1841: Mendelssohn: Song of Praise in Bb major, age 32

Mr. Peabody Says:

This is not a symphony. In fact Mendelssohn never called this a symphony, and he did not number it. It is a sacred choral work. It’s more than an hour long, so you don’t want to even try to listen to all of it at first. But start with: Chorale – Now Thank We All Our God, which goes all the way back to 1647 and was used by Bach.

Nun danket alle Gott

This is a melody attributed to Johann Crüger, who wrote it c. 1647, and you can read about him HERE. Mendelssohn revered the music of Bach, so I would think of this as a tribute to the master.

Claudio Abbado/London Symphony Orchestra

  1. Maestoso con moto – Allegro
  2. Allegretto un poco agitato
  3. Adagio religioso
  4. All men, all things, all that have life and breath (Chorus)
  5. Praise thou the Lord, O ye Spirit (Soprano Solo and Semi-Chorus)
  6. Sing ye Praise (Tenor Recitative and Aria)
  7. All ye that cried unto the Lord (Chorus)
  8. I waited for the Lord (Soprano Duet and Chorus)
  9. The sorrows of Death (Tenor Aria)
  10. The Night is Departing (Chorus)
  11. Let all men praise the Lord (Chorale of Now Thank We All Our God)
  12. My song shall be always Thy Mercy (Soprano and Tenor Duet)
  13. Ye nations, offer to the Lord (Chorus, Organ)


  • two sopranos, tenor
  • chorus
  • two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons
  • four horns, two trumpets, three trombones
  • timpani
  • organ
  • strings

There are only four symphonies:

The numbering of Mendelssohn’s symphonies is totally wrong. At one time this work was named his 2nd symphony, but in fact there are only four symphonies, and the order is totally incorrect. His title just means “Song of Praise”. So it is religious in nature, and it’s long. There are 13 parts or sections. The first three are instrumental, while the last 10 are choral or featuring the vocal soloists.

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