Mstation Classical Reviews

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Thu, 01 Jun 2006

Mendelssohn Sacred

Sacred Choral Music - Mendelssohn
John Robinson (organ), David Hill (director)
The Choir of St John’s College Cambridge
CD, Hyperion

Mendelssohn was a composer I greatly sympathise with. He lacked determination to get the best from his musical ability, and had a great need for personal intimacy. Here is a great man whose choral writing gives him the opportunity to express his mind and emotions. He was also a composer for all, meaning he wrote music that would be musically rewarding for all involved – very much a sympathetic composer.

The opening of Sacred Choral Music is the ‘Three Sacred Songs’, Op 23. They were written whilst on a trip to Rome in 1830. Unimpressed by the musical talent that lay in Rome, he devoted his mornings to singing, playing and composing after which he would travel the city. All of the music on this album lifts the listener from the stresses of ones surroundings, and wraps you up a “cocoon of enchanted idealism”. A mixture of solo with organ, solo choir, and accompanied choir adds variety to the textures demonstrated by Mendelssohn’s elite compositional skills, and the variety a choir has to be able to portray in a quality performance.

The reputation of the choir of St John’s College Cambridge does seem to go before them. A dramatic, yet gracious effort gives the listener beautiful music, with room for personal imagination. I cannot complain about the interpretation of this music, and encourage all to delve deep into their imaginations whilst listening. This music deserves time in your evening, or your journey to work. It will improve your day, whichever end of it you happen to be! (E Walton)

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