|Title||Hark! The herald angels sing|
|Performers||Perceval Allen (soprano) / Edna Thornton (alto)
John Harrison (tenor) / Stewart Gardner (bass)
|Matrix no.||HO 587 AL|
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"Gutenberg, the great man” - but what does he have to do with Christmas?
24 June 1840 saw the first performance in Leipzig of Mendelssohn's so-called "Gutenberg Cantata” or Festgesang zur Eröffnung der am ersten Tage der vierten Säkularfeier der Erfindung der Buchdruckerkunst, a work composed to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Gutenberg's invention of the printing press. The second movement of the work is entitled "Vaterland, in deinen Gauen", and in this movement “Gutenberg, der deithsche Mann” , "Gutenberg, der grosse Mann”,and "Gutenberg, du wackrer Mann”, is celebrated in successive verses.
This cantata has been largely neglected, but the melody at least has been remembered – it was borrowed by the Englishman William H. Cummings and re-used for a Christmas carol written by the Methodist Charles Wesley in 1739. In this carol it is not Gutenberg but angels that are celebrated. "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing" came to be perhaps Britain's best-known Christmas carol.
Maud Perceval Allen (born in 1880 in Ripley and died in London in 1955), is the soloist in this performance. She was a famous soprano, familiar from both opera and oratorio performances in the USA, Australia and Europe.
Last update: 15.12.2011 13:16. Webmaster
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