Hear my prayer/O for the wings of a dove (Felix Mendelssohn)
- Editor: Philip Le Bas (submitted 2018-05-26). Score information: A4, 16 pages, 167 kB Copyright: CPDL
- Edition notes: "O for the wings of a dove", from the cantata "Hear my Prayer" by Felix Mendelssohn, with the accompaniment here arranged by Philip Le Bas for string quartet (with double bass instead of cello), flute and clarinet.
- Editor: Nikolaus Hold (submitted 2017-09-29). Score information: A4, 23 pages, 364 kB Copyright: CC BY NC
- Edition notes: German version: Hör mein Bitten; based on Breitkopf & Härtel edition, 1875.
- Editor: James Gibb (submitted 2013-04-25). Score information: A4, 17 pages, 203 kB Copyright: CPDL
- Edition notes: Based on the Novello edition. Revised files uploaded 14/06/17.
- Editor: Denis Mason (submitted 2001-04-25). Score information: A4, 16 pages, 684 kB Copyright: CPDL
- Edition notes:
O for the wings of a dove
- Editor: James Gibb (submitted 2015-01-07). Score information: A4, 9 pages, 109 kB Copyright: CPDL
- Edition notes: Transposed down a major 2nd to F.
First published: 1845
Description: From The Musical Times, Feb. 1, 1891 by F. G. Edwards:
- "Hear my Prayer" – "a trifle", as he modestly calls it – is one of Mendelssohn's most popular and widely-known choral works. It was written at the request of Mr. William Bartholomew for a series of Concerts given at Crosby Hall, Bishopsgate Street, in the "forties", by Miss Mounsey, who afterwards became Mrs. Bartholomew. The work was first performed at Crosby Hall on January 8, 1845, with Miss Mounsey at the organ, and was published in the same year by Messrs. Ewer and Co…
- The title-page of the autograph score, which is in Mendelssohn’s usual neat handwriting, states: "A sacred Solo, for a Soprano and Chorus, with Organ accompaniment, composed for W. Bartholomew, Esq., by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy." In the letter to Mr. Bartholomew which accompanied the MS. (also at Kensington), dated "Berlin, 31 Jan., 1844," and written in English, Mendelssohn says: "I have only to observe that the bass of the organ accompaniment is always meant to be play'd either with the pedals, or with the lower octave in the left hand which I never wrote in it." Thus the work was originally written with organ accompaniment only; but Mendelssohn subsequently scored it at the request of Mr. Joseph Robinson, of Dublin.
- 10 Nov 1843
Bartholomew writes to the composer requesting "one or two sacred solos with an organ accompaniment for some concerts we are to give at Crosby Hall, a renovated Gothic Structure which was once the palace of Richard the Third". The texts submitted were Judges 16: 23–31 (the ‘Death Prayer of Samson’) and a version of the opening of Psalm 55. The latter text was accepted by Mendelssohn, and this became Hear my prayer.
- 13 Dec 1843
Mendelssohn asks his english editor Buxton to thank Bartholomew and announces completion for beginning of 1844.
- Jan 1844
Work completed. Original score of 25 Jan 1844 seems to be entitled "Hör mein Rufen" instead of "Hör mein Bitten". It is assumed that the German translation was made by Mendelssohn himself (see Foreword of CARUS edition by R. Larry Todd).
- Jan 1845
At the first performance of ‘Hear my prayer’, Ann Mounsey played the organ accompaniment on the new organ by Henry Cephas Lincoln, and the soprano solo was sung by Elizabeth Rainforth, a well-known stage singer; according to a review of the performance published in Musical World, neither the soloist nor the chorus were ‘thoroughly at home’ and the new organ also met with little enthusiasm. (The modern-day popularity of the work stems from the recording made in 1927 by boy soprano Ernest Lough which became EMI’s first million-selling classical recording.)
English version publised in London by Ewer; German version published in Berlin by Bote & Bock.
Early in 1847, ‘Hear my prayer’ was rescored by Mendelssohn with orchestral accompaniment. Mendelssohn did not live to see in print the latter version.
- Free choir training aids for this work are available at Choralia.
- 1972 performance on YouTube (Guildford Cathedral Choir) - Barry Rose
- Hear My Prayer on Wikipedia
Original text and translations
Hear my prayer, O God, incline Thine ear!
Hör' mein Bitten, Herr, neige dich zu mir,
Entends ma prière, Seigneur, penche-toi vers moi,
Ascolta la mia preghiera, Signore, chinati verso di me,