Loek Dikker

" it's an incredibly moving score "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the regular release

Rosenstrasse is a 2003 Dutch-German co-production, directed by feminist director Margarethe von Trotta. The film tells the story of the Rosenstrasse demonstrations of 1943 in Berlin, a still fairly unknown part of history; the non-Jewish wives of mixed marriage publicly protested against the deportation of their loved ones.

The music was recorded with the Dutch Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Jaap van Zweden, and features mesmerising solo performances by the violin phone. Aside from the main theme, there are two important themes; one to connect Ruth and her mother Miriam by the use of devastating melodic strings, and the other written for Lena and her husband, which includes hints of a sonata by the Jewish composer César Franck and the violin phone.

The approach the Dutch composer took in writing was based on conversations with the director. Two essential thoughts of hers, as explained in an interview in 2003, were that she wanted honest, minimal music and expressed the crucial role of the emotional tension of memory.

Loek Dikker's music is explicitly subtle, pragmatic in emotion, yet also unafraid in being expressive. The very touching theme of memory forms the red wire; the time lapses between the past and present on film are essential, yet inadequate as a narrative instrument to make the viewer feel entangled. To be clear, this has no effect on the overall musical finesse displayed by the composer. He compliments and intertwines the theme of remembrance with sober shades of love, oppression, the horror of war, pain, and reconciliation. Giving this, Dikker's music abandons this minimal approach and is a bit too direct and unsubtle, but only in the horror of war musical shades, and especially in the 'stranger in our midst' cue The Bombardment.

Loek Dikker regards his score to Rosenstrasse as his greatest musical achievement, to which I agree wholeheartedly; it's an incredibly moving score and displays an orchestral richness like any other work before and after. However, in evaluating how his music works in context, disregarding his intent and the standalone merit, the correlation between the quality of the music and the quality of the film is rather unbalanced. Several works fulfill that more easily; De Vierde Man (The Fourth Man) and his almost 'end credits only' score to the cinéma vérité film Wolfsbergen.

In 2003, a music release was cancelled due to the bankruptcy of a CD label. Now, twenty years later, Caldera records put an incredible amount of effort into releasing the music at last.

01 Main Titles (4:07)
02 The Synagogue (1:58)
03 Lena and Fabian (2:15)
04 Miriam's Ring (3:00)
05 Miriam in the Synagogue (1:54)
06 The Farewell (3:16)
07 Luiz and Hannah (3:26)
08 Hannah's First Visit to Lena (2:46)
09 Klara at Rosenstrasse (1:37)
10 Left Alone After the Razzia (2:14)
11 Lena Sees Fabian (1:29)
12 The Ladies Quarrel (1:02)
13 The Bombardment (4:12)
14 To Shoot or Not to Shoot (1:43)
15 Hannah Returns Home (1:32)
16 The Wedding (0:29)
17 End Credits (3:47)

Total duration: 37:00

(click to rate this score)  
(total of 5 votes - average 4.7/5)

Released by

Caldera records (regular release 2023)