Dresden was one of the most damaged cities after World War II. One of the biggest losses was the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady). Bach played organ at this church on multiple occasions. Also, it was the site of the premiere of Mahler's Symphony No. 8 on October 9, 1920.
Not until 1990 did the people of Dresden decide to rebuild the famous church. They were painstakingly accurate in their restoration. The initiative was heralded as the "Call from Dresden." Fifteen years were needed to rebuild the church with it being reconsecrated on October 30th.
To celebrate the event and to also provide a way of healing, a work by British composer Colin Matthews entitled Berceuse for Dresden was premiered on November 17th. The work featured German cellist, Jan Vogler, performing with the New York Philharmonic with Lorin Maazel conducting.
To conclude the program, the orchestra played Richard Strauss' Death and Transfiguration, a very appropriate work for the occassion. The event was indeed symbolic of a transfiguration and also a sign of healing. It proves once again that music has a power to heal and bring people together.
[From The Gramophone]
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