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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Radio 3 calls for choirs across the country to join Mendelssohn celebrations in 2009

Mendelssohn

BBC Radio 3 is inviting choirs throughout the UK to join nationwide performances of Mendelssohn's much-loved O For The Wings Of A Dove on 10 May 2009.

This forms part of a Radio 3 weekend devoted to the life and works of Felix Mendelssohn, who is one of Radio 3's Composers Of The Year in 2009, celebrating the 200th anniversary of his birth.

Participating choirs will have the chance to have their performance broadcast on Radio 3, and downloadable posters will be offered to choirs, so they can promote their own performances locally.

Radio 3 will link to recordings of the performance put on choirs' own websites and choirs will be invited to send in any related photos for an online photo gallery at bbc.co.uk/composers.

The invitation follows a hugely successful Radio 3 initiative in 2006, when organists all over the country were invited to play J S Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor on a specific Sunday as part of its Bach Christmas.

Many hundreds of organists took part and it is hoped that choirs are similarly enthusiastic about this Mendelssohn event.

O For The Wings Of A Dove is a well-known hymn from Mendelssohn's motet Hear My Prayer, completed on 25 January 1844, and first performed in London a year later. The piece is arranged for soprano solo with four-part mixed chorus and organ accompaniment.

The English words, by W Bartholomew, are a paraphrase of Psalm 55, in which the petitioner calls upon his Lord to protect him from his enemies.

Aled Jones, who presents a special live edition of The Choir surrounding this project on 10 May, as well as a follow-up edition on 24 May, says: "O For The Wings Of A Dove offers a splendid showcase for the pure voice of a young soprano soloist, boy or girl.

"Mendelssohn's beautifully evocative setting has direct emotional appeal, as many people remember from Ernest Lough's iconic recording with The Temple Church Choir, which has always been one of my 'desert island discs'! It will make a wonderful addition to the repertoire of any choir which doesn't already know it."

Choirs can choose to perform the whole of Mendelssohn's Hear My Prayer or O For The Wings Of A Dove alone.

Registration and information at bbc.co.uk/composers.

VB

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