The 23rd Annual Summer Festival of Sacred Music presents Mendelssohn's Die Deutsche Liturgie
The Summer Festival of Sacred Music at St. Bart's continues on Sunday, August 6, at 11 am with a service offering the choral music of Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) and recognizing the profound influence his works had on choral music for over a century after his death.
When Mendelssohn composed his Die Deutsche Liturgie (The German Liturgy) in 1846, there was much controversy regarding the style of music appropriate for divine worship. The concerted style of Bach and the more operatic style of Haydn and Mozart were deemed unsuitable and excessive for 19th century liturgies in both Catholic and Protestant churches. A reactionary style resulted, with composers writing works in the ancient 16th century unaccompanied polyphonic style.
When Mendelssohn was appointed Music Director of the Cathedral (Protestant) in Berlin, he received a commission from its patron, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV, to compose a setting of the German liturgy for the choir. What resulted were ten choral works, both responses and extended movements from the Ordinary. Today, we will hear the largest movements from that work -- the Kyrie, Gloria and Sanctus. These works are unaccompanied and written in a manner which prayerfully complements the liturgy, but are products of German Romanticism with lush choral writing in eight parts.
St. Bartholomew's Choir will be conducted by Jason Roberts. "Lift thine eyes," from Mendelssohn's beloved oratorio Elijah, also composed in 1846, will be offered by the women of St. Bartholomew's Choir. The men of St. Bartholomew's Choir will sing Mendelssohn's motet "Periti autem." _____________
The Summer Festival of Sacred Music takes place each Sunday morning at 11 am at St. Bartholomew's Church during the summer months. At a time when most churches reduce their musical offerings, St. Bartholomew's Church provides outstanding sacred music sung by St. Bartholomew's Choir and Boy and Girl Choristers, two of New York City's most renowned choirs. Works include an array of mass settings from the 15th century to the present embracing a diversity of cultures from around the world. The music is sung as part of the Eucharist or Mass, the liturgical context for which it was composed. All Summer Festival events are free and open to the public.
St. Bartholomew's Church is located at the corner of Park Avenue and 51st Street. Subway: 6 to 51st Street. For more information, call (212) 378-0222 or visit stbarts.org/summerfestival/ for the complete Summer Festival schedule.