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DRESDEN. Dresden's development was determined by its rulers. In 1485 what had been a small market town on the River Elbe became the permanent residence of the Albertine Dukes of Saxony. Under Duke George the Bearded (ruled 15001539), an opponent of the Reformation, the city began to expand. On his death in 1539 Dresden became Lutheran. In 1547, at the Battle of Mühlberg, Duke Maurice (ruled 15411553) wrested the title of elector of Saxony from the Ernestine branch of the family. Dresden was now the capital of a large and politically important Lutheran territory. Under Maurice it expanded to include the settlement on the northern bank of the Elbe, the socalled New Town. In 1549 forty-seven trade guilds were recorded with 707 master craftsmen. Maurice's brother Augustus (ruled 15531586) continued his efforts to create an Italianate Renaissance palace and to fortify the city according to the latest Netherlandish and Italian techniques. Augustus also built up important collections of books, scientific instruments, and curiosities. Between 1500 and 1600 the population trebled in size to fifteen thousand.

Dresden's importance as a musical center was confirmed when Heinrich Schütz (15851672) was appointed Kapellmeister to John George I (ruled 16111656) in 1615. During the Thirty Years' War (16181648) Dresden was not occupied but suffered from famine, plague, and economic stagnation. John George II (ruled 16561680) led the city's economic recovery after the war by encouraging trade and manufacture. In 1676 he began to lay out the park known as the Grosser Garten (Great Garden), in which he built a baroque palace (16781683) designed by Johann Georg Starcke (16401695).

His grandson Frederick Augustus I (known as Augustus the Strong, ruled 16941733) succeeded unexpectedly to the electorship in 1694. He was elected king of Poland in 1697 as Augustus II, having converted to Catholicism. This estranged him from his wife and his Saxon subjects and meant that he spent years at a time in Poland. It also led to the Northern War (17001721), which had serious economic consequences. Augustus was a noted patron of the arts, particularly the exquisite goldsmith work by the Dinglinger brothers, Johann Melchior (16641731), Georg Friedrich (16661720), and Georg Christoph (16681746). He also collected Far Eastern porcelain, encouraged the rediscovery of porcelain manufacture by Johann Friedrich Böttger (16821719) and Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus (16511708) and reorganized the Dresden art collections. He built the Taschenberg Palace between 1707 and 1711 to designs by Johann Friedrich Karcher (16501726) and Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann (16621736); the Zwinger (17091732), by Pöppelmann and the sculptor Balthasar Permoser (16511732); the Dutch (later Japanese) Palace (1715), also by Pöppelmann; and the new Opera House inaugurated in 1719 (no longer extant).

Augustus II's only legitimate son, Frederick Augustus II (ruled 17331763), also converted to Catholicism. He was elected king of Poland as Augustus III on his father's death. In 1719 he had married the Catholic Habsburg princess Maria Josepha. As a restatement of their Lutheran allegiance, the people of Dresden funded the building of the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), which seated 3,500 worshippers. Begun in 1726 to a design by George Bähr (16661738), it was completed in 1743. As a counterblast to the Frauenkirche, between 1738 and 1754 Augustus III and Maria Josepha built the Catholic Court Church of the Holy Trinity (by the Italian architect Gaetano Chiaveri [16891770]) in a dominant position in front of the electoral palace. Augustus III greatly augmented the art collection by buying one hundred paintings from the duke of Modena in 1745/1746 and Raphael's Sistine Madonna in 1754. He also had a passion for music. Johann Adolf Hasse (16991783) was his Kapellmeister from 1731 to 1763.

In August 1756 Frederick II, king of Prussia, marched into Saxony and took up residence in Dresden. Augustus and his court fled to Warsaw, and the Seven Years' War began. In 1758 and 1759 whole suburbs were burned down by the Prussians. In September 1760 they bombarded Dresden, destroying five hundred buildings. When the war was over, Saxony had to pay heavy reparations to Prussia. It took sixty years for the city's population of 63,000 to return to what it had been before the war.

