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Mendelssohn: Herr Gott, dich loben wir
     

Mendelssohn: Herr Gott, dich loben wir

by Frieder Bernius
 
Carus-Verlag's excellent Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Herr Gott, dich loben wir makes its bow in 2009, the bicentenary of Mendelssohn's birth. Even a reasonably casual classical music listener might be surprised to learn just how much Mendelssohn they might have gained without really trying, as his symphonic works, the most popular

Overview

Carus-Verlag's excellent Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Herr Gott, dich loben wir makes its bow in 2009, the bicentenary of Mendelssohn's birth. Even a reasonably casual classical music listener might be surprised to learn just how much Mendelssohn they might have gained without really trying, as his symphonic works, the most popular pieces among the "Songs without Words" and even the oratorio "Elijah," are so generally prevalent in Western literature. But things like his choral/orchestral psalm settings, sacred cantatas, and other church music aren't exactly at the top of the Mendelssohn hit parade, even as they are recorded with some frequency. Perhaps some of these things should be, judging from the fine performances they receive under the care of conductor Frieder Bernius, the Kammerchor Stuttgart, and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen in this collection. This Carus-Verlag disc is subtitled "Church Music IX" and corresponds to a series of CDs that also represent volumes in a comprehensive printed edition Carus-Verlag has undertaken of all of Mendelssohn's sacred vocal music, still in progress when this volume appeared. No expense has been spared in preparing these recordings -- among the soloists one may locate the name of Monica Groop, and she sounds splendid here, as does soprano Andrea Lauren Brown -- and the SACD sound as is realistic as the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen is tight in their realization of Mendelssohn's busy orchestral accompaniments. One need not advance very far into the opening of the chorus of Mendelssohn's sacred cantata "Ach Gott, von Himmel sieh darein" to experience the effect of Johann Sebastian Bach's music on Mendelssohn, with its daring chromaticism and faultless distribution of polyphonic parts among voices. What is more remarkable is not just that Mendelssohn was so influenced by Bach, but that he was able to internalize these techniques so well. It is the larger psalm settings (Nos. 95, 98) and cantatas ("Ach Gott, the unique Hymne, Op. 96," and "Herr Gott, dich loben wir") that stand out here; the Hymne contains a principal part for alto and this is where Monica Groop's involvement is particularly noteworthy. There is a scattering of English language material throughout the program, including short, unaccompanied renderings of psalms and the popular Christmas carol "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing." The singing on these selections is transparent and beautiful, but even with some English speakers present, the English itself isn't rendered with much clarity, with too-rounded vowels, soft consonants, and rolled "Rs" abound. However, this will only prove an issue if you are an English singer, and the quality of ensemble is of such a high order that it might not even if you are. However, where Carus-Verlag's Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: Herr Gott, dich loben wir is most likely to make a difference is if you have only a mediocre appreciation of Mendelssohn, then this disc is liable to change that.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/10/2009
Label:
Carus
UPC:
0409350832178
catalogNumber:
83217

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Psalm 95 ("Come Let us Sing"), for tenor, chorus & orchestra in E flat major, Op. 46
  2. Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh' darein, chorale cantata for soloists, chorus & orchestra in A minor
  3. Psalm 5 ("Lord hear the voice"), for chorus
  4. Psalm 31 ("Defend me, Lord"), for chorus
  5. Cantique pour l'Eglise wallonne de Francfort, for 4 voices
  6. Hymn for alto, chorus & orchestra or organ in E flat major, Op. 96
  7. Psalm 2 ("Warum toben die Heiden"), for soloists & double chorus in G minor, Op. 78/1
  8. Psalm Melodies and Harmonizations for chorus (Psalms 2, 24, 31, 91, 93, 98, 100): Psalm 24
  9. Psalm 31 ("Defend me, Lord"), for chorus
  10. Psalm Melodies and Harmonizations for chorus (Psalms 2, 24, 31, 91, 93, 98, 100): Psalm 91
  11. Psalm 98 ("Sing to the Lord"), for soloists, chorus, orchestra & organ in D major, Op. 91
  12. Hark! the Herald Angels Sing (adapted by W. H. Cummings from Mendelssohn's Festgesang for the Gutenberg Festival)
  13. Psalm Melodies and Harmonizations for chorus (Psalms 2, 24, 31, 91, 93, 98, 100): Psalm 93
  14. Psalm Melodies and Harmonizations for chorus (Psalms 2, 24, 31, 91, 93, 98, 100)
  15. Psalm 100 ("Jauchzet dem Herrn, Alle Welt"), for chorus in C major
  16. Herr Gott, dich loben wir, for soloists, double chorus, 4 trombones, strings & organ

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