Kulturkompasset | critics of culture events

New Culture Palace – Dresden – Inauguration

New Culture Palace – Dresden


Relaxed applause after the Galla concert 29th April. The soloists and the conductor with flowers. Foto Tomas Bagackas.

Relaxed applause after the Galla concert 29th April. The soloists and the conductor with flowers. Foto Tomas Bagackas.

Visited by Henning Høholt and Tomas Bagackas

DRESDEN/GERMANY: The Dresden Philharmonic was looking foreward to new acoustics – and to having their own individual lockers. The new culture palace was inaugurated 28th – 30th April 2017. Kulturkompasset was present for the events.

Our first evening was the Galla 29th April
. Where Michael Sanderling brilliantly led the orchestra in Dmitri Schostakovitsj (1906-1975) Festliches Ouverture opus 96. It was a great festivitas ouverture, who immediately gave the whole evening the right temperature.

This was followed by There lieder by Franz Schubert (1797-1828): An Silvia, opuss D 891, Pilgerweise, opus D 789 and Träneregen opus D 785 from Die Schöne Müllerin. Where we got the possibility to enjoy how the new acoustic could function in a recital way, it suited the pianissimo side of  Matthias Governess beautiful voice well. and gave us the possibility to enjoy the “sweeter side of th orchestral accompaniment.

As the final number Ludwig van Beethoven (1776-1827) ´s 9th Symphony has been chosen, and it worked very well

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. The building up details through the three first parts worked well, and the great ending part with th great core and the four soloists, was, as expected a highlight in the evening. In addition to Matthias Goerne, who then showed his more rush deepens and great power in the baryton role, we enjoyed very much Christiane Libor,soprano, Silvia Hablowetz, alt and Daniel Kirch, tenor. And, as many knows the work is finishing with “Ode to Joy” with Schillers text. A great evening.

Actually: For the past five years, the Dresden Philharmonic has been effectively homeless. Since the Kulturpalast (Palace of Culture) closed its bronze entrance doors in July 2012 and preparations began on the construction of a concert hall with acoustics worthy of the Dresden Philharmonic, this illustrious local orchestra has been without a place to call their own.

Now the orchestra are in residence …

© Marco Borggreve Dresden Philharmonic, Foto: Marco Bo
Dresden Philharmonic, Foto: Marco Borggreve

During the intervening period, they have been permanently on tour, and it has been interesting to gauge the level of success with which various venues in Dresden have risen to the challenge of staging classical concerts. Stravinsky’s Petrushka actually chimed in rather well with the works of art on display in the Albertinum, and the fairy-tale Kronensaal in Albrechtsberg Castle proved to be an ideal setting for chamber music. The Frauenkirche, the Schauspielhaus theatre, the Church of the Holy Cross (Kreuzkirche) – splendid landmark buildings and welcoming hosts, but being constantly on the move ultimately gets to be really tiresome.

We look forward to performing in an auditorium that has intimacy, warmth and atmosphere as well as great acoustics.

Michael Sanderling, is the chief conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic

Desired ‘dark’ sound

Now all of that is at an end. After lengthy discussions and planning, the Dresden Philharmonic at last has a fabulous new concert hall which, thanks to measurements carried out by Dutch acoustic experts Peutz Consult, has the desired ‘dark’ sound. While the foyer has been restored true to the original, the rehearsal rooms and office accommodation are new.

Naturally: The musicians are particularly delighted with the personal lockers in the changing rooms – at last a place where they can keep their belongings and where things are not in a state of permanent change. Dresden has spent €81 million on the conversion. The city administration takes quiet satisfaction in having brought the project in within budget and without any major delay in construction.

Masters in their own house

Now the Dresden Philharmonic are masters in their own house. “The stage is big enough for orchestras,” says artistic director Martin Bülow, “but not of a size to permit more elaborate stage sets.” However, the 70 evenings each year on which the Philharmonic will make way for musicals, film scores, ballet and pop concerts will still pull in the audiences. “We’ve had enquiries from some star acts, including Die Kastelruther Spatzen, Maite Kelly, Mireille Matthieu, Frank Schöbel, Hans Klok, Max Raabe, Howard Carpendale, Helmut Lotti and Die Prinzen,” says Bülow. Not least because the light-infused monolithic building containing the new concert hall stands on Altmarkt Square – right in the heart of Dresden.

Opening Weekend 28th – 30th April 2017

Gala concerts:

The concert hall opens with a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony given by the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of chief conductor Michael Sanderling. The programme also features Julia Fischer as the soloist in Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and singer Matthias Goerne was soloist in three lieder by Franz Schubert for baritone and orchestra for the occasion.

A View of the one side of the new concert hall. Foto Tomas Bagackas.

A View of the one side/half of the new concert hall. Foto Tomas Bagackas.

Ode to Joy,    

28/04/17 and 29/04/17

Michael Sanderling (conductor); Julia Fischer (violin); Christiane Libor (soprano); Silvia Hablowetz (contralto); Daniel Kirch (tenor); Matthias Goerne (baritone); MDR Rundfunkchor, Philharmonischer Chor Dresden, Philharmonischer Kinderchor Dresden.

– – – – – – – – –

The Kulturpalast

New konsert hall, widescreen photo

New konsert hall, widescreen photo, photo Tomas Bagackas.

An importent minorvictory

The Kulturpalast was a minorvictory over Big Brother in Moscow
. The Russians wanted a skyscraper tobe constructed there in the style of the Lomonosov University, but after Stalin’s death in 1953, Wolfgang Hänsch managed to get his design approved.

When the Palace of Culture was first opened in 1969 and the Philharmonic settled in after a first period of exile in the German Hygiene Museum, the city also designated it a venue for other civic activities. The classical music makers shared the auditorium with competitions for amateur musicians, with the ‘Pioneers’ of the Ernst Thälmann youth organisation and, after 1989, with the spring folk music festivals. Acoustics were a secondary consideration – of greater importance was the adaptability of the stage and the capacity of the auditorium.

Testament to the socialistic culture that was promoted here after 1969 are the reliefs on the bronze doors, which link Dresden’s history with the workers’ movement, and the large mural ‘Der Weg der roten Fahne’ (The Way of the Red Flag) by Gerhard Bondzin.

the large mural ‘Der Weg der roten Fahne’ (The Way of the Red Flag) by Gerhard Bondzin

The large mural ‘Der Weg der roten Fahne’ (The Way of the Red Flag) by Gerhard Bondzin

An exhibition at the Stadtmuseum Dresden (Local History Museum) tells the story from construction to restoration undertaken by the architects Gerkan, Marg and Partner.

Exhibition at the Stadtmuseum Dresden22/04/17 – 17/09/17.

‘Der Weg der roten Fahne’ (The Way of the Red Flag) by Gerhard Bondzin. Foto By Tomas Bagackas at the exposition

Der Weg der roten Fahne’ (The Way of the Red Flag) by Gerhard Bondzin. Foto By Tomas Bagackas at the exposition in Stadtmuseum.

Dragons and space stations for the children’s section of the library

The Städtische Zentralbibliothek

(Central Library) has been allocated 6,700 square metres of space on the first and second floors of the Kulturpalast and is expecting a footfall of up to 4,000 visitors per day. Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau fashioned wooden fittings for the Kulturpalast back in 1969, which now enjoy listed status. The furniture makers have once again been called in, this time to design and build seating and play equipment on various themes, including dragons and space stations for the children’s section of the library. bibo-dresden.de 

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