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Rudolf Mauersberger (Choral Conductor)

Born: January 26, 1889 - Mauersberg, Germany
Died: February 22, 1971 - Dresden, Germany

The German choral conductor, Rudolf Mauersberger, was the first son of a cantor and teacher in Mauersberg, Erzebirge, his hometown. Having completed his own teacher training, he studied in Leipzig.

In 1919 Rudolf Mauersberger accepted a post as organist and choirmaster in Aachen. In 1925 he took up a post as musical director for the Protestant Church of Thuringia, based in Eisenach. It was in 1931 that he moved to Dresden to take charge of the to boy choristers of the Dresdner Kreuzchor. He served as Cantor of the famous Dresdner Kreuzchor more than 40-year term, until 1971. He influenced the choir as no other before or since. He led it to international acclaim and was responsible for the revival of the choir following the Second World War. His first tour of the USA in 1935 was a resounding success though that which followed three years later was rather overshadowed by the political crisis of the time.

The bombs, which rained down on Dresden on February 13, 1945, destroyed the Kreuzkirche, the school attached to it, the pupils’ boarding accommodation, the library of sheet music and the choir’s archive. After the war was over, Mauersberger lost no time in rebuilding the Dresdner Kreuzchor and premiered his own motet Wir liegt die Stadt so wüst (How desolate is the city) in the burned-out shell of the Kreuzkirche on August 4, 1945.

When his brother Erhard Mauersberger was appointed Thomaskantor in 1961, Rudolf Mauersberger had already been directing Dresdner Kreuzchor for thirty years. The connection led to the series of projects combining the two boys’ choirs. This collaboration climaxed in several performances of the B minor Mass (BWV 232) and the recording of the St Matthew Passion (BWV 244) in 1970, in which the two brothers shared the conducting - Rudolf Mauersberger taking most of the choruses and Erhard Mauersberger the solo movements.

Twenty-fifth in the line of Protestant cantors, Mauersberger was a brilliant teacher who made the Kreuzchor an instrument of singular appeal and also and accomplished composer. Apart from his motets, choruses and choral cycles, the Dresdner Requiem and St. Luke’s Passion for two choirs a capella deserve a special mention.

Source: Dresdner Kreuzchor Website; Liner notes to 5-CD Set Leipzig Classics 001819-2BC (Bach Made in German Vol. III, 1999); Liner notes to the album ‘J.S. Bach: Mass in B minor’ conducted by R. Mauersberger (Berlin Classics, 1996)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (August 2001); Matthias Hansen (Photos 03-07, February 2012)

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

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