Excerpt from ‚Die Welt’ – 12.02.2012 -- by Joachim Lange
The Russian-American composer Lera Auerbach, endowed with many talents and currently enjoying the success of her opera "Gogol" in Vienna, has expanded her large-scale Requiem into an Ode to Peace. Auerbach composed the work for the renowned Saxon orchestra as composer in residence.
Cosmopolitan as the prolific composer is, she does not only fill out the Frauenkirche up to the dome with the large choral and orchestral forces, but also has the world in its entirety pictured before her mind's eye. In the Kyrie, for example, the text is set with an almost papal eloquence in 40 languages at once with tympani and trumpets, without any fear of being influenced by the great models of the genre. The settings of central prayers of Christians and Jews are also self-assured in their utopian approach, as are those of Hindus, Buddhists and Moslems as well. The fact that one must read along in order to find one's bearings in the polyphonic, indeed mellifluous text in the space of the Frauenkirche is most likely part of the concept of a human utopia of harmony in the longing for peace.
Auerbach seeks to bridge the gap between the wound of Dresden and the present day. The so-called Dresden Amen, already used by Wagner in Parsifal, repeatedly appears. One also hears the text "Peace, Where God Dwells" by Dresden's own Christian Lehnert, engraved in the peace bell of the Frauenkirche. But there is also a reminiscence of 11 September 2001 with Father Judge's prayer.
Auerbach has composed symbolically charged music that perfectly fits the special performance space. The audience (who did not applaud in the church but observed a minute of silence) hardly resented the fact that she did not offer unsettling novelty but instead sought to make a direct effect with the entire impact of the orchestra and choir. There are, at any rate, only a few islands of calm reflection - such as "In “Silentium", which beguiles with simple melodies - in the layering of surging songs and of skilfully varied melodies pervaded by orchestral vehemence. Otherwise, high-pressure emotion dominates, always gaining new impetus through the orchestra and choir spurring each other on, leading again and again to a sweeping stream of sound.