time with the special theme of the 300th anniversary of the royal union between our two countries – the ‘Personalunion’. The first day was spent on a guided tour of the wonderfully rebuilt Schloss Herrenhausen, one of the five exhibitions on the royal theme, and subsequently we were able to visit the famed Herrenhausen Gardens – and not only during the day, but also for the Wasserspiele after dark, with colour-floodlit fountains, accompanied by the music of Händel.
Day two was taken up with a fascinating visit to the beautiful town of Goslar in the Harz mountains, with its many half-timbered houses, the Kaiserpfalz with its amazing wall paintings of the history of the Holy Roman Empire and the lovely town square with the Rathaus.
The next day, a Sunday, was largely free for visits to other exhibitions, such as the massive one at the Landesmuseum, which Prince Andrew visited when he visited Hannover to celebrate the Queen’s birthday, but also the exhibition of cartoons (including Hogarth, Gillray and Cruikshank) at the Wilhelm Busch museum was well worth a visit! In the evening was perhaps the highlight of our visit, namely a combined concert of Bristol’s Exultate Singers and their new choral partners, Camerata Vocale Hannover in the Pauluskirche. The church was full, the singing of pieces from the 16th to 21st centuries, both separately and together, was a delight and occasioned an ovation and an encore. Camerata Vocale will visit Bristol for a return concert in September this year.
On Monday Bristol-Hannover Council members and also members of the two choirs were honoured with a reception in the Rathaus, addressed by Mayor Regine Kramarek of the Green party (the Lord Mayor in Hannover has several Deputies from the different main political parties), after which there was a combined committee meeting of BHC with our opposite numbers in the Hannover-Bristol Gesellschaft. In the evening, we had the usual splendid farewell dinner in the Loccumer Hof, serenaded by musicians who played music from the 18th century, including Rule Britannia! And a good time was had by all – we look forward to a return visit from our Hannoverian friends in 2015!