Mendelssohn – Psalms

An exciting combination of four large psalms with soloists, choir and orchestra, and the famous prayer “Give us Thy blessed peace” by Martin Luther. The Bavarian Radio Chorus and renowned soloists present Mendelssohn’s masterpieces under the direction of Howard Arman in an impressively clear interpretation with finely tuned sound.

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Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy

„Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied“, 98th Psalm for soli, choir and orchestra, op. 91

„Wie der Hirsch schreit“, 42th Psalm for soprano, choir and orchestra, op. 42

„Non nobis Domine“, 115th Psalm for soli, choir and orchestra, op. 31

„Hear My Prayer“, Hymn after the 55th Psalm for soprano, choir and orchestra

“Give us Thy blessed peace”, prayer by Martin Luther, for choir and orchestra

Johanna Winkel soprano
Julian Prégardien tenor
Krešimir Stražanac bass-baritone

Bavarian Radio Chorus
Münchner Rundfunkorchester

Howard Arman

Conductor

CD, BR-KLASSIK 900519
Booklet: in German / in English
Total time: 58’04

 

Hardly any other composer of his epoch was as deeply rooted in the German and European choral traditions as Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. Strongly influenced by the art of Johann Sebastian Bach, which he had encountered in the Berlin Singakademie under his teacher Carl Friedrich Zelter, the young composer wrote a series of eight chorale cantatas, including “Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich” (“Give us Thy blessed peace”, 1831), a short prayer for choir and orchestra set to words by Martin Luther; it uses the text but not the melody of the well-known chorale. Mendelssohn’s five wide-ranging and large-scale psalm settings became even more famous, and three of them can be heard here. The first piece in the group is the multi-part setting of Psalm 115 “Non nobis Domine” (“Not unto us, O Lord”, sung in Latin) for soloists, choir and orchestra, op. 31 (1829/30); it was probably begun during the composer’s first stay in England, and reveals a fascination for the music of Handel. Mendelssohn added his own German text in 1835 for the first performance.

“Wie der Hirsch schreit” (“As pants the hart”), a multi-part, cantata-like setting of Psalm 42 for soprano, choir and orchestra, op. 42 (1837/38), was considered by the composer himself to be the best work of this group. It was also highly praised by Robert Schumann, and remains one of Mendelssohn’s most famous choral works to this day. In 1843/44, for the newly-formed Berlin Cathedral Choir, he wrote a setting of Psalm 98 “Singet dem Herren ein neues Lied” (“Sing to the Lord a new-made song”) for soloists, choir and orchestra, op. 91. In response to requests from London he also composed “Hear my Prayer”, a “hymn” sung in English and based on Psalm 55 for soprano, choir and organ (1844/1847), which he later orchestrated and published with an English and German text. The organ version was premiered in London, and the orchestral one in Dublin. The piece, based on the English ‘verse anthem’ tradition, became one of his most famous sacred works in Victorian England.

This recording of a concert performed on December 17, 2016 in Munich’s Prinzregentheater features the regularly praised Bavarian Radio Chorus, supported by soloists Johanna Winkel, Julian Prégardien and Krešimir Stražanac, together with the Münchner Rundfunkorchester conducted by Howard Arman.

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