‘A rich journey from elegy to cautious resurrection.’   The Times

Instrumentation

2.afl.2.ca.2.bcl.2.cbsn - 4231 - timp - perc(1): tubular bells - harp -strings - CD

Availability

Full score on sale (HPOD1028)
Piano reduction and solo part on special sale from the Hire Library
Full score and parts for hire

Programme Notes

Berceuse for Dresden, which I began work on shortly after my first visit to the city last autumn, is based almost entirely on the sounds of the eight bells of the Frauenkirche, their pitches transformed into long melodic lines for the solo cello, while the overtones of the bells give the underlying harmony of the piece. A berceuse is a lullaby or cradle song, but the mood of the work is impassioned as well as lyrical. Once the title had appeared, though, it seemed the only appropriate one, implying rebirth even if there are strong elements of turbulence and lament. The cello part is not designed to be in any way virtuoso or concerto-like, but takes the role almost of a wordless singer.

Berceuse for Dresden is dedicated to the memory of Victor Klemperer, whose remarkable diaries reveal that the destruction of Dresden was, paradoxically, for him a liberation. He had spent the day of February 13 1945 delivering letters to his few remaining fellow Jews in the city which told them that they were to be transported later that week. He and his wife both survived the firestorm, and fled to safety.

Colin Matthews

Reviews

‘The mournfully expressive admixture of hope to grief, healing to despair, is extraordinarily moving.’
Classical Source (Mark Valencia), 16 August 2016

‘Touching… A song without words for the cello.’
The Guardian (Andrew Clements), 18 August 2016

‘A rich journey from elegy to cautious resurrection.’
The Times (Neil Fisher), 18 August 2016

‘It’s easy to imagine the goosebumps audience members would have felt at its world premiere.’
The Telegraph (Ben Lawrence), 18 August 2016

Berceuse for Dresden

repeat Afternoon on 3

BBC Radio 3 (United Kingdom)

Leonard Elschenbroich, Hallé Orchestra, Sir Mark Elder

Berceuse for Dresden

repeat BBC Proms

BBC Radio 3 (United Kingdom)

Leonard Elschenbroich, Hallé Orchestra, Sir Mark Elder

Berceuse for Dresden

also broadcast live on BBC Radio 3

Royal Albert Hall (London, United Kingdom)

Leonard Elschenbroich, Hallé Orchestra, Sir Mark Elder

Berceuse for Dresden

live broadcast

BBC Radio 3 (United Kingdom)

Leonard Elschenbroich, Hallé Orchestra, Sir Mark Elder

Berceuse for Dresden

BBC Radio 3 (United Kingdom)

Raphael Wallfisch, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Garry Walker