Warum toben die Heiden (Psalm 2) divides into several musically differentiated sub-sections. After the imposing opening declaration (verses 1–5) with its characteristic dotted rhythms and highly affective antiphonal writing for the male voices of both choirs, a sense of spiritual calm is beautifully conveyed by the use of solo voices, until the gloriously full tutti at the words ‘Du bist mein Sohn’. The music moves into triple metre (3/2) at verse 9 for a tempestuous ‘Du sollst sie mit’, followed by a withdrawn, awe-inspired ‘So lasset euch nun weisen’. The passage which follows (‘Küsset den Sohn’) finds Mendelssohn’s inspiration running at white heat, culminating in a series of ecstatic harmonic suspensions of surpassing beauty. The brief final Gloria (‘Ehre sei dem Vater’) conceals within its apparent simplicity of utterance, a supremely crafted four-part canon.
from notes by Julian Haylock © 2006
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|St John's College Choir Cambridge, David Hill (conductor)|
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