Whenever I hear the Choral Evensongs in Kings College Chapel or Trinity College Chapel, I am reminded of the choirs in my hometown Dresden (Germany). In both cities are old traditions of choir music and a high quality of sound.
In Dresden there are also a lot of concerts of famous ensembles and choirs: Dresdner Staatskapelle (Karl Laux, The Dresden Staatskapelle¸1964, Pen: Rb.446.D:D.S1), Dresdner Philharmonie, Dresdner Kapellknaben, Dresdner Kreuzchor and many others.
The history of the Dresdner Kreuzchor (Choir of the Church of the Holy Cross) spans well over seven hundred years (for a historic publication see Hofman, E.H., Capella sanctae crucis der Dresdner Kreuzchor im Geschichte und Gegenwart,1956, Pen: Rb.446.D:D.K1). Today the Dresdner Kreuzchor consists of nearly 150 Crucians aged between 9 and 19. At the beginning of each school year, up to 24 boys are admitted to the 4th grade. Until their Abitur (German a-levels), all of the boys receive their school education at the Evangelisches Kreuzgymnasium (Protestant Evangelical School of the Holy Cross). Following Abitur on completion of grade 12, the Crucians’ membership in the Kreuzchor comes to an end. Being a Crucian means having a wonderful, very often stressful time marked by the concerts and performances of the choir, by the responsibility and dedication of each and every member of the choir, by the time spent at school together, and by personal friendships. Most Crucians live in the Alumnat, the choir’s residence.
The choir sings Vespers almost every Saturday at 6 pm in summer and 5 pm in winter and on Sunday at 9:30 am in the Church Service. Altogether the choir performs about 100 times every year, 50 Church Services and Vespers, 10 concerts at their church (including always Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and St Matthew Passion and A German Requiem of Brahms) and 40 concerts whilst ‘on tour’.
To the present day the office of the Kreuzkantor (Head of Music) has been one of the most prestigious offices of Protestant church music in Germany. From 1300 until today there have been 28 Kreuzkantoren; two famous, historic figure heads were Julius Otto (1804 – 1877) and Rudolf Mauersberger (1889 – 1971). Otto worked as the head of the choir from 1828 to 1875; his 47 years was the longest period any Head of Music has lead the Kreuzchor. He has wrote a lot of compositions for men’s choir. Mauersberger became director of Kreuzchor in 1930, a position he held until his death. Probably his most famous work is the hymn Wie liegt die Stadt so wüst (How desolate lies the city), written after the destruction of Dresden in February 1945 (YouTube videosampler: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gZXg8lNH2g). He wrote a Passion music after St Luke (Passionsmusik nach dem Lukasevangelium) and the Dresdner Te Deum.
As a music librarian I work in the SLUB Dresden. For two months (until the end of February) I am spending a vocational internship in the Music Department of the CUL and the Pendlebury Library of Music. I am very glad that I have been able to get an overview about the work/processing of Music and other Departments of the University Library, the Pendlebury Music Library and also of some College Libraries.
Thank you Clemens and all my colleagues for welcoming and for organizing my internship. I am enjoying the wonderful city on the river Cam with the beautiful parks, The Backs, bridges and well known old colleges with their famous music traditions.
Ines Pampel (work experience from 04.01. to 29.02.2012)