Herr, sei gnädig: Felix Mendelssohn
Ave, maris stella: Edvard Grieg
These two sacred works are published back-to-back in this moderately priced score. “Herr; sei gnädig” (Lord, Have Mercy upon Us) is a plaintive work written in fugal style. The subject uses a poignant appoggiatura and a singular leap of a fifth to provide a distinctive sense of pleading. The addition of an ascending chromatic countermelody heightens this effect. While the vocal ranges are very comfortable, frequent chromaticisms and dissonances make this brief work challenging.
In contrast to the horizontal focus of Mendelssohn's fugue, Grieg's setting of the familiar Latin text “Ave, maris stella” is largely homophonic. Seventh chords provide the primary vocabulary for two stunning harmonic progressions: the first featuring third relations and the second presenting a textbook tour through the circle of fifths. The music is repeated strophically for the second verse, before giving war to a simple “amen”. A broad range of dynamics provides the final romantic touch to this very lovely work. This edition also includes four German verses at the end of the score. While English translations and piano reductions are not included, this publication featuring two highquality works is very worthy of consideration.
Don P. Ester
Quelle: Choral Journal Feb. 1995, S. 56