Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Pritchard, Brian W. “Mendelssohn’s Chorale Cantatas: An Appraisal.” The Musical Quarterly 62 (January 1976): 1-24.

Felix Mendelssohn’s six chorale cantatas, composed between 1827 and 1832, have often been dismissed as imitations of Bach and other models, and modern scholarship has relegated them to a less significant position in Mendelssohn’s oeuvre. However, a closer reading of Mendelssohn’s correspondence reveals that these cantatas were personally significant to him, and their composition was motivated by the composer’s strong historical interests and religious devotion. Moreover, Mendelssohn’s six cantatas demonstrate considerable creativity and originality, especially in how the composer combines or omits chorale verses, how he employs the orchestra as an expressive device, and how he presents and manipulates the chorale tune. Mendelssohn’s compositional choices ultimately reflect a highly personal interpretation of the chorale melody and the dramatic and thematic content of the chorale texts.

Works: Mendelssohn: Christe, du Lamm Gottes (2-4, 12-14), Jesu meine Freude (2-4, 9-15), Wir glauben all an einen Gott (2-6, 9-16), O Haupt voll blut und wunden (2-5, 11-13, 16-18), Vom Himmel hoch (2-6, 9-13, 18-20), Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh’ darein (2, 6-13, 18-21).

Sources: Johann Crüger and Johann Franck: Jesu meine Freude (11); Hans Leo Hassler and Paul Gerhardt: O Haupt voll blut und wunden (11); Martin Luther: Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her (11), Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh’ darein (12), Wir glauben all an einen Gott (12), Christe, du Lamm Gottes (12).

Index Classifications: 1800s

Contributed by: Matthew G. Leone

Except where otherwise noted, this website is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
Creative Commons Attribution License