May 25, 2023

A Collection of Felix Mendelssohn’s Choral Music

Pentatone releases Mendelssohn Choral Works, together with The MDR Leipzig Radio Choir and its artistic director Philipp Ahmann, in July 2023.

The Pinnacle of German Nineteenth-Century Religious Music

The MDR Leipzig Radio Choir and its Chief Conductor Philipp Ahmann present a collection of Felix Mendelssohn’s choral music, which arguably represents the pinnacle of German nineteenthcentury religious music. Ranging across psalm settings, motets, Latin verses, the Deutsche Liturgie as well as the ethereal chorus Denn er hat seinen Engeln befohlen über dir, which was later adapted and incorporated into his oratorio Elijah, the album highlights the unique stylistic range and expressive power of Mendelssohn’s choral output.

A unique addition to the programme is the world-premiere recording of Heilig, MWV B 47. The music on this album seamlessly integrates stylistic traits of Palestrina and Bach, remnants of Jewish cantor practices, as well as the Romanticism of Mendelssohn’s time. Generally considered one of the best choirs in the German-speaking world, the singers of the MDR Leipzig Radio Choir are proficient in this repertoire, written by a local musical giant whose music is deeply ingrained into the cultural soil of their city.

The MDR Leipzig Radio Choir and its Chief Conductor Philipp Ahmann return to Pentatone with this a cappella album following their acclaimed recording of motets by Anton Bruckner and Michael Haydn (2021). The choir has also taken part in a Pentatone release of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis (2017), as well as numerous opera recordings released by the label.

Felix Mendelssohn is, for me, the outstanding composer for choral works in the 19th century. His compositions reveal a mastery of making voices sound that can hardly be found in any other composer. Of course, there are already many recordings of his choral works, but most of them feature chamber choirs. Therefore, I hope that we, as a larger choir for which most of the works were originally written, can add another colour to this palette. Last but not least, we are very pleased to be able to add a worldpremiere recording to the many famous works with the short but imposing Heilig, MWV B 47, whose existence has only been known since 2009.

Philipp Ahmann, Chief Conductor, MDR Leipzig Radio Choir

Digital Release Date: 7 JULY 2023

Physical Release: JULY 2023

Released as 1 CD and in digital formats for streaming and high-resolution downloads.