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Track(s) taken from CDA67558

Mitten wir im Leben sind, Op 23 No 3

November 1830; Three Sacred Choruses, Op 23
author of text

St John's College Choir Cambridge, 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: 7 minutes 47 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

Corydon Singers, Matthew Best (conductor)
The Monteverdi Choir, Sir John Eliot Gardiner (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)
The ‘archaic’ austerity and raw emotional power of Mitten wir im Leben sind sets it apart from Mendelssohn’s characteristic vocal idiom. This is derived directly from Samuel Scheidt and Johann Sebastian Bach, whom Mendelssohn considered the greatest of all composers and whose modern reputation he effectively secured with a historic performance of the St Matthew Passion in 1829. Mitten wir is divided into three verses, each concluded by a ‘Kyrie eleison’, and characterized by the textural contrasts achieved by setting plaintive chorales against energized, contrapuntal vivaces. Most memorable of all is the way Mendelssohn resolves the intensity of the opening pair of ‘Kyries’ with the floated closing phrases.

from notes by Julian Haylock © 2006

Son austérité archaïque et sa puissance émotionnelle brute placent Mitten wir im Leben sind à l’écart de l’idiome vocal typiquement mendelssohnien, directement hérité de Samuel Scheidt et de Johann Sebastian Bach, que Mendelssohn tenait pour le plus grand compositeur et dont il assura efficacement la réputation moderne grâce à une exécution historique de la Passion selon saint Matthieu (1829). Mitten wir est divisé en trois strophes, toutes terminées par un «Kyrie eleison» et caractérisées par des contrastes de texture nés de l’opposition entre chorals plaintifs et vivace stimulés, contrapuntiques. Le plus mémorable ici, c’est la manière dont Mendelssohn résout l’intensité des deux «Kyrie» initiaux avec les phrases conclusives flottantes.

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

Durch die „archaische“ Strenge und rohe emotionale Kraft in Mitten wir im Leben sind unterscheidet sich diese Motette von Mendelssohns anderer Vokalmusik. Diese Eigenschaften wurden direkt von Samuel Scheidt und Johann Sebastian Bach übernommen. Letzteren hielt Mendelssohn für den größten Komponisten überhaupt. Mit der historischen Aufführung der Matthäuspassion 1829 sicherte Mendelssohn wirksam die Rezeption Bachs im modernen Zeitalter. Mitten wir im Leben sind ist in drei Verse unterteilt, wobei jeder Vers mit einem „Kyrie eleison“ schließt. Das Stück zeichnet sich durch Kontraste des Stimmsatzes aus, die durch das Setzen einfacher Choralvertonungen gegen energiegeladene kontrapunktische Vivace-Abschnitte entstehen. Am beeindruckendsten ist die Art, mit der Mendelssohn die Intensität des einleitenden „Kyrie“-Paares mit den schwebenden abschließenden Gesten aufgelöst.

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

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