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Track(s) taken from CDA67558

Ave Maria, Op 23 No 2

November 1830; Three Sacred Pieces, Op 23
author of text
Antiphon for the Blessed Virgin Mary

Allan Clayton (tenor), St John's College Choir Cambridge, John Robinson (organ), David Hill (conductor)
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: 6 minutes 29 seconds

Cover artwork: Tyrolean Girl Contemplating a Crucifix (detail) (1865) by Rudolph Friedrich Wasmann (1805-1886)
Hamburger Kunsthalle, Germany / Bridgeman Art Library, London

Other recordings available for download

Rogers Covey-Crump (tenor), Christine Barratt (soprano), Janey Mackenzie (soprano), Joya Logan (alto), Jenny Youde (alto), Robin Mace (tenor), Julian Walker (bass), Kenneth Roles (bass), Corydon Singers, John Scott (organ), English Chamber Orchestra, Matthew Best (conductor)
Westminster Cathedral Choir, Andrew Carwood (tenor), Iain Simcock (organ), James O'Donnell (conductor)


'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)
Although Mendelssohn was a devout Protestant all his life, his setting of the Latin Ave Maria can be numbered among his most radiantly beautiful creations. Cast in three parts, the devotional simplicity of the outer sections (which share the same basic musical material) contrasts tellingly with the floated contrapuntal textures of the ‘Sancta Maria’. The tenor solo’s opening phrase is recalled, incidentally, in the final coda of the ‘Scottish’ Symphony. Heinrich Dorn wrote enthusiastically in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik: ‘The music speaks so convincingly of Mary’s sanctity that it could lead a non-Catholic to her. This sacredly joyous A major ensemble resembles a golden platter upon which the master has laid down this pure hymn. Here we find the tenderest tonal colours of edification, worship and religious thought directed towards Heaven and reflected in the eye.’

from notes by Julian Haylock © 2006

Quoique Mendelssohn fût, toute sa vie durant, un pieux protestant, sa mise en musique de l’Ave Maria latin est l’une de ses créations les plus radieusement belles. Coulé en trois parties, il voit s’établir un contraste éloquent entre la simplicité dévotionnelle de ses sections extrêmes (qui partagent le même matériau musical de base) et les textures contrapuntiques flottantes de son «Sancta Maria». Signalons que la phrase initiale du ténor solo est rappelée dans la coda finale de la Symphonie «Écossaise». Enthousiaste, Heinrich Dorn écrivit dans la Neue Zeitschrift für Musik: «La musique dit avec une telle conviction la sainteté de Marie qu’elle pourrait amener vers la Vierge un non-catholique. Cet ensemble en la majeur, d’une joie sacrale, est comme un plateau en or sur lequel le maître aurait déposé cette hymne pure. Nous découvrons là les plus tendres couleurs tonales de l’édification, du culte et de la pensée religieuse tournées vers le Ciel et reflétées dans le regard.»

extrait des notes rédigées par Julian Haylock © 2006
Français: Hypérion

Mendelssohn war sein Leben lang ein frommer Protestant, was ihn nicht vor einer Vertonung des lateinischen Ave Maria abschreckte. Sie zählt zu den strahlend schönsten Schöpfungen des Komponisten und ist in drei Abschnitte unterteilt. Die andächtige Einfachheit der Außenabschnitte (die das gleiche Grundmaterial haben) setzt sich beredt von den schwebenden kontrapunktischen Texturen des „Sancta Maria“ ab. Die einleitende Tenorsolopassage wird übrigens in der letzten Koda der „Schottischen“ Sinfonie wieder aufgenommen. Heinrich Dorn schrieb in der Neuen Zeitschrift für Musik voller Begeisterung: „Die Musik kommt durchaus aus dem Gemüte und singt so klar von Marias Heiligkeit, daß sie einen Nichtkatholiken zu ihr führen könnte. Das heilig frohe A-Dur scheint gleichsam die Goldplatte, auf welcher der Meister sein reines Kirchenlied niederlegte. Hier finden wir die zartesten Tonfarben der Erhebung, der Andacht, der Religion; himmelwärts gerichtete Gedanken, die sich im Auge abspiegeln.“

aus dem Begleittext von Julian Haylock © 2006
Deutsch: Elke Hockings

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