Cantata for Choir and Orchestra
Mendelssohn’s graceful cantata Verleih uns Frieden in E flat, set to Luther’s German translation of the medieval antiphon Da pacem, Domine, points towards the end of Schubert’s Mass in E flat with its calm and confident plea ‘Dona Nobis Pacem’ (Grant us Peace). Mendelssohn composed his small masterpiece in February 1831 after a visit to the Vatican. An instrumental introduction is followed by a quiet, contemplative first verse sung by the basses alone. The same text is repeated a second time, the altos taking up the melody while the basses sing a counter-melody. The third verse opens up into a four-part harmonisation, using the full forces to express a sanguine hope for peace.
Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich,
Herr Gott, zu unsern Zeiten.
Es ist doch ja kein andrer nicht,
der für uns könnte streiten,
denn du, unser Gott, alleine.
Mercifully grant us peace,
Lord God, in our times.
For there is no other
Who could fight for us
But you alone, our God.
© Sabine KöllmannComposer: Mendelssohn Title of Musical Work: Verleih uns Frieden