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The All is NOT Right with the Reconstruction of the Frauenkirche in Dresden!!!!!! Pages at the Teri Noel Towe Home Pages

Page 1


DISCLAIMER

Communications that I have received recently from certain parties in Dresden who, to put it politely, are antagonistic to my position and the sentiments that I have expressed here at The All is NOT Right wth the Reconstruction of the Frauenkirche in Dresden!!!!!! Pages have insinuated that I am a "front" for Christoph Wolff and Günter Blobel and that it is they, not I, who determine the contents of this Protest Page.

These antagonists do not know me very well, do they? Me a "mouthpiece" for someone else?

Hippopotami will sooner sprout wings and fly!

Günter has been a particularly close friend for more than twenty years, and Christoph has been a treasured friend and generous, thoughtful colleague for almost that long, but neither one of them has had anything to do with either the decision to construct this page or the wording of the sentiments expressed on this page.

Christoph and Günter know me well, and they will gladly confirm to anyone who asks that I am a maverick and a "loose cannon" whose independence they cannot restrict and whose actions they cannot control.

Although I would happily alter, or even completely remove, this page at their request, if Christoph and Günter notified me that they had decided that such alteration or removal would benefit the campaign to assure that a replica of the 1736 Gottfried Silbermann organ is installed in the Frauenkirche in Dresden, I am not their puppet or straw man, and any allegation that such is the case is a vile canard and defames both them and me!

Teri Noel Towe
March 27, 2002


Please be patient! Images may take several minutes to download!  

This page was created several years ago simply as:

Rebuilding the Frauenkirche in Dresden

Loading 105K - Frauenkirche in Dresden, by Bellotto  

Now, alas, I am compelled to rename this page as

All is NOT Right with the Reconstruction of the Frauenkirche in Dresden!!!!!!!! 


The Latest Development!
The Open Letter of Protest from
Günter Blobel and Christoph Wolff!

Please click on frkgsolk.jpg  Loading 47452 bytes to read the original German text of the open letter of protest against the construction of the 70 stop neo-romantic organ, derisively but appropriately nicknamed the Güttler Abomination, from Dr. Günter Blobel, the 1999 Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Prof. Christoph Wolff, the world's pre-eminent authority on the life and music of Johann Sebastian Bach, the author of the magnificent new biography, Johann Sebastian Bach, The Learned Musician, and the Director of the Bach Archiv in Leipzig, a letter endorsed and countersigned by some of the most eminent early music performers and scholars in the world today.

I hope to have an authorized English translation "on line" within a few days.

T.N.T.


This Page devoted to the reconstruction of the Frauenkirche in Dresden still opens with the original brochure that was sent out by Friends of Dresden, when this laudible project began, but, alas, all is NOT right in Dresden!

The accuracy of the reconstruction of this magnificent architectural masterpiece is now being compromised, and, if we do not act, if we do not sound the alarm, if we do not make our voices heard, the perpetrators of a ghastly act of musico-historical vandalism will get away with it!

Please read this eloquent brochure as a reminder of what this project set out to be and set out to accomplish, and then scroll down to the bottom of the page for the BAD NEWS!!!

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The ruins of the Frauenkirche, 1945
   

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Gottfried Silbermann Organ (1732-1736) Frauenkirche, Dresden (destroyed, 1945)

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Altar, Frauenkiche, Dresden (destroyed, 1945)  

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The Frauenkirche, Dresden, ca. 1930  

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The Frauenkirche Time Line
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At the top of the page, I wrote that all is NOT right in Dresden. After all of the effort to assure that the reconstruction of this magnificent building, an effort made possible not only by an international, communal effort, one that has secured contributions from an overwhelming majority of the countries on the planet, an effort spurred on by the generous gift by Dr. Günter Blobel of the financial award that he received in 1999 when he won the Nobel Prize for Medicine, an effort the accuracy of which is made possible by the fortuitous existence and survival of scrupulous, "to scale", detailed architectural drawings of the building and its interior that were made at the time of its restoration before World War II, the accuracy of that reconstruction is now being compromised, no, besmirched and sullied in a way that is insulting to this architectural masterpiece, insulting to its original architect Georg Bähr, insulting to Johann Sebastian Bach and his admirers the world over, insulting to Gottfried Silbermann - one of the greatest organ builders of all time - and his admirers, and an affront to every contributor of money and gifts in kind to the reconstruction initiative.

