The 11-minute piece was commissioned to mark the reopening of the cathedral, originally completed in 1738 and destroyed in the Allied bombing of Dresden in February 1945.
The piece is based on the sound of the Frauenkirche's bells, and makes use of a recording of the bells. In addition, the pitches of the bells, Matthews writes in notes for the Philharmonic's upcoming performance of the piece in New York, are "transformed into long melodic lines for the solo cello, while the overtones of the bells give the underlying harmony of the piece.
"A berceuse," Matthews added, "is a lullaby or cradle song, but the mood of this 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."
Tonight's program also includes Weber's Euryanthe, Schumann's Cello Concerto, and Strauss's Death and Transfiguration.
The Philharmonic gives two more concerts at the Frauenkirche tomorrow and on November 19, and completes its European tour in Munich on November 20.