Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mendelssohn at First Presbyterian Church

From an article by Michael Lister, First Presbyterian Church

On Sunday, November 14 at 4 pm, the Chancel Choir of First Presbyterian Church will partner with the choir of Troy First United Presbyterian Church, under the direction of Maury Castro, to perform the magnificent cantata Lauda Sion, as well as other works by Felix Mendelssohn. In addition to the combined choirs, the concerts will feature members of the Hyperion String Quartet, soloists from FPC and FPC's esteemed organist, Nancy Frank. The first performance was in Troy on November 7.

For nearly 200 years, the music of Felix Mendelssohn has been a source of great inspiration, musically, socially, and spiritually. Hailing from a respected Jewish family that converted to Christianity when he was a child, Mendelssohn incorporated a strong sense of faith, tradition, and community in his music. Raised in a home that encouraged independent thought, artistic expression, and appreciation of culture, Mendelssohn incorporated all of these things into his work.

In addition to his own works, Mendelssohn is also credited with bringing about a renewed interest in music from previous generations, including the music of J.S. Bach, who had largely been forgotten before Mendelssohn’s time. Mendelssohn was also deeply committed to the development of a society that incorporated “receptivity to tradition; faith in God; tolerance; and a sense of community.” Many of his works demonstrate that philosophy. One of his later works was the cantata Lauda Sion, written for soloists, chorus, and orchestra, which incorporated much of his comprehensive philosophy. The large text speaks to the community of believers as they partake in communion together, which directs their attention to the glory and mercy of their Savior and incorporates the lineage of saints who have shared in the Sacred Banquet. Mendelssohn’s music beautifully depicts all of these ideas through a beautiful tapestry of sound woven together in his unique and reverent style.

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