See also Augustus II the Strong (Saxony and Poland) ; Frederick II (Prussia) ; Northern Wars ; Prussia ; Saxony ; Schütz, Heinrich ; Seven Years' War (17561763) .


Papke, Eva. Festung Dresden: Aus der Geschichte der Dresdener Stadtbefestigung. Dresden, 1997.

Stimmel, Folke, et al. Stadtlexikon Dresden. Dresden, 1998.

Watanabe-O'Kelly, Helen. Court Culture in Dresden from Renaissance to Baroque. Basingstoke, U.K., 2002.

Helen Watanabe-O'Kelly

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Dresden. City in Germany (Saxony) with long mus. tradition. Its archives mention an organist in 1370 and from about 1420 three wind players were instructed to play on 29 major church fests. At the court mus. first achieved prominence c.1540. In the 18th cent. artistic life at court was on a grand scale and among the court composers and Kapellmeisters of that era were Zelenka, Lotti, Hasse, and J. S. Bach (who held the title 1736–50 but was active only in Leipzig at this period). By the end of the cent. Dresden's reputation for It. opera was high. A German Opera was founded in 1817 with Weber as cond. Weber's ideals were continued 17 years after his death by Wagner, whose own Rienzi was produced in Dresden in 1842, followed by Der fliegende Holländer 1843 and Tannhäuser 1845. The Royal Saxon Opera House, designed by Gottfried Semper, was opened 1841. This was burned down 1869 and his second building was opened 1878. Dresden's most illustrious operatic period dates from the appointment as cond. in 1882 of Ernst von Schuch. He championed Wagner's later operas and those of Richard Strauss whose Feuersnot (1901), Salome (1905), Elektra (1909), and Der Rosenkavalier (1911) had their f.ps. under Schuch. After Schuch the opera was cond. by Fritz Reiner (1914–21), but it was Fritz Busch (1922–33) who revived its glories and continued the Strauss assoc. with f.ps. of Intermezzo (1924) and Die ägyptische Helena (1928). He also cond. new operas by Hindemith (Cardillac, 1926) and Busoni (Doktor Faust, 1925). Driven out by the Nazis, Busch was succeeded by Karl Böhm, although Clemens Krauss cond. the f.p. of Strauss's Arabella in 1933. Under Böhm (1934–42), Strauss's Die schweigsame Frau (1935) and Daphne (1938) were first performed, also Sutermeister's Romeo und Julia (1940). Böhm was succeeded by Karl Elmendorff (1943–4). The opera house was bombed in 1945 and the co. moved into a rebuilt theatre in 1948. In 1977, rebuilding began of the Semper Opera House to a design faithful to the original, and it opened in February 1985 with Der Freischütz. Cond. of Staatskapelle from 1945 to 1950 was Joseph Keilberth. His successors were Rudolf Kempe (1950–3), Franz Konwitschny (1953–5), Lovro von Matačić (1956–8), Otmar Suitner (1960–4), Kurt Sanderling (1964–7), Martin Turnovsky (1967–8), Siegfried Kurz (1971–5), Herbert Blomstedt (1975–85), Hans Vonk (1985–91), and Giuseppe Sinopoli from 1991. Operas given f.ps. in Dresden since 1945 incl. Blacher's Die Flut (1947), and U. Zimmermann's Levins Mühle (1973). The opera dir. from 1973 to 1981 was Harry Kupfer, and Joachim Herz 1985–91.

