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Home: Choirs and Choral Music: Repertoire and performance:
Mendelssohn's Choral Music
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Oct 11, 2003, 11:06 AM

Post #1 of 4 (92899 views)
Mendelssohn's Choral Music Can't Post

Why is Mendelssohn's choral music so little performed?

I had the good fortune to get to know several of his motets while I was singing with an Italian choir. They are wonderful to sing and lovely to listen to.

Here are some suggestions for works that choirs might like to consider performing:

3 motets opus 69. These are substantial settings of the nunc dimittis jubilate and magnificat,. The motet titles in german are : Op.69 No.1: 'Herr, Nun Lassest Du Deinen Diener In Frieden Fahren', Op.69 No.2: 'Jauchzet Dem Herrn Alle Welt', Op.69 No.3: 'Mein Herz Erhebet Gott, Den Herrn'. The settings are for SATB choir, with some solo sections (optional). The motets have texts in German and English - they work best in German but could also be performed in English.

psalm 100 - Jauchzet Dem Herrn Alle Welt - this is a short standalone setting for SATB choir without opus number. It has a central section for SSAATTBB solists.

3 motets opus 78 : Psalm 2 Op.78 No.1: 'Warum Toben Die Heiden', Psalm 43 Op.78 No.2: 'Richte Mich, Gott', Psalm 22 Op.78 No.3: 'Mein Gott, Warum Hast Du Mich Verlassen?'. The psalm 43 setting is relatively well known, but all 3 motets are well worth performing. Psalm 2 is for double choir with solo sections. Psalm 22 is for the same forces with a prominent tenor solo part.

6 short motets op79 for SSAATTBB.

Missa Breve: Kyrie Eleison/Ehre Sei Gott In Der Hobe/Heilig, Heilig, Heilig

In my opinion all these pieces are best performed by a good chamber choir from which the solo voices can be drawn (most of the solo parts are not particularly exposed or difficult).

All of the motets mentioned above (except op 79) are on a fine disk from the RIAS chamber choir. Click here to get it from Amazon.

All the motets mentioned above are available in Mendelssohn Kirchenmusik Band II published by Peters EP1770b.

A set of 40 copies of this collection is available on the music hire database on this site.



(This post was edited by Tim on Oct 11, 2003, 11:23 AM)


Dec 23, 2003, 2:41 PM

Post #2 of 4 (92800 views)
Re: [Tim] Mendelssohn's Choral Music [In reply to] Can't Post

I have recently sang a few of the works mentioned and enjoyed doing them. If I had known about this forum a couple of weeks ago I could have put a plug for the concert :-).

We sang 2 of the canticles op 69 in German. I would have prefered English but we didnt try that. my understanding is that they were written for the anglican church in english and later translated into German. In a few places I felt the german underlay was a bit forced.
Andrew Black


Dec 23, 2003, 6:55 PM

Post #3 of 4 (92796 views)
Re: [andrewdblack] Mendelssohn's Choral Music [In reply to] Can't Post

Interesting. I found that op69 no 1 (nunc dimittis) worked well in German and didn't quite feel right in English.




Jun 29, 2004, 7:43 AM

Post #4 of 4 (92299 views)
Re: [Tim] Mendelssohn's Choral Music [In reply to] Can't Post

I wouldn't normally think it appropriate to plug commercial recordings on this forum, but must put in a good word for a new boxed set of Mendelssohn's Choral music. The recordings are by the Chamber Choir of Europe conducted by Nicol Matt. Included are all the pieces mentioned above and much more, from pieces Mendelssohn wrote as a young man, to little known pieces he wrote as a mature composer.

It's a 10 Cd set from Brilliant Classics, selling for around £25.

The choir's web site is:



(This post was edited by Tim on Jun 29, 2004, 7:45 AM)


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