30 December 2016

Aachen and Charles Nicholas Weiss

We went away for a few days up north, to Aachen. I didn't know really anything about the place before we visited, but learnt that it is known for its links with Charlemagne, and has a beautiful cathedral. 

Glass mosaics in Aachen Cathedral
We were buying tickets to see the Cathedral Treasury when I saw something that stopped me dead in my tracks. The name of Aachen was written on some signage in different local languages, the French rendering being Aix-la-Chapelle. And I remembered this from Sainsbury (1824, p503):

Charles Nicholas Weiss had been on tour to Aix-la-Chapelle in 1821! This anecdote is a direct quote from a letter that Weiss sent to Sainsbury, for inclusion in his book. I love the bit "His name was not unknown to the officers" - seems like a humble brag to me!

During our short holiday in Aachen I managed to get some time to go to the Stadtbibliothek (city library) and spent an hour and a half skimming through the Aachener Zeitung (a newspaper of the day) for 1821, looking for anything about a concert Weiss might have performed there. Unfortunately, I ran out of time to do a very thorough job, but amongst the news from around Europe and advertisements for horses or houses for sale and the like, I didn't find anything. But at least I tried. 

Sainsbury, J.S. (1824). A Dictionary of Musicians. Sainsbury and Co, London.


  1. The building looks spectacular! As to the,newspapers, a quick look is a start but they can take ages.have you tried seeing if they are digitised in any way.

    1. They all appear to be only on microfiche. I did manage to work out the general format of the paper (which was only about 4 pages long) - pages of political news, and then at the end some general advertisements. I looked in the advertisement sections.