Orch. mus. in Dresden has been provided by two orchs., the venerable Staatskapelle (which plays for the opera) and the Philharmonic. The Staatskapelle dates its origins to the 16th cent. and has had various guises. One of them, from 1923, was as the Saxon State Orch. cond. by Busch and later by Böhm. The Philharmonic was founded in 1871, though under another name. Its conds. incl. Strauss, Bülow, Nikisch, Mottl, and Edwin Lindner. Its greatest period, which incl. fests. of modern mus., was under Paul van Kempen (1934–42). After 1945 conds. incl. Heinz Bongartz (1947–64), H. Förster (1964–7), Kurt Masur (1967–72), Günther Herbig (1972–7), Herbert Kegel (1977–85), Hans Vonk (1985–91), and Jörg Peter Weigle from 1991.

Other composers beside Wagner to have lived in Dresden were Schumann (1844–50), who cond. the Liedertafel and founded a choir, and Rachmaninov (1906–9).

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DRESDEN , capital of Saxony, Germany. A Jewish community existed there in the early 14th century, and its members were massacred in the *Black Death persecutions of 1349. Jews are not mentioned in Dresden again until 1375. They were expelled in 1430. Jewish settlement was renewed in the early 18th century when the *Court JewsBehrend *Lehmann and Jonas Mayer, with their retainers, were permitted to settle in Dresden. A synagogue and cemetery were opened in the middle of the 18th century. A society for caring for and visiting the sick was established which formed the nucleus for communal organization. During this period the Jews in Dresden were subjected to strict regulations and their rights of residence were limited. Nevertheless there were about 1,000 Jewish residents by the end of the 18th century. Their situation improved in the 19th century. Active in the communal leadership were R. David Landau of Lissa, who settled in Dresden in 1803, and Bernhard *Beer, founder of the "Mendelssohn-Verein" for the advancement for crafts, art, and science among Jewish youth (1829). As communal leader for 30 years, Beer was active in efforts for improvement of the civil status of the Jews in Dresden and the rest of Saxony. A new synagogue was built and consecrated on his initiative in 1840 and Zacharias *Frankel officiated as its first rabbi (1836–54). Frankel succeeded, among other achievements, in obtaining the repeal of the more humiliating portions of the Jewish *oath in 1840. During this period a Jewish elementary school was founded (1836) and complete civil equality attained (1869). Emil Lehmann (d. 1898) followed Beer as leader of Dresden and Saxon Jewry. Frankel was succeeded by the teacher Wolf Landau (1854–86) and the scholar of Midrash Jacob *Winter (1887–1941). The community numbered approximately 2,300 in 1886, 4,300 in 1913, and over 6,000 in 1925.

A number of Jews from East Europe settled there after World War i. A prosperous and well-endowed community, it owned a valuable library and maintained numerous social and charitable organizations. A group of Orthodox Jews seceded and founded the "Shomerei ha-Dat" congregations. In October 1938, 724 Jews of Polish citizenship were deported from Dresden. On Kristallnacht, 151 Jews were arrested and shipped to Buchenwald. The synagogues were burned and the Jewish community was presented with a bill for their demolition. By May 1939, the community had been reduced to 1,600 people as a result of emigration, deportation, and arrests. There were 12 deportations, dispatching 1,300 Jews, between January 1942 and January 1944. The final deportation was scheduled for February 1945. The Allied bombing of Dresden allowed the deportees to escape.

A synagogue seating 200 was opened in 1950. Subsequently the Dresden community declined, numbering 100 in the late 1960s. From 1962 to 1990 Dresden was the seat of the Association of Jewish Communities in the gdr. Owing to the immigration of Jews from the Former Soviet Union, the number of community members rose to 618 in 2005. A new synagogue was inaugurated in 2001. Dresden is the seat of the Association of Jewish Communities in Saxony.


E. Lehmann, Aus alten Acten… (1886); idem, Ein Halbjahrhundert in der israelitischen Religionsgemeinde zu Dresden (1890); mgwj, 1 (1852), 382–5, 421–6; Germ Jud, 2 (1968), 175; Gruen, in: aujw, 9 (1954/55), 3; B. Beer, Geschichtliche Darstellung der 50jaehrigen Wirksamkeit des KrankenunterstuetzungsInstitutes fuer Israeliten zu Dresden (1857). add. bibliography: U. Ullrich, Zur Geschichte der Juden in Dresden (2001); Der alte juedische Friedhof in Dresden (2002).

