Christmas music in Frauenkirche

Dresden Travel Blog

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Frauenkirche and Christmas market

A significant part of Advent and Christmas is related music. And no, I don't mean the inevitable exposure to constant blaring of pop songs like "Last Christmas" (granted, I like this one to a certain degree) in shopping malls. Most Christmas markets in Dresden make sure to have brass bands/musicians and singers that perform live. And then there are the churches - in the 5th entry on this blog I already wrote about the Striezelmarkt music in Kreuzkirche. There are more concerts and recitals in this church, other churches follow suit. A *must* in Advent/Christmas season is to attend a performance of J. S. Bach's "Christmas Oratorio". There are about two dozen performances of that piece in churches in and around Dresden in December, so there's no excuse for missing it.

Frauenkirche (dress rehearsal for Advent concert)
The church choirs and musicians in the smaller parishes usually do an excellent job on this work, but my favourites are the big ones, of course - Kreuzkirche e.g. with the Kreuzchor boys choir, Dresden Philharmonic and very good soloists.

One of the hotspots of Christmas music is Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady). The ambience of the beautifully lit up, magnificent Baroque church with the huge dome alone is worth the visit. On first Advent weekend there's always the Advent concert, live on German TV station ZDF. Orchestra is the world famous Staatskapelle Dresden, conductors alternate, I've seen Christian Thielemann, Christoph Eschenbach, Peter Schreier ... The chorus is usually the excellent Semperoper chorus and there's always one or two names as soloists. I'll never forget the concert with Jonas Kaufmann, Anja Harteros and Elina Garanca in 2008.
Frauenkirche (dress rehearsal for Advent concert with Carolina Ullrich, Vittorio Grigolo)
Once I could attend the dress rehearsal and was able to snap some photos of tenor Vittorio Grigolo and soprano Carolina Ullrich, the orchestra and maestro Bertrand de Billy (see picture).

My absolute highlight, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, however, was Bach's Christmas Oratorio in the Frauenkirche in 2011. A friend of mine, music journalist, had come over from New York for this, another friend from Berlin. We were totally blown away by the performance. Christian Thielemann led the Staatskapelle Dresden and the Frauenkirche chamber choir, the soloists were Sibylla Rubens, Christa Mayer, Daniel Behle and Florian Boesch (cantatas I-III, see pictures) and Hanno Müller-Brachmann (cantatas IV-VI). Of course we didn't fail having a Glühwein at the Christmas market next to the church afterwards :-)

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Frauenkirche and Christmas market
Frauenkirche and Christmas market
Frauenkirche (dress rehearsal for …
Frauenkirche (dress rehearsal for…
Frauenkirche (dress rehearsal for …
Frauenkirche (dress rehearsal for…
Frauenkirche, Bachs Christmas Ora…
Frauenkirche, Bach's Christmas Or…
Frauenkirche, Bachs Christmas Ora…
Frauenkirche, Bach's Christmas Or…
Frauenkirche, Bachs Christmas Ora…
Frauenkirche, Bach's Christmas Or…
Frauenkirche dome
Frauenkirche dome
Frauenkirche by night
Frauenkirche by night
the nativity scene at the Christma…
the nativity scene at the Christm…
Christmas market in front of Fraue…
Christmas market in front of Frau…
Dresden
photo by: aloneinthecrowd