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Mauersberger: Dresdener Requiem / Jung, Dresdner Kreuzchor

Mauersberger / Members Of Dresden Philharmonics
Release Date: 07/30/2013 
Label:  Carus   Catalog #: 83328   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Rudolf Mauersberger
Conductor:  Matthias Jung
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Kreuz ChoirDresden Philharmonic Orchestra members
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Rudolf Mauersberger (1889–1971) served as Cantor of the Kreuzkirche in Dresden for the final 41 years of his life, starting in 1930. He is reputed to have battled to preserve the church tradition through the dictatorships of both the third Reich and the postwar communist regime. Mauersberger is considered to be one of the most important German church musicians of the 20th century, and before one belittles the concept of church musician, let us remember Bach!

Mauersberg may not be a Bach—but based on this disc he is a musician of originality with the ability to communicate on the deepest level. Both of these works are a part of his reaction to the horrors of the destruction of Dresden by bombing on the night of February 13,
Read more 1945. In fact, it has now become an annual tradition to perform this Dresdner Requiem every February 13th in the Kreuzkirche. There will be some who will find listening to this music difficult because they will find it hard to experience sympathy or empathy for the German citizens’ suffering in the 1940s. While I can understand that reaction, it isn’t one I share—and more to the point, if any music is to succeed as a work of art it must be removed from the specifics of whatever event inspired it and speak to the human condition without those specifics. This music surely does that.

Dresdner Requiem is a 55-minute score of immense imagination and power. Written for boys’ choir and some sparse instrumentation (bells, solo brass instruments, percussion, double basses, celesta, and organ), it is a harrowing and deeply moving experience. The writing is very sparse, at times seemingly rooted in the music of the 14th and 15th centuries, at times taking advantage of the harmonic palette of the 20th century. Apart from the Latin Requiem aeternam introduction, the text is in German—consisting of biblical passages and hymn texts. Much of the music is a cappella, the instruments being called on to add occasional color. The music was composed in 1947 and 1948, and revised a few times after that until its final version was produced in 1961.

Wie liegt die Stadt so wüst or (“How Lonely Sits the City”) is Mauersberger’s very first musical reaction to that bombing, written almost immediately after the event. It is a brief motet of mourning and was sung for the first time in the ruins of the Kreuzkirche on August 4, 1945. Its sparse harmonies and the affecting shape of its melodic material make for a powerful piece. The Dresden Kreuzchor is a boys’ choir of superb quality, and with a long and illustrious history. In fact, the solos written for boy alto in the Requiem were composed originally for the then-choirboy Peter Schreier! The current version of this choir sings with excellent intonation and a greater variety of color than one usually hears from this type of ensemble. The performances of both works have a strong emotional component in addition to their musical skills. Carus provides multilingual notes and full texts and translations. The recorded sound is clear, natural, and open. You should be warned that the dynamic range is very wide—some may find it too much so (I did not).

This disc surprised me—music with such a strong communicative ability is rare, and to hear it from a name I had never encountered before was an unexpected pleasure. To be sure, this is neither light listening nor background music. But if you permit yourself to enter Mauersberger’s world, you will find it a very moving experience.

-- Henry Fogel, FANFARE Read less

Works on This Recording

Chorzyklus "Dresden": Wie liegt die Stadt so wüst (Karsamstag 1945) by Rudolf Mauersberger
Conductor:  Matthias Jung
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Kreuz Choir,  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra members
Period: Modern 
Written: 1945 
Dresdner Requiem, RMWV 10 by Rudolf Mauersberger
Conductor:  Matthias Jung
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Kreuz Choir,  Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra members
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1948; Dresden, Germany 

Sound Samples

Dresden: No. 1. Wie liegt die Stadt so wust (How lonely sits the city)
Tiefe Glocke der Dresdner Kreuzkirche
Dresdner Requiem: Introitus: Prelude - Requiem aeternam
Dresdner Requiem: Introitus, Antiphon: Herr, gib ihnen die ewige Ruhe
Dresdner Requiem: Introitus, Psalm: Gott, man lobet dich in der Stille zu Zion
Dresdner Requiem: Introitus, Antiphon: Herr, gib ihnen die ewige Ruhe
Dresdner Requiem: Kyrie: Neige dein Ohr zu unsem Flehen
Dresdner Requiem: Kyrie, Epistle: Ich horte eine Stimme von Himmel
Dresdner Requiem: Kyrie: Gebet
Dresdner Requiem: Verganglichkeit: Es ist ein kurz und muhselig Ding um unser Leben
Dresdner Requiem: Verganglichkeit, Evangelium: In der Welt habt ihr Angst
Dresdner Requiem: Verganglichkeit, Chorale: Ich hab' nun uberwunden Kreuz
Dresdner Requiem: Tod: Wer will Gott lehren, der auch die Hohen richtet!
Dresdner Requiem: Tod, Evangelium: Ich bin die Auferstehung und das Leben
Dresdner Requiem: Tod, Chorale: Gern will ich folgen, lieber Herr
Dresdner Requiem: Dies Irae: Er tut grosse Dinge
Dresdner Requiem: Dies Irae, Chorale: Und ein Buch wird sich entfalten
Dresdner Requiem: Dies Irae, Evangelium: Den Frieden lasse ich euch
Dresdner Requiem: Dies Irae: Und des Herrn Hand kam uber mich
Dresdner Requiem: Dies Irae, Evangelium: Furchte dich nicht!
Dresdner Requiem: Dies Irae, Chorale: Es ist gewisslich an der Zeit
Dresdner Requiem: Dies Irae: Des Herrhat seine Hand gewendet
Dresdner Requiem: Dies Irae, Evangelium: Gott wird abwischen alle Tranen von ihren Augen
Dresdner Requiem: Dies Irae, Chorale: Du Herberg in der Wanderzeit
Dresdner Requiem: Sanctus, Praefatio: In der Gewissheit der gottlichen Verheissung durch
Dresdner Requiem: Sanctus: Sanctus
Dresdner Requiem: Sanctus: Osanna
Dresdner Requiem: Sanctus, Benedictus: Gelobet sei, der da kommt im Namen der Herrn
Dresdner Requiem: Sanctus: Osanna
Dresdner Requiem: Sanctus, Chorale: Was fur ein Volk
Dresdner Requiem: Sanctus: Osanna
Dresdner Requiem: Sanctus, Chorale: Wenn dann zuletzt ich angelanget bin im schonen Paradeis
Dresdner Requiem: Sanctus, Prelude - Chorale: Mit Jubelklang, mit instrumenten schon
Dresdner Requiem: Sanctus, Gebet: Jesu, milder Herrscher
Dresdner Requiem: Agnus Dei, Chorale: O du Lamm Gottes
Dresdner Requiem: Agnus Dei, Closing Prayer: Aus der Tiefe rufe ich zu dir
Dresdner Requiem: Agnus Die: Gib ihnen die ewige Ruhe
Dresdner Requiem: Agnus Dei, Prelude - Chorale: Seid getrost und hocherfreut!
Dresdner Requiem: Agnus Die, Final Chorus: Lass sie ruhen in Frieden

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