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Mendelssohn St Paul (Paulus) Vocal Score

Felix Mendelssohn
Paulus (in English St. Paul) is an oratorio by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. The libretto was begun in 1832 by the composer with Pastor Julius Schubring, a childhood friend, pulling together passages from the New Testament (chiefly the Acts of the Apostles) and Old Testament. It also features chorales or hymn settings after Bach's manner. If you wish to buy Mendelssohn's St Paul, please click Vocal Scores and then FILTER BY COMPOSER, or see below for more.

The oratorio, which is in two parts, begins with an introduction (Nos 1-3), and continues with the martyrdom of St. Stephen, and St Paul's conversion and baptism (Nos 12-22). Part Two continues with the mission of Paul and Barnabas (Nos 23-27), Paul persecution at the hands of his former co-religionists (Nos 28-31), the healing of the lame man of Lystra (Nos 32-36), the resistance of the Jews and heathen (Nos 37-40), Paul's departure from Ephesus (Nos 41-43), and following the mention of his martyrdom, a final chorus based on Psalm 103.

Composition of the music began in 1834, and St. Paul was premiered on May 22, 1836 at the Lower Rhenish Music Festival in Düsseldorf. Numerous performances followed in Europe and later in the United States. The English premiere was in Liverpool on 3 October 1836 in a translation by Mendelssohn's friend, Karl Klingermann. Contralto Mary Shaw was one of the soloists at the English premiere.

During Mendelssohn's lifetime, St Paul was a popular and frequently performed work. However, compared with such oratorios as Messiah, the Bach Christmas Oratorio and St Matthew Passion or even Mendelssohn's own Elijah it has failed to maintain its place in the choral repertory and is now rarely performed in its entirety.

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