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Hyperion Records

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Tyrolean Girl Contemplating a Crucifix (detail) (1865) by Rudolph Friedrich Wasmann (1805-1886)
Hamburger Kunsthalle, Germany / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67558
Recording details: July 2005
St John's College Chapel, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: May 2006
Total duration: 1 minutes 57 seconds

'Outgoing, excitingly resonant, spirited singing' (Gramophone)

'I doubt that you would find a better performance of Mendelssohn's sacred choral music than this. Finely executed with immaculate phrasing sensitively performed, it is clear that David Hill is leading the choir of St John's to even greater heights while it maintains its own highly individual sound. The whole production is worthy of the highest praise' (Choir & Organ)

'This is one special record' (American Record Guide)

'Some lovely—indeed memorable—performances here; including a gorgeous account of Mendelssohn's richly opulent Ave Maria, Op 23 No 2 (Allan Clayton the wonderfully yearning tenor soloist) and a gloriously magisterial Warum toben die Heiden? from Op 78 … Quentin Beer is an impressively clear and pure-voiced treble in that most famous of all treble solos—O, for the wings of a dove … the recording is a triumph. Hyperion has come up with a far more rewarding sound than either Decca or Naxos was ever able to achieve at St John's' (International Record Review)

'The Choir of St John's College, Cambridge, under David Hill, simply outsings all the current competition in sacred music by Mendelssohn' (Fanfare, USA)

Heilig, heilig ist Gott, der Herr Zebaoth, Op posth.
composer
late 1846
author of text
Ordinary of the Mass

Other recordings available for download
Corydon Singers, Matthew Best (conductor)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The posthumously published Three Sacred Pieces were composed towards the end of 1846, concurrent with the Kyrie eleison. Mendelssohn was never physically the most robust of men, and the years of constant travelling, performing, composing and conducting were now taking their toll on his fragile frame—he was to pass away the following year, completely burnt out. His letters of the period are brimful of references to his state of exhaustion, and by the time he came to compose these short choral works, he had already pulled out of the Leipzig Gewandhaus winter concert season, leaving Gade to cover most of his conducting engagements. His work at the Conservatory was meanwhile taken on by his old friend, Ignaz Moscheles. These perfectly conceived miniatures are typical both in terms of their sheer mastery of choral writing and effortless command of musical expression and structure.

The relatively brief Heilig, heilig ist Gott, der Herr Zebaoth is an extrovert call to rejoice. The opening, in particular, is unforgettable in its exemplary harmonic control, the overlapping entries combing to produce a glorious suspension at the antepenultimate exhortation of ‘Heilig’. The dotted rhythms which dominate the remainder of the setting help to create a sense of uncontainable forward momentum towards the joyous final cadence.

from notes by Julian Haylock © 2006


Other albums featuring this work
'Mendelssohn: Choral Music' (CDH55268)
Mendelssohn: Choral Music
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55268  Helios (Hyperion's budget label) — Last few CD copies remaining  

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