How lonely sits the city

Rudolf Mauersberger composed his funeral motet Wie liegt die Stadt so wüst (How lonely sits the city) to a text from the Lamentations of Jeremiah in Dresden after the terrible bombing of the city (photo above) on February 13-14th, 1945. The photo below shows the first performance of the motet. This was given in the ruins of the Kreuzkirche in Dresden, where Mauersberger was cantor, on August 4th, 1945 .

In the performance below Wie liegt die Stadt so wüst is sung by the Monteverdi Choir of Würzburg directed by Matthias Beckert. The first performance of the the motet in 1945 was given by the boys of Dresden's Kreuzchor who lost eleven of their number in the Allied bombing of the city. Now read about Rudolph Mauersberger's overlooked masterpiece that was inspired by this tragedy, his Dresden Requiem.

+ In memory of all victims of war: Armistice Day, 11 Nov, 2008
Wie liegt die Stadt so wüst,
die voll Volks war.
Alle ihre Tore stehen öde.
Wie liegen die Steine des Heiligtums vorn auf allen Gassen zerstreut.
Er hat ein Feuer aus der Höhe in meine Gebeine gesandt
und es lassen walten.
Ist das die Stadt, von der man sagt,
sie sei die allerschönste,
der sich das ganze Land freuet?

How lonely sits the city that was full of people.
All her gates are desolate.
The holy stones lie scattered at the head of every street.
From on high he sent fire;
into my bones he made it descend.
Is this the city, which was called the perfection of beauty,
the joy of all the earth?
Complete text is Lamentations of Jeremiah: 1, 1.4.13; 2, 15; 1,9; 5,17.20-21; 1,9.

Now see Dresden risen from the ruins.
The publisher of Rudolf Mauersberger's motet Wie liegt die Stadt so wüst is Merseburger-Verlag. His Dresden Requiem (Dresdner Requiem) is published by Carus-Verlag. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk


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