Symphony No. 2 (Mendelssohn)

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The Symphony No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 52, commonly known as Lobgesang (Hymn of Praise), was composed by Felix Mendelssohn in 1840, along with the less-known Festgesang "Gutenberg Cantata", to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the invention of printing.

The composer's description of the work was "A Symphony-Cantata on Words of the Holy Bible, for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra". It requires two sopranos and a tenor as soloists, along with a chorus and orchestra. It lasts almost twice as long as any of Mendelssohn's other four symphonies.


Structurally, it consists of three purely orchestral movements followed by 11 movements for chorus and/or soloists and orchestra, and lasts approximately 65–70 minutes in total. The English titles of the 11 vocal movements are:

  1. All men, all things, all that have life and breath
  2. Praise ye the Lord O ye Spirit
  3. Sing ye Praise
  4. All ye that cried unto the Lord
  5. I waited for the Lord
  6. The Shadows of Death
  7. The Night is Departing
  8. Let all men praise the Lord
  9. My song shall be always Thy Mercy
  10. Ye nations, offer to the Lord.


The symphony is scored for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, two cornets, three trombones, timpani, chorus, organ and strings.


See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Hans Gebhard (Hrsg.): Harenberg Chormusikführer. Harenberg, Dortmund 1999, ISBN 3-611-00817-6.
  • Silke Leopold, Ullrich Scheideler: Oratorienführer. Metzler, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 3-476-00977-7.

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