Praying for peace and reconciliation
Karen Schousboe | 02/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
On the 13th of February 1945 the allied bombed Dresden. Round about 35.000 people died in the firestorm and 80 % of the inner city was totally destroyed. After the war the churches lay in ruins and for most of them it seemed impossible to envision a rebuilding. Only Kreuzkirche had so much structure left, that it was possible little by little to rebuild and reconsecrate the church.
In the night of the firestorm 8 boys from the famous Kreuzchoir were killed. This inspired the cantor Mauersberger to compose some of the most moving music of the 20th century, the Dresdner requiem. It used each year to be performed in the Kreuzkirche on the 13th of February but this tradition seems to have been abandoned.
Luckily it is possible to buy a recording with this music either here at Amazon or when in Dresden and visiting the church. The music is haunting with three choirs singing a cappella. The large choir in the middle is sometimes intermingled with solo instruments and represents the living. The second choir placed at the altar symbolises Christ, and the third choir placed at a distance represents the departed.
Yes it is complicated music, and yes it may not be as fine as the works of the great German composers of an earlier age. But the music is haunting and moving and well worth listening to.
And of course the famous motet - Wie liegt die Stadt so wüst - is unsurpassed as a memento mori of those horrible times. It was composed for the first service, which was held in the church in august 1945 and is included in the recording here.