Robert L. Edwards, Conductor, Consultant, Photographer

Felix Mendelssohn “Sechs  Sprüche” and “Heilig”

Mendelssohn young portrait
It was the Jewish-born Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, grandson of the great Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, known in his time as the "Socrates of Europe," who, in 1827, at the age of 18, was responsible for breathing life into the dusty, mothballed pages of the greatest musical work of Protestantism, Bach's St. Matthew Passion – which had not been heard in the 100 years since its creation and first performance. If he had done nothing else, Mendelssohn would be revered for discovering and disseminating this work. But of course that was not all Mendelssohn offered to the world. Conductor of the famed, historic Gewandhaus, organist, composer, he is best remembered for his symphonies and violin concerto.

Mendelssohn excerpts “Sechs Sprüche” and “Heilig”
 - Live Performance
- Greater Hazleton Oratorio Society
Robert L. Edwards
- 1978

The first piece in the set of 8-part harmony (double the common 4-part harmony) a capella motets (sacred songs) in Op. 79 (1844) “Sechs Sprüche” is Weihnachten - Christmas:

    Rejoice, ye people of the earth, and praise God!
    The redeemer is come, whom the Lord has promised.
    He has revealed his justice to the world.

Mendelssohn’s choral writing is here at its most fluid, moving easily between mastery of intertwining polyphonic lines and hymn-like writing.

Two years later, Mendelssohn intended to produce a sequence of liturgical movements for use by the choir of the Domkirche in Berlin. He completed only three, of which “Heilig” (Sanctus) is the better known.

In order to provide permanent documentation of the important sociological and musical contributions of the Greater Hazleton Oratorio Society, Singers’ Guild of Scranton and Sinfonia da Camera to the lives of residents in Northeastern Pennsylvania, some of the 1977-1986 live performance analog recordings of these community groups were rescued, restored, and converted to a digital format. Those restorations and the performance excerpts that appear on this website are intended as historical documents not as an entertainment product. The copying or dissemination of these excerpts is strictly prohibited.

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