Nowhere is Mendelssohn’s creative psyche more poignantly exposed than in his choral works. His desire to create music rewarding for performers and listeners alike is everywhere apparent, as is his always mellifluous and gracious vocal writing. Most endearing of all are Mendelssohn’s worlds of dream-like contentment, which cocoon the listener in a web of enchanted idealism.
Hör mein Bitten (Hear my prayer) is the most popular of his small-scale choral works and was composed during Mendelssohn’s eighth visit to England in 1844, just before he began putting the finishing touches to his E minor Violin Concerto. The piece conjures up the feelings of peace and contentment in the flowing melodic lines of the inimitable ‘O for the wings of a dove’, which is also on this disc in its famous English adaptation.
All of these sacred works are radiantly performed by The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge under David Hill in the first of a new series of recordings on the Hyperion label. The treble soloist is the stunning Quintin Beer who recently featured in a BBC Radio 4 documentary about Allegri’s famous Miserere.