Op 30 was composed in 1856, so that despite the misleading opus number it in fact predates both the ‘Ave Maria’ and the setting of Psalm 13. Published in 1864, the first performance was given in St James’s Church, Chemnitz, on 2 July 1865. The textures of this setting are predominantly canonic, with overlapping entries arriving at both the second above and the ninth below. It is the austerity of style which links this piece firmly with the motets, yet the overall mood can be seen as in some ways preparatory for the ‘German Requiem’. The final ‘Amen’, with its glorious, aching suspensions, comes as a poignant emotional release after the comparative reserve of the setting as a whole.
from notes by Julian Haylock © 1991