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(Conductor : JOHN E. WEST)
A Biblical Scene for Male Voice Chorus and Orchestra
THE LOVE FEAST OF THE APOSTLES was written soon after Wagner settled at Dresden as Chief Music Director. He had as yet only just begun his great series of Operas and Music Dramas. with Rienzi and The Flying Dutchman. He became leader of a Male Voice Choir which had not long been established at Dresden, and wrote the Love Feast for a choral Festival which he conducted in the summer of 1843 (when he was thirty). The music, which he dedicated to Frau Weinlig, the widow of his former teacher, was performed in church by over a thousand singers.
The words, writ ten by the Composer, are based on the scene in Chapter iv of the Acts of the Apostles. The music is laid out for a large male choir, divided in several portions of the work into three smaller choirs, for each of which the music is written in the usual four vocal parts.
The work opens with an unaccompanied portion for four-part ' Full Choir of Disciples,' the words (in the English translation as published by Messrs. Novello) beginning : ' We greet you, -brethren, in the Lord's name, Who at this feast in concord us unites, that we thereby may keep Him in remembrance.'
Then the Second Choir enters with the words 'We are oppressed, the mighty hate us sore..... Who can tell us how soon we part, in grief to languish ? ...' The Third Choir responds with 'Hold firm your trust,' and there is a dialogue between the fearful ones and the confident. The First Choir is added, singing ' Draw near. ye that hunger and are thirsty, to comfort you He doth give His flesh and blood.' So the movement goes on, the anxious ones being reassured by the majority of their fellows.
In the second part of the work (still unaccompanied) we hear the voices of the Apostles (twelve Basses sing this music), above the rest of the Choir. The twelve greet and Mess their brethren in the name of Christ, and warn them that persecution awaits them. The Apostles tell how their good works have roused the enmity of powerful foes, who have commanded them to cease their teaching.
All pray to God for strength to carry on their work of proclaiming the gospel. ' Send to us Thy Holy Ghost. they cry.
Immediately are heard ' Voices from Above ' singing ' Peace be yours, I am at hand, and My Spirit is with you ... Be not afraid.'
Here the Orchestra enters, and in the next section there is a gradual increase of tone, while the Choir sings ' What rushing now fills the air ? ... Salute we Thee, Thou Holy Ghost, for whom we prayed.....' The Apostles bid them ' give ear to what the Spirit hath to us declared. Though men may threaten, their threats are all in vain.' They then charge the faithful to go and ' bear joyful witness to the world of your Redeemer's wondrous deeds.' The disciples respond joyfully, and with an ascription of praise to God the work Comes to its end.


Conducted By: Eugene Goossens
Unknown: Kneale Kelley
Unknown: Frau Weinlig

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