Mendelssohn: Motets, Psalms

Mendelssohn: Motets, Psalms
Roger Norrington
Catalogue No.

Mendelssohn’s ‘Hear my prayer’ (or, in its English adaptation known as ‘O for the wings of a dove’) is a much loved piece of ‘Victoriana’, made famous by, among others, Master Ernest Lough. Often sung by boy sopranos, it is here performed by Felicity Palmer, traditionally a mezzo, but using the soprano register of her voice here. She is soloist with the Heinrich Schütz Choir and Chorale under Roger Norrington, on an Argo LP which also contains the Sechs Sprüche (Six Aphorisms), a collection of short motets for particular days in the ecclesiastical year was written in 1845, the year in which Mendelssohn resumed directorship of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. The three sublime Psalms, Op. 73 are included (shared between the Heinrich Schütz and King’s College choirs) as is the brief but touching Ave Maria, written in Rome in 1830 and whose publication at the time led The Neue Zeitschrift für Musik to say of it at the time that ‘the music sings so convincingly of the sanctity of Mary that it could lead a non-Catholic to her. ‘If issued as a pop disc, Ave Maria would probably make the top ten’ wrote The Gramophone when this recording was first issued.


1 Hear my prayer: Hymn for soprano, chorus & organ
Felicity Palmer, soprano

2 Sechs Sprüche zum Kirchenjahr, Op. 79
3 Beati Mortui
4 Psalm 22: Mein Gott, warum hast, Op. 78 No. 3
5 Veni, Domine
6 Ave Maria

Heinrich Schütz Choir and Chorale
Gillian Weir, organ
Roger Norrington

7 Psalm 11 Warum toben die Heiden, Op. 78 No. 1
8 Psalm 43: Richte mich, Gott, Op. 78 No. 2

Choir of King’s College, Cambridge
Stephen Cleobury

Recording information

Recording Producers: Michael Bremner (Hear my prayer, Sechs Sprüche, Beati Mortui, Psalm 22, Veni, Domine, Ave Maria); Chris Hazell (Psalms 11 & 43)
Balance Engineers: Stanley Goodall, Peter van Biene (Hear my prayer, Sechs Sprüche, Beati Mortui, Psalm 22, Veni, Domine, Ave Maria); Simon Eadon (Psalms 11 & 43)
Recording Locations: Kingsway Hall, London, United Kingdom, February 1972 (Hear my prayer, Sechs Sprüche, Beati Mortui, Psalm 22, Veni, Domine, Ave Maria); King’s College, Cambridge, United Kingdom, March 1990 (Psalms 11 & 43)


‘The music on this record, admirably sung by the Heinrich Schutz Choir and Chorale, directed by Roger Norrington, is well worth an airing, the more so as only one of the pieces is at all widely known … Felicity Palmer and the choir make the most of the dramatic, almost operatic writing [in Hear my prayer] … Gillian Weir, usually heard as a brilliant recitalist, is an equally sensitive accompanist at the organ … This record will, I think, give immense pleasure to many listeners, who need not be shy of enjoying a bit of Mendelssohn so well performed’ (Norrington) Gramophone

‘Music with healing in its touch, no mere complacency in its beneficence, and a technical mastery that fortifies its gentleness with authority’ (Cleobury) Gramophone