Monday, July 19, 2010

English Anthems: Mendelssohn?

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809-1847) may have been born to a Jewish family in Germany, but the English embraced his music and he has provided English-speaking people with a number of anthems.

Here is Mendelssohn's "Hear My Prayer."  This is one anthem, but due to it's length, it is featured in two parts.  Most English anthems are sung a capella by a choir.  Here Mendelssohn adds accompaniment, a solo part and a few chromatic twists found in the latter part of the "Classical Period."

Hear my prayer, O God, incline Thine ear!
Thyself from my petition do not hide.
Take heed to me!
Hear how in prayer I mourn to Thee!
Without Thee all is dark;
I have no guide.
The enemy shouteth;
The godless come fast;
Iniquity, hatred upon me they cast!
The wicked oppress me,
Ah, where shall I fly?
Perplex'd and bewilder'd,
O God, hear my cry!
O God, hear my cry!
The enemy shouteth;
The godless come fast;
Perplex'd and bewilder'd,
O God, hear my cry!
O God, hear my cry!
My heart is sorely pained within my breast,
My soul with deathly terror is oppressed,
Trembling and fearfulness upon me fall
With horror overwhelmed,
Lord, hear me call!
Lord, Hear me call!


O for the wings of a dove;
Far away would I rove!
In the wilderness build me a nest
And remain their forever at rest.

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