The powers that be in Dresden have decided that the "new" organ in the Frauenkirche will NOT be a scrupulous reconstruction of the magnificent instrument that Gottfried Silbermann built for the Frauenkirche between 1732 and 1736. The Frauenkirche, therefore, will NOT be a building in which it will be possible to recreate the sound and sensation of the famous organ recital that Bach gave there on December 2, 1736, to formally "open" this legendary instrument! This tragedy MUST be prevented!

WE MUST TAKE ACTION AT ONCE,
BEFORE THE DECISION IS IRREVOCABLE!!!!

Instead of a carefully constructed replica of the magnificnet three manual and pedal, 45 stop organ that Gottfried Silbermann built for the church over a four year period, beginning in 1732, an instrument that I am told can be duplicated accurately and exactly because we have all of the scales for the pipework, the church is to be "grafittoed" with a 70 stop, "contemporary" organ, which will be deceptively described as "in the spirit of Gottfried Silbermann".

What kind of spirit?

Tank car wine?

Turpentine?

Peach schnapps?

Bathtub gin?

Spirit of Ipecac?

The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?

And who is the malefactor responsible for conceiving this musico-historical travesty, who is the iconoclast who will be reviled by posterity as the perpetrator of this abomination, if we allow it to take place?

Sad to say, it is none other than Ludwig Güttler!!!

Yes, Ludwig Güttler!!! The very man to whom the world is indebted for having done so much to publicize this project in the first place! Because his name, as a trumpet virtuoso, was so well known, he did much to "jumpstart" and provide invaluable assistance in realizing the seemingly impossible goal that Pfarrer Hoch, the retired rector of the Auferstehungskirche in Plauen, and a small group of sympathetic Dresden citizens who had cherished the dream of replicating the Frauenkirche since the nightmare of its destruction in 1945, and resurrecting it from the rubble as if it had come through wars and tribulation unscathed.

His behavior is utterly incomprehensible, until one remembers that Ludwig Güttler, the Maurice André of his generation, has built a successful career on musicological compromise, all the while trying to cover up the compromise with "documentation" and "reserarch" that purportedly supports the compromise.

Güttler is the eminence grise who inflicted that appalling pseudo-authentic "non-instrument", the corno da caccia, a bogus concept if there ever was one, on the innocent and unsuspecting Baroque music loving public. If you have ever had, as I have had, the misfortune to squirm through a peformance of the "Quoniam tu solus sanctus" from the Bach Mass in B Minor, BWV 232, with the horn part played on this squalling and indescribably ugly "lust child" of a French horn and a "piccolo trumpet", you know exactly what I mean.

Bach surely would have thrown his wig in fury at this miscreant!

What are Philip Sidney's words?

"If with one thou wilt whore, thou wilt with a thousand more.
Ice once cracked, it cracks the more."

Fair is fair, and, while many of the recordings that Ludwig Güttler has made with his modern instrument ensemble, Virtuosi Saxoniae, are rife with precisely the kind of oleaginous and murky performances that make the HIP-ocrites (To learn who the HIP-ocrites are, and what they are all about, please visit The HIP-ocrisy Home Page.) turn beet red with ire and "go postal", Güttler, a trumpet virtuoso of the highest order, has recorded, and therefore promoted and publicized, some fine, interesting, and shamefully neglected musical masterpieces, including, among other things, the wonderful Johann Adolf Hasse Missa in G Minor.

But, alas, in this alarming situation, that avails Güttler naught, and certainly provides neither justification nor excuse for the act of musico-historical vandalism that he is hellbent and determine to see committed!

If he can inflict the the corno da caccia, upon us, this proponent of "faux Baroque", surely has no qualms about going the extra kilometer to try to besmirch the rebuilt Frauenkirche with an anachronistic, totally inappropriate, "non-Silbermann" organ. If this apostate gets away with the act of vandalism that he is railroading through as I write these words, the world will be saddled with a "Goddamned kist of whistles", to borrow Sir Christopher Wren's superb epithet, that will be the source of both disappointment and revilement!