[Akiva Posner /

Annegret Nippa (2nd ed.)]

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Dresden (drĕz´dən), city (1994 pop. 479,300), capital of Saxony, E central Germany, on the Elbe River. It is an industrial and cultural center, a rail junction, and a large inland port. Manufactures include precision and optical instruments, computers and office machinery, radio and electrical equipment, and electrical transformers. Flowers and shrubs are grown for export. The Dresden china industry began in Dresden but moved to Meissen, 15 mi northwest, in 1710.

Originally a Slavic settlement called Drezdane, Dresden was settled with Germans by the margrave of Meissen in the 13th cent. From 1485 until 1918 it was the residence of the dukes, then the electors, and later the kings, of Saxony. Prussia occupied Dresden in the Second Silesian War (see Austrian Succession, War of the), but withdrew after the Treaty of Dresden (1745). In the Seven Years War, Dresden was again occupied (1756) by the Prussians. In Aug., 1813, Napoleon I defeated the coalition forces near Dresden in his last great victory before his defeat (Oct., 1813) at Leipzig. In the late 17th and 18th cent., particularly under the electors Frederick Augustus I and Frederick Augustus II (Augustus II and Augustus III as kings of Poland), Dresden became a center of the arts and an outstanding showplace of baroque and rococo architecture. In the late 18th and early 19th cent. it was a leading center of the romantic movement, and in the late 19th and early 20th cent. it was a center of German opera. Ranked as one of the world's most beautiful cities before World War II, Dresden was severely damaged by British and U.S. bombing during the war (Feb., 1945). Although deaths from the bombing and firestorm have been estimated at between 35,000 and 135,000 (and sometimes higher), an official German historical investigation reported (2010) that up to 25,000 died.

Among the city's famous landmarks, all damaged in the war, are the city hall, the Zwinger palace and museum, the Semper Opera, the Hofkirche [court chapel], the Kreuzkirche [Holy Cross church], and the Frauenkirche [church of Our Lady], the ruins of which were left unreconstructed for many years as a war memorial. Most of the fabulous art collection, acquired by the court in the 18th and 19th cent., was safely kept through the war outside Dresden, but many art objects were afterward moved to the Soviet Union. The city is the seat of a technical university.

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Dresden ★★½ 2006

In 1945, German nurse Anna Mauth (Woll) discovers an injured British pilot, Robert Newman (Light), hiding in the hospital's cellar. She first helps him believing he's a German deserter, but even after discovering that Robert's an enemy combatant, Anna can't bring herself to betray him since they've fallen in love. But time is not on their side as the Allied bombing of the city of Dresden is about to begin. Made for German TV; English and German with subtitles. 180m/C DVD . GE Heiner Lauterbach, Kai Wiesing-er, Felicitas Woll, John Light, Benjamin Sadler, Ka-tharina Meinecke, Marie Baumer; D: Roland Suso Richter; W: Stefan Kolditz; C: Holly Fink; M: Harald Kloser, Thomas Wanker. TV

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Dresden City on the River Elbe, capital of Saxony state, se Germany. First settled by Germans in the early 13th century. It suffered almost total destruction from Allied bombing during World War II. Dresden china, famous since the 18th century, is in fact manufactured in Meissen. Industries: optical and precision instruments, glass, chemicals. Pop. (1999) 477,700.

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Dresden a city in eastern Germany, the capital of Saxony, on the River Elbe. Famous for its baroque architecture, it was almost totally destroyed by Allied bombing in 1945, and is sometimes referred to as a type of complete destruction of this kind.

Dresden is also associated with porcelain ware with elaborate decoration and delicate colourings, made originally at Dresden and (since 1710) at nearby Meissen.