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Music in the Dome

DomThose who enter our Dome are embraced by a luminous width. The huge dimension
neither overwhelms – nor oppresses the visitor, but invites him into the vastness of space – with the intention of opening himself.

Silence is called for so that the space can display its true effect. The interior of the dome is neither overloaded nor overly withdrawn – rather modest in the clear geometry of its structures.

So the visitor can open himself to a silence that allows him to rest. He is able to tune his ears to the to the space within himself - listening with the ears of his heart.

At this point, the concerts of the dome come in with the language of music.

What this language of music will have as a message for the listeners, is revealed to us by the artistic director of concerts, Professor Bernhard Marx with his compiling of the program.

As the pastor in St. Blasien, I wish the concerts to become the experience of a hearing heart.

The dome provides a space of sound with a very particular acoustic effect. The impressive rotunda with its extraordinary echo of more than eight seconds makes music by soloists, but also monophonic and homophonic choral music a very special experience. In the nave, the former monks' choir, polyphonic  and symphonic music can develop its effect particularly well. Here the Schwarz / Klais organ with its 55 registers / 3 manuals and pedal gives a wonderful display of its romantic sound spectrum.
The International Dome Concerts taking place in July / August every year convey the full range of possible sound experiences. Every Tuesday at 8.15 p. m. there are organ concerts by renowned organists from around the world with an introduction offered at 8.00 p.m.
Choir, orchestra and soloist concerts begin every Saturday at 8.00 p. m.
At these concerts, no admission is charged. The parish asks for a donation at the exit of at least 10 € (tuesday) and 15 € (saturday) to cover the expenses.

Special concerts are real highlights of the concert season. Tickets are available  at the St. Blasien Tourist Information office or over the Internet.
For programs and details of the concerts see our website of the Dome concerts: www.domkonzerte-stblasien.de

P. Josef Singer SJ

Chamber of Sound

Space of sound and Sound of space

The builders of the cathedral were certainly aware that they were creating here a  space of sound with special acoustic effects.

The rotunda is crowned by the vast dome: With a wingspan of 36 meters, it is, after the Pantheon, St. Peter's in Rome and the Duomo of Florence, the fourth largest dome in Europe. With its columns of 18 meters and the 18 meter high inner dome it reaches an overall hight of 36 meters: a perfect harmony of space.

A circle has no beginning and no end: Therefore, the circular shape of the rotunda itself is a symbol of God who exists without beginning or end.

In the nave behind the rotunda, in the former monks' choir, there is the music gallery with the organ. Polyphonic symphonic and church music can be heard here at their very best and appreciated by 400 people, seated both in the side galleries and the chancel below.

The Schwarz / Klais - Organ (1912 / 1997, 55 registers on three manuals and pedals) with its big romantic sound spectrum exhibits itself best here.

The rotunda has 540 seats. The impressive reverberation of 8 seconds transforms music by soloists, but also a unisonous and homophonic choral music into a  very special experience.

Therefore, during choir concerts, choirs sing polyphonic and fast compositions on the organ gallery, and afterwards the slower pieces down in front of the main altar. The concert audience  moves along with them and can thus discover the impressive sound space of St. Blasien in two very different spheres.

Author: Bernhard Marx et alii

The Dome and its Concerts

The most important abbey of the Black Forest, which was founded in the year 858 by the Benedictines and which evidently had an organ in 1488, was the birthplace of many musical treatises and compositions and, under Prince-Abbot Martin Gerbert, an eminent musicologist, became an excellent location for church music.

Here Johann Andreas Silbermann built his biggest organ from 1772 to 1775 with 47 registers. It was even larger than the Silbermann - Organ of Strasbourg Cathedral.

Church music is not only a decorative accessory to worship, but it also has a character of proclamation:

"The charge of the liturgist, the preacher, is to articulate God's word to the people. ... similarly, although at our level, this is also the charge of the musician. He also articulates in his - musical - language the word of God. Just as the preacher thinks about how he could credibly convey the message to contemporary people, it is up to the organist to  find and generate the music that edifies the congregation. "(Rudolf Heinemann, Berlin).

An old organ inscription from the Middle Ages tells us: "musica: preludium vitae aeternae", in English:"Music is the prelude of eternal life."

Together with the organizer, the Catholic congregation of St. Blasien, I hope you will  discover for yourselves the masterpieces of church music in this extraordinary setting of the "Black Forest Dome", and return home to your everyday life, enriched and strengthened by these "sermons in music" .

Prof. Bernhard Marx, titular organist at the Dom St. Blasien


Dom St. Blasien:
Saturday: 7.00 pm
Sunday:  10.00 am
Sunday:   11.15 am*
* in addition during school hours

Opening hours of the dome

Winter time:
From 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Summer time:
From 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

During church services or other events the Dome is not open for tourists!

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