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Dresdner Kreuzchor (Choir)

Founded: 1234 - Dresden, Saxony, Germany

In the year 1234 the Austrian wife of Henry the Illustrious brought with her to Dresden a piece of the true cross as a gift, which was for the period immediately following kept in the Church of St. Nicholas. As an addition to this church, the oldest within the city walls, the ‘capella sanctae crucis’ (chapel of the holy cross) was built, the first record of which dates from 1319, when it was mentioned as a place of pilgrimage. This chapel lent its name later in 1388 to the entire church ‘zum heiligen Kreuz.’ For some considerable time, ministers and choirboys performed the liturgy, and for the boys' instruction in Latin and music a boarding school was founded, first mentioned in 1300.

In 1413 Nicolaus Thirmann, the school's rector, drew up the first set of rules for the school. Among its other provisions, it set instruction fees to be paid the teachers by the boys, indeed in ’socially appropriate’ amounts. This certainly didn't mean a life of luxury for either teacher or pupil, the latter supplementing their existence through all sorts of second jobs, such as bellringing, transport services, or putting up hay. Through the efforts of Philipp Melanchthon, in 1540 Sebaldus Baumann became the first cantor after the Reformation.

In the 17th century the choir's cantors made good use of their close contacts to musicians of the Saxon court. Later, Crucians were used in performances in the court opera house. Beyond that, until the end of the 19th century the Kreuzchor took part in services in both the Sophienkirche (Church of St. Sophia) and the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady). Occasionally the life of the Crucians must have been quite exciting, as the Goose Thief Fountain near the Kreuzkirche reminds us today. Along with the Crucians in Canaletto's painting of the Frauenkirche or the flag-waving boys in the Fürstenzug (Parade of the Prince Electors) depicted on the royal stables, the fountain bears artistic witness to the choir's roots in Dresden. The most dreadful interruption for both city and choir were the air raids on 13th and 14th February 1945, to which both the Kreuzkirche and its academy, the Kreuzschule, fell victim. 11 Crucians lost their lives in the attacks. The first postwar vespers took place in the burnt out Kreuzkirche on August 4, 1945. Still, the choir couldn't take possession of its home again until some ten years later. Through the tireless efforts of cantors Rudolf Mauersberger (serving 1930-1971) and Martin Flämig (serving 1971-1991), the Kreuzchor was able to maintain its Christian ties and continue its artistic development.

Only a very few choirs have multi-faceted repertoires even approaching that of the Kreuzchor. Highest priority is, of course, the preservation of both sacred and secular a-capella music. Names such as that of Jacobus Gallus, Michael Praetorius, Giovanni Gabrieli, Johann Hermann Schein and Hans Leo Hassler represent the old masters whose works the Kreuzchor performs regularly. The music of Heinrich Schütz, once Director of Music in Dresden at the Court of the Prince Elector of Saxony, has held a special place in the program for decades. In similar fashion the motettes of J.S. Bach are prominent, and part of many concerts as well are the motettes of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Johannes Brahms, Anton Bruckner and Max Reger. Since time immemorial one of the highest callings of the Kreuzchor's Kantors has been, during their time in service, to enrich the repertoire of the choir with their own compositions. Thus, by extension the music of the 20th century has come to represent a further point of emphasis. With vocal works from Günter Raphael, Hugo Distler, Francis Poulenc, Benjamin Britten, and Krzysztof Penderecki in numerous premier performances, the Dresdner Kreuzchor repeatedly wins the attention and praise of music critics.

Concerts together with the Dresdner Philharmonie or the Saechsische Staatskapelle Dresden (Saxon State Orchestra) simply can no longer be excluded from the city's musical life. J.S. Bach's Weihnachts-Oratorium (BWV 248), his passions, masses, and cantatas as well as Ein deutsches Requiem by Johannes Brahms are performed annually in the Kreuzkirche: works with which the young singers enthuse audiences on tour also. For a number of years the Dresdner Kreuzchor has worked together with special ensembles for early music also.

Kantors of Kreuzkirche in Dresden (Kreuzkantors)

1. Sebaldus Baumann (1540-1553)
2. Johannes Selner (1553-1560)
3. Andreas Lando (1560-1561)
4. Andreas Petermann (1561-1585)
5. Kaspar Füger (1585-1586)
6. Basilius Köhler (1586-1589)
7. Bartholomäus Petermann (1589-1606)
8. Christoph Lisberger (1606-1612)
9. Samuel Rühling (1612-1615)
10. Christoph Neander (1615-1625)
11. Michael Lohr (1625-1654)
12. Jacob Beutel (1654-1694)
13. Basilius Petritz (1694-1713)
14. Johann Zacharias Grundig (1713-1720)
15. Theodor Christlieb Reinhold (1720-1755)
16. Gottfried August Homilius (1755-1785)
17. Christian Ehregott Weinlig (1785-1813)
18. Gottlob August Krille (August 10-October 24, 1813)
19. Christian Theodor Weinlig (1814-1817)
20. Hermann Uber (1818-1822)
21. Friedrich Wilhelm Aghte (1822-1828)
22. Ernst Julius Otto (1828-1875)
23. Friedrich Oskar Wermann (1876-1906)
34. Otto Richter (1906-1930)
25. Rudolf Mauersberger (1930-1971)
26. Martin Flämig (1971-1991)
27. Gothart Stier (1991-1994)
-. Matthias Jung (acting director: 1994-1996)
28. Roderich Kreile (1997-Present)

Soloists of the Dresdner Kreuzchor

Source: Dresdner Kreuzchor Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (August 2001, June 2012)

Rudolf Mauersberger: Short Biography | Dresdner Kreuzchor | Recordings of Vocal Works | BWV 244 - E. & R. Mauersberger
Table of recordings by BWV Number

Martin Flämig: Short Biography | Dresdner Kreuzchor | Dresdner Philharmonie | Recordings of Vocal Works

Ulrich Schicha: Short Biography | Dresdner Kreuzchor | Recordings of Vocal Works

Gothart Stier: Short Biography | Dresdner Kreuzchor | Recordings of Vocal Works

Roderich Kreile: Short Biography | Dresdner Kreuzchor | Recordings of Vocal Works

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Karl-Dietfried Adam


Movement from BWV 232

Georg Christoph Biller


BWV 147 [1st]

Matthias Jung


BWV 226, BWV 228, BWV 229

Günther Ramin


Movements from BWV 232

Links to other Sites

Dresdner Kreuzchor - Welcome!


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Last update: Monday, May 29, 2017 03:25