Mendelssohn, in bringing this God down to earth, participated in the romantic artists’ urge for contact with the sublime, the supra-earthly, the larger than life, his sublime music celebrating that ineffable moment of contact.
In 1897, my grandmother, Charlotte Demuth Williams, a seventeen-year-old young woman from a small town in Ohio, who had not begun her study of violin until she was twelve, was given the singular honor of playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto at the 50th anniversary celebration of the composer’s death.
In preparing to sing Mendelssohn’s St. Paul Oratorio, I embarked upon a project to read the story of St. Paul’s life and his letters, beginning with “Acts” in my King James version of the Bible. I was struck by the sudden and overwhelming moment of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus.
In January 2018, the Berkeley Community Chorus & Orchestra presented, for the first time, an all-Russian repertoire, under the direction of Ming Luke. In the first half of the program, the orchestra played a suite from Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet.
Enjoy a video of the Berkeley Community Chorus & Orchestra performing the stirring Alexander Nevsky Cantata by Sergei Prokofiev, based on his score for Eisenstein’s epic 1938 film Alexander Nevsky.