And, it makes no sense whatever to do anything other than provide the Frauenkirche with a replica of the Gottfried Silbermann that was the raison d'être for the anecdote about Bach's dedicatory recital that is the only reason that many had ever heard of the Frauenkirche, much less cared about its reconstruction.

Please forgive the conversational grammar and syntax that follows:

You mean to tell me that you are going scrupulously reconstruct this building, a "holy place" for all who revere Bach, and you are not going to install in the replica of the original organ case an exact replica of the Gottfried Silbermann organ on which he gave one of the two or three most famous recitals of his career?

Are you nuts?

Have you gone around the bend?

Are you playing with a full deck?

In case it has not occurred to you, for some of us a compelling reason, if not the compelling reason, to support the campaign to reconstruct the Frauenkirche was, is, and will always be that it would contain a replica of the Gottfried Silbermann organ on which Bach gave that legendary recital on December 2, 1736.

Furthermore, there are several ironies in all of this:

A scrupulous replica of the 1736 Silbermann would certainly cost no more than the unauthentic abomination that it now appears inevitably is to be installed, and an authentic replica certainly would be less expensive to maintain. Tracker mechanisms are significantly less likely to cause problems than electric or other actions, and that certainly is the case with the newfangled "spielhilfen"!

Had any significant portion of the original instrument survived WW2, it would have been meticulously returned to its authentic 1736 state, like the Trost organ in Altenburg, for instance, has been.

Before WW2, a call for a scrupulous restoration of the organ was made by no less an authority than Günter Ramin, who was extremely unhappy about the state of the instrument after its last "renovation", the one of which the sound is documented in those thrilling recordings by Hanns-Ander Donath that have been used, and used frequently, to promote the reconstruction project.

You can be certain that, within 50 years of its completion, the "Güttlerian Compromise" abomination will be removed and a scrupulous replica installed. It will be not unlike what has happened recently in the Thomaskirche in Leipzig.

And don't let anyone tell you that it is too late for the powers that be to back out of the contract. I am sure that there are plenty of other large churches which are not historical restorations that would gladly take over the instrument.

From the beginning, this project, at least as I understood the goal, was billed as a scrupulously accurate reconstruction, right down to the Silbermann. Things certainly have changed, haven't they?

For me, the project is like a pregnancy, in the sense that it is "all or nothing". There is no such thing as being a "teeny tiny bit" authentic. This is not a game of horseshoes in which "almosts" count!

Let us all let Ludwig Güttler know how we feel. He has his own website - www.Guettler.com. Please pay that site a visit! Please find the icon that says "Kontakt", and give him a piece of your mindl! And, please, do not mince words! Tell him bluntly and loudly that those of us who revere the architectural invention of Georg Bähr, the organ-building genius of Gottfried Silbermann, and the genius of Johann Sebastian Bach protest and oppose the very idea of defacing the Frauenkirche with the 70 stop Güttler Abomination.

This desecration of the Frauenkirche, this betrayal of the goals of this magnificent reconstruction, this insult to Georg Bähr, to Gottfried Silbermann, and to Johann Sebastian Bach MUST BE STOPPED!

And please don't limit the expression of your outrage to writing to Maestro Güttler.

Let your feelings be known to the powers that be at the official and semi-official Frauenkirche websites. Visit the Links Page at Freunde der Dresdner Frauenkirche in München. There you will find links to all of the important official and related sites. Click on those links, find the e-mail icon at the website in question, catapult your salvo of protest, and ignite your firestorm of disgust!

Let me give you just a couple of examples.

Let the politicos and bureaucrats at the Landeshauptstadt Dresden know just how you feel about it.

Besiege the local and national newspapers, beginning with the Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten, with letters of protest.

If you are in the U. K., write to The Dresden Trust and give them a piece of your mind.

If you are in the United States, write to The American Friends of Dresden (whose website URL is down at the moment, which is why there is no hot link!), and let its founder and guiding spirit, my treasured friend of more than two decades, Dr. Günter Blobel, the 1999 Nobel Laureate in Medicine, know precisely how you feel.

God bless Günter Blobel!

Günter gave the entire cash award that he received with the Nobel Prize to advance the reconstruction of the City of Dresden, the bombing of which he witnessed as a teenager.

