Berceuse for Dresden, which I began work on shortly after my first visit to the city last autumn, is based almost entirely on the sounds of the eight bells of the Frauenkirche, their pitches transformed into long melodic lines for the solo cello, while the overtones of the bells give the underlying harmony of the piece. A berceuse is a lullaby or cradle song, but the mood of the work is impassioned as well as lyrical. Once the title had appeared, though, it seemed the only appropriate one, implying rebirth even if there are strong elements of turbulence and lament. The cello part is not designed to be in any way virtuoso or concerto-like, but takes the role almost of a wordless singer.
Berceuse for Dresden is dedicated to the memory of Victor Klemperer, whose remarkable diaries reveal that the destruction of Dresden was, paradoxically, for him a liberation. He had spent the day of February 13 1945 delivering letters to his few remaining fellow Jews in the city which told them that they were to be transported later that week. He and his wife both survived the firestorm, and fled to safety.