Mendelssohn Elijah Vocal Score
Elijah (in German, Elias) is an oratorio written by Felix Mendelssohn in 1846 for the Birmingham Festival. It depicts various events in the life of the Biblical prophet Elijah, taken from the books 1 Kings and 2 Kings in the Old Testament.
This piece was composed in the spirit of Mendelssohn's Baroque predecessors Bach and Handel, whose music he loved. In 1829, Mendelssohn had organized the first performance of Bach's Saint Matthew Passion since the composer's death, and was instrumental in bringing this and other of Bach's works to widespread popularity. In contrast, Handel's oratorios never went out of fashion (in England at any rate). Mendelssohn prepared a scholarly edition of some of Handel's oratorios for publication in London. Elijah is modeled on the oratorios of these two Baroque masters; however, the style clearly reflects, in its lyricism and use of orchestral and choral colour, Mendelssohn's own genius as an early Romantic composer. If you wish to buy Mendelssohn's Elijah, please click Vocal Scores and then FILTER BY COMPOSER, or see below for more.
The work is scored for four vocal soloists (bass/baritone, tenor, alto, soprano), full symphony orchestra (including trombones, ophicleide, organ), and a large chorus singing usually in four, but occasionally eight or three (women only) parts. The part of Elijah is sung by the bass/baritone and is a major role.
Mendelssohn originally composed the work to a German text by his friend Karl Klingemann, who earlier had provided him with the libretto for his comic operetta Die Heimkehr aus der Fremde. Upon being commissioned by the Birmingham Festival to write an oratorio, however, Mendelssohn had the libretto translated into English by William Bartholomew, and the oratorio was premiered in the English version.
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