The responsorial and the hymn opera 121 by Mendelssohn date back to 1833 but they were published only posthumously. The composition, for three or four male voices, needs a continuous bass sustained by the cello. Similarly to Bach’s cantata – chorals, Mendelssohn first develops the three choir parts, like a fuga. Follows a prayer enriched by the technique used by the Italian Maestri of the XVII Century. The responsorial text, sang by a bass voice, brings to the final hymn harmonized following the rules of the Protestant’s choral.
Motto with four male voices composed in 1833, it expresses the feeling of the serene contemplation of death: the text is taken from John’s Apocalypse: “Blessed the dead people who die in the Lord, the Holy Spirit tells that they shall rest in peace, because their works follow them”.
Within Mendelssohn’s sacred choral production for male voices, there are also two mottos, Beati Mortui and Periti Autem. In both compositions the author chose a verse from Saint John’s Apocalypse. In the Opera Periti Autem, the use of counterpoints brings to life the image of the Rights who will shine like ethereal light and like stars for eternity. In this way the author tells us his personal view of faith through a romanticism which avoids the deepest contrasts and for this reason it is renamed the happy romanticism.
The mottoes “Ave Maris Stella” and “Anima Christi,
sanctifica me” were composed respectively in 1865 and 1874.
Placing the two compositions side by side allows detecting the evolution
of Liszt’s language, particularly concerning the harmony.
This is the evidence of the Liszt’s habit of experimenting
his researches on short compositions.
In “Ave Maris Stella”, the harmonic conduct follows the usual praxis and also from a formal point of view the Opera’s division in two almost identical parts detects the use of a simple model. The “Anima Christi” has a freer development, with pieces in the tuned form and some parts with everything playing at the same time. The harmony presents enharmonic variations and insisted chromatic procedures, which Wagner remembered while composing his “Parsifal”.
Of this magnificent repertoire the Polyphonic Group “Claudio Monteverdi” published a compact disc
Working in the second half of the 1800’s, Rheinberger fuses in his sacred music a deep lyrical feeling and a control of the counterpoint’s form which did not conform him to the standards of the cecilian reform that was diffusing in Europe at that time. The “Ave Maria” is part of a mess, probably substituting the gradual.
In this composition, the author is reviving the warmth of the Marian prayer in a simple way, but demonstrating great security and composing capability.
The “Fest – Cantata” was commissioned to Bruckner by bishop Rudigier to inaugurate the new cathedral in Linz (1st May 1862). The cantata, originally written for male choir and wind instruments, was then transcripted for voices and organ by Karl Etti and is still performed in this way.
The five small parts of the Cantata, varying both in organic and in texts, are deeply related to the “Preiset denn Herrn” which opens and closes the Opera.