Motets for Christmas • German Mass op. 89
SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart
Tr. 1 Arnold Mendelssohn: Deutsche Messe op. 89
Tr. 7 Arnold Mendelssohn: Träufelt ihr Himmel von oben No. 5 op. 90
Tr. 13 Arnold Mendelssohn: Lobt Gott, ihr Christen op. 90 No. 9
Tr. 18 Arnold Mendelssohn: Siehe! Finsternis decket das Erdreich op. 90 No. 10
Today, the name of Arnold Mendelssohn scarcely ranks as a footnote in most musical textbooks, despite his seminal role in the revival of German church music as well as having taught composers such as Paul Hindemith and Guenther Raphael. Mendelssohn was born in Silesia in 1855. Following studies in law at Tübingen, he entered the Institute für Kirchenmusik in Berlin. Upon graduation, he would assume a number of increasingly prestigious positions, finally arriving in Darmstadt where he taught at the conservatory there and later at the Frankfurt am Main Conservatory.
So what does Arnold MendelssohnÕs music sound like? Just as his famous cousin led the rediscovery of Bach's music, Arnold found inspiration in the works of the early masters, most notably Heinrich Schütz, Claudio Monteverdi and Hans Leo Hassler. This love of polyphony, combined with his characteristic warm, late Romantic harmonic language imbues Mendelssohn's scores with a sense of otherworldly timelessness. Tragically, Mendelssohn's music was banned by the Nazis and later fell into utter neglect after the war.
One cannot imagine a more ideal choir than the SWR Vokalensemble to restore these exquisite scores to their rightful place in the choral repertoire.