At this point in the most recent previous version of this page, I wrote:

Galvanize Günter Blobel yet again. Persuade him to gird for battle yet again and prevent yet another watering down of the ideal of restoring Dresden completely and accurately to its High Baroque glory!

"Money talks; everybody walks", or so the saying goes, and the magnitude of Günter's contributions, financial, emotional, spiritual, and physical, give him a clout that no one else has.

Please let Günter know that he MUST let Ludwig Güttler and his fellow advocates of an unacceptable and anachornistic compromise know, and know in no uncertain terms, that he will not have his dream polluted, his extraordinary, symbolic, profoundly moving, and deeply appreciated gift to Dresden and the world sullied, and the Frauenkirche desecrated, by such an outrageous and unforgivable act of musical, historical, and organological vandalism.

Now, on September 4, 2001, I am delighted to be able to report "officially" that my dear and treasured friend Günter has been galvanized, that he has been galvanized for several weeks, and that he has been galvanized in spades, as the saying goes!

And, I am equally delighted to report that Günter has enlisted the invaluable and enthusiastic aid of Christoph Wolff, the world's pre-eminent authority on the life and music of Johann Sebastian Bach, the author of the magnificent new biography, Johann Sebastian Bach, The Learned Musician, and the Director of the Bach Archiv in Leipzig. Together they have authored an open letter decrying the Güttler Abomination and forcefully stating the reasons why the 1736 Silbermann organ must be scrupulously replicated in the reconstructed Frauenkirche.

So far, the open letter, which was published in Dresden just a couple of days ago, is available only in German, but we hope to have an authorized English translation "on line" within a few days.

Please click on frkgsolk.jpg  Loading 47452 bytes to read the original German text of Günter and Christoph's letter, which, as you will discover, bears the endorsement of a number of other internationally renowned artists and music historians, inlcuding Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Gustav Leonhardt, Wolfgang Rübsam, Masaaki Suzuki, and Harald Vogel.

And please continue to make your individual voices heard, too, in every way that you can. Continue the barrage of e-mail and snail mail protest!

Remind Güttler that no matter how much his public visibility may have helped the project to grow and to succeed, his bogus brand of "pseudo musicology" and his "faux Baroque" stops with his own recordings and that it stops at the doors of the concert halls in which he and his Virtuosi Saxoniae perform. No matter how enjoyable the performances may be, they still represent a musicological compromise that has little foundation in historical fact and that sometimes represent a distortion of the historical fact.

The Güttlerian Compromise is one thing when an individual pays a few dollars for a ticket or a CD, particularly if that investment proves to be enjoyable, but when the Güttlerian Compromise costs millions and affects the hopes and enjoyment of millions and over a period, potentially, of decades and perhaps centuries, it becomes something quite different.

Ludwig Güttler's musicological hypocrisies and deceptions are not welcome within the Frauenkirche or anywhere else in the reconstruction of historic Dresden, for that matter.

This desecration of the Frauenkirche, this betrayal of the goals of this magnificent reconstruction, this insult to Georg Bähr, to Gottfried Silbermann, and to Johann Sebastian Bach MUST BE STOPPED!

Let us not rest until a replica of the 1736 Gottfried Silbermann organ on which Johann Sebastian Bach thrilled his audiences fills the rich acoustics of the Frauenkirche with its charismatic Silberklang!

Loading 97K - Gottfried Silbermann organ (1736) - Frauenkirche, Dresden (destroyed 1945)
Gottfried Silbermann Organ (1732-1736) Frauenkirche, Dresden (destroyed, 1945)

Special thanks to the indefatigable Dr. Rob Kruit for tipping me off to this outrageus prospect. And, by all means visit his remarkable page on the Frauenkirche. It is a masterpiece that must be seen to be believed! And, at his page, you will find links to all of the gory details about the outrage that we are so in danger of having perpetrated!

Please visit http://frauenkirche-silbermann.de/html/start.htm for a complete dossier on this on-going nightmare. It may be "auf Deutsch", but you'll figure it out! Many thanks to Ibo Ortgies for having called this site to my attention.

Teri Noel Towe
Revised, September 4, 2001, and touched up a bit on March 27, 2002


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