What is the sound of Dresden? This hour of music offers a possible answer to that question.
From the famous Dresden court orchestra in the pre-baroque age to late romanticism, there are many rich musical traditions in Dresden. A rather young period instrument ensemble named the Dresden Festival Orchestra picks up on them.
Founded seven years ago at the initiative of Dresden Music Festival director Jan Vogler, its members get together around festival time and otherwise play in diverse early music groups all over Europe.
The festival celebrated its 41st season in 2018, with 67 events including a world premiere and a summit meeting of the world's best cellists. Some 1,500 artists participated in the monthlong festival, performing at 24 venues in what many people call Germany's most beautiful city.
With the motto being Spiegel ("Mirror"), the idea was to mirror the power of music in society. More than 56,000 visitors came to the festival to hear the results.
The main work this hour is Brahms' Second Symphony, which Vogler calls "a marriage of nature and the divine."
"I find that the most beautiful thing in Brahms is his belief that God created all the music he wrote — he said that many times," said Vogler. "But it's more a God in nature, it's more a romantic God, a God that maybe Bach had in mind, rather than a concrete belief in the church."
Thomas Zehetmair, violin
Dresden Festival Orchestra
Ivor Bolton, conductor
Recorded by Deutschlandfunk Kultur, Berlin (DLF) in the Semper Opera on May 21, 2018.