Tuesday 31 May 2016

Dresden Music Festival: Klingende Stadt - Musical City

Beethoven's Ninth Symphony performed on the Christopher Street Day stage as part of Dresden Music Festival's Klingende Stadt
Beethoven's Ninth Symphony performed on the Christopher Street Day stage
as part of Dresden Music Festival's Klingende Stadt
Klingende Stadt; Dresden Music Festival
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on May 28 2016
A city wide day of music in Dresden with amateurs and professionals joining forces

One of the projects at the 2016 Dresden Music Festival (Dresdener Musikfestspiele) was entitled Klingende Stadt (Musical City). On Saturday 28 May 2016, all over Dresden music popped up in many places, both likely and unlikely. But a big feature was the participation of amateurs; the festival had responses from over 1000 amateur music-makers when they advertised. 28 May was also Dresden's Christopher Street Day (the German name for Gay Pride) and a parade with numerous floats made its way around town. The parade was due to arrive at 4pm in the Altmarkt where the Christopher Street Day stage was situated. And in an exciting confluence, this stage was used for a performance of the last movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with performers being a mixture of professionals and amateurs.

Arriving early we came across a flash-mob by the military band of the Bundeswehr (the German armed forces). The men and women were loitering in uniform with their instruments in the Neumarkt and when a lone trumpeter started playing Amazing Grace the others joined him; simple but effective. They only played two pieces, but the crowd would have been happy for far more. I wondered, is the German military band the only one to use Wagner tubas?

Brass and wind players from the Bundeswehr band were amongst the performers in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at the Christopher Street Day stage. In a remarkable mix of styles, the Christopher Street Day floats arrived, all pumping out disco music. They stopped and disgorged their crews of drag queens, scantily clad go-go dances, lesbians and gay men both colourful and ordinary. All stood to listen to the performance of the last movement (the Ode to Joy) from Beethoven's symphony. What was important about it wasn't the quality of performance, though there was much to enjoy, but the sheer enthusiasm and collaboration between amateur and professional.

And when I interviewed the festival's Intendant, Jan Vogler, he told me how much positive feedback the festival had had, from ordinary Dresdeners able to participate in their festival.

You can see a video of the event on Visit Dresden's Facebook page.

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