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Frohlocket, ihr Volker auf Erden

By Felix Bartholdy Mendelssohn

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SSAATTBB choir a cappella (SSAATTBB choir)
Composed by Felix Bartholdy Mendelssohn (1809-1847). Edited by Lawrence Kaptein. Octavo. Alliance Music Publications #AMP 0504. Published by Alliance Music Publications (AN.AMP-0504).

Item Number: AN.AMP-0504



Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) was one of the major compositional figures in nineteenth-century Germany. While perhaps best known for his large-scale symphonic and choral-orchestral works, Mendelssohn also produced a significant number of small-scale sacred and secular works for unaccompanied voices. While several of the more popular choruses fromElijah, as well as a small number of part-songs, receive regular performances by American choruses, the majority of Mendelssohn's motets are seldom heard. The fact that the texts for these works are rooted in the Protestant church calendar (and have German texts) has undoubtedly contributed to their neglect. Many of these motets can in fact be effectively programmed as excellent concert pieces. Frohlocket, ihr Vylker auf Erden,o for example, was originally intended for liturgical use during the Christmas season. Its relative brevity, exuberance, lyricism, and rich (and uncomplicated) harmonic style make it an ideal opening selection for many secular choral settings.

Mendelssohn's lifelong interest in the music of J.S. Bach contributed to an important revival of Bach's music throughout nineteenth-and twentieth-century Germany. It could be argued that Bach's own motets provided Mendelssohn with important compositional models. Voicing andtexture are just two facets of style that are effectively exploited in the motets of bothcomposers.

In 1843, Mendelssohn was appointed choirmaster at the Berlin Cathedral. Despite his Jewish heritage (Mendelssohn's grandfather, Moses Mendelssohn, was an important eighteenth-century Jewish-German philosopher; Mendelssohn's father, Abraham, later converted to Christianity andchanged the family name to Mendelssohn-Bartholdy), Felix Mendelssohn had no apparent philosophical difficulty setting Christian texts. Frohlocket, ihr Volker auf Erden was composed sometime between 1844 and 1845 while Mendelssohn was working at the Berlin Cathedral.

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