Album: Accentus, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Mendelssohn: Christus; Cantates Chorales (Naïve)


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The Independent Culture

Salvaged from an unfinished three-part oratorio originally titled "Earth, Heaven & Hell", the two sections of Mendelssohn's "Christus" deal with the Nativity and the Passion, jumping abruptly from birth to betrayal with no intervening exposition.

The sense of hollowness is tempered, however, by a series of finesses, the first being the delightful trio of tenor, baritone and soprano representing the Three Kings in the central movement of the first part, itself followed in the next movement by a transcendent melodic moment befitting the line "Ah, what radiance gleams forth from the Lord to bring us light and comfort". The piece is accompanied here by Mendelssohn's beatific setting of Luther, "Vom Himmel Hoch", and the cantata "O Haupt Voll Blut Und Wunden", in whose central section baritone Markus Butter ably bears out the composer's instruction to sing it "in a state of anguish". 

Download this: Christus I; Christus II; Vom Himmel Hoch