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|Quintin Beer (treble), St John's College Choir Cambridge, John Robinson (organ), David Hill (conductor)|
|Anne Dawson (soprano), Corydon Singers, John Scott (organ), Matthew Best (conductor)|
Known throughout the English-speaking world in its Mendelssohn-approved English version, Hör mein Bitten is the most popular of his small-scale choral works. It was composed during Mendelssohn’s eighth visit to England between May and July 1844, just before he began putting the finishing touches to his E minor Violin Concerto. In addition to the usual round of social engagements, Mendelssohn conducted six Philharmonic Society concerts, including celebrated performances of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with Joseph Joachim and the fourth Piano Concerto by Mendelssohn himself. He described his time in England as ‘crazy, absolutely crazy’, and little wonder. He rarely got to bed until half past one in the morning, having spent each day in a feverish whirlwind of musical and social engagements, and later reckoned that he’d got through more music during his two months in London than he did the rest of the year put together.
Hör mein Bitten shows none of the sense of fatigue that afflicted Mendelssohn throughout his visit. On the contrary he seems to have taken the opportunity to conjure up the feelings of peace and contentment in the opening section that he so desperately sought in his personal life. As the choir joins the soprano (or treble) soloist, the music moves into 3/8 (E minor) and becomes considerably more agitated. After a brief and dramatic recitative, the contented final section resolves any tension in the flowing melodic lines of the inimitable ‘O for the wings, for the wings of a dove’.
from notes by Julian Haylock © 2006
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