August 02, 2023

‘Mendelssohn Choral Works’ is “Perfect Symbiosis Of Sound And Word”

“It is precisely these nuanced moods, the intuitive understanding of the text, coupled with the highest musical stylistic confidence

Mendelssohn Choral Works, performed by MDR Leipzig Radio Choir and its artistic director Philipp Ahmann, received a supersonic review by Pizzicato.

We do want to talk about the expressiveness of the performance, about the rhetorical strength that Philipp Ahmann and his ensemble display.

Especially in the Protestant liturgy the word has a special meaning. However, the word remains an empty shell if it is not shaped, given its true meaning in the overall textual setting. This is where the MDR Rundfunkchor comes into play, creating a symbiotic unity from word and music, from text and sound.

Philipp Ahmann is able to draw on the full vocal potential of his choristers, using them quasi-soloistically in small ensembles as well as, of course, in the whole ensemble. This does not detract from the sound and thus never from the dramaturgy of the text.

Each work is shaped here musically and in terms of content, is lived and communicated. As an example, the second psalm Warum raben die Heiden (Why do the heathen rage) is mentioned, where the middle of the text is quite robust (… you shall smite them with a scepter of iron…). Philipp Ahmann delivers this passage in a very edgy, agitated manner. The psalm then ends conciliatory (… kiss the Son, that he not be angry…). Accordingly, the text is rendered much more gracefully, radiating confidence.

Guy Engels

You can read the full review HERE.