Review: Nowhere is Mendelssohn's creative psyche more poignantly exposed than in his choral works. His desire to create music rewarding for performers and listeners alike is everywhere apparent, as is his always mellifluous and gracious vocal writing. Most endearing of all are Mendelssohn's worlds of dreamlike contentment, which cocoon the listener in a web of enchanted idealism. Hor mein Bitten (Hear my prayer) is the most popular of his small-scale choral works and was composed during Mendelssohn's eighth visit to England in 1844, just before he began putting the finishing touches to his violin concerto. The piece conjures up the feelings of peace and contentment in the flowing melodic lines of the inimitable O for the wings of a dove, which is also on this disc in its famous English adaptation. All of these sacred works are radiantly performed by The Choir of St John's College, Cambridge under David Hill in the first of a new series of recordings on the Hyperion label.Songlist: Aus Tiefer Not , Ave Maria, Mitten Wir Im Leben Sind, Hor Mein Bitten, Warum Toben Die Harden, Richte Mich Gott, Zum Abendsegen, Kyrie Eleison, Helig Helig Ist Gott Der Herr Zebaoth, Ehre Sei Gott in Der Hohe, Verleih Uns Frieden, O For The Wings
Songlist: Psalm 100: "Jauchzet dem Herrn alle Welt", Psalm 2 op. 78 Nr. 1: "Warum toben die Heiden", Psalm 43 op. 78 Nr. 2: "Richte mich, Gott", Psalm 22 op. 78 Nr. 3: "Mein Gott, warum hast du mich verlassen?", Choralmotette op. 23 Nr. 3: "Mitten wir im Leben sind", Motette op. 69 Nr. 1: "Herr, nun lassest du deinen Diener in Frieden fahren", Motette op. 69 Nr. 2: "Jachzet dem Herm alle Welt", Motette op. 69 Nr. 3: "Mein Herz erhebet Gott, den Herrn", Missa breve, Zum Abendsegen: "Herr, sei gnadig unserm Flehn"
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (b. 1809) received a classical music education during a period of stylistic upheaval at the beginning of the Romantic Era. Influenced by the late works of Beethoven and Schubert, Mendelssohn set out to strike a balance between the burgeoning romanticism and his own, more classically-oriented, outlook. That he succeeded in this is clear in secular works such as the Italian Symphony and the Hebrides overture. Greatly affected by the work of Bach, his purpose in the area of sacred music grew to essentially redefine the function and liturgical role of church music. Here we have 19 examples of Mendelssohn's dynamic, revolutionary sacred music, beginning with the dramatic "Kyrie in d fur gimischten Chor, Soli un Orchester," and then the 18 movements of "Der 42. Psalm "Wie der Hirsch schreit" op. 42." These range from the haunting oboe and soprano solos of "Aria" and "Recitativo/Arie" to the triumphant horns and orchestra of "Schlusschor;" the sweet soprano a cappella strains of "Hebe deine Augen auf fur dreistimmigen Fravenchor" to the Gregorian chant-like "Beati mortui/Seliq sind die Toten, aus: Zwei geistliche Mannerchore op. 115 fur vier Stimmen" and "Zum Abendsegen "Herr, sei gnadig" fur vierstimmigen gemischten Chor." This is beautiful, powerful sacred music, penned by a master composer and sung by one of the finest chamber choirs in the world