Monday, 2 December 2013

Erbarme Dich, Mein Gott

I have intended posting this very moving and glorious aria for a while but always considered it rather sombre. Since my dear wife, Maria, passed away 7 months ago I have been in a sombre mood very often, where letting go of emotions continues to play a large part in my life, with poetry and music.  So here it is:

"Erbarme Dich, Meinn Gott" is a very beautiful aria for alto voice from J. S. Bach's St Matthew Passion.  It might have been sung originally by a Counter-Tenor - I don't think they did anything too drastic because there are several male counter tenors today who manage to sing it without castration but that takes a lot of traning. Translated, Ermame Dich, Meinn Gott simply means "Have Mercy, My God".  This piece of music is one of my all time favourites and a masterpiece.  A violin introduces the piece and the melody just hangs so beautifully in the air until the soloist takes over.

I found two wonderful versions which I am posting:

Firstly by the Hungarian Mezzo-Soprano Julia Hamari and is wonderful.

The second version is much older and is sung in English by an American contralto, Eula Beal.
And a real treat for us, the violin soloist is a young Yehudi Menuin, one of the greatest violinists ever to grace our planet, and now playing in the finest orchestra in Heaven.  Eula.Beal is up there with him with her wonderful voice.

Can you hear the crackles from the old record? It is old but still absolutely beautiful. Yehudi Menuin was born in New York City, 22 April 1916 and died in Berlin 12 March 1999. Eula Beal was born in California 15 January 1919 and died in Napa, California 29 July 2008.

I like both versions in different ways.

For those interested I have found a counter-tenor version by Michael Chance, but I don't like the violinist at all and I am sorry to say that when he starts singing I have to suppress a laugh - er, sorry.


  1. Thank you, Eddie for posting these.
    I listened to all three. They are all beautifully done. The introduction by the violin(s) is my favorite part of the selection. I love it...
    I have to disagree with you (I know. I know. I do hate to disagree with my dear friend.) But, I loved the violinist in the last version you posted. And, I was more than surprised when I heard the voice of the tenor. Amazing range he has! I closed my eyes as I listened to him singing, (so as not to be distracted from the sound of the voice and the fact that it was a male's voice,) and I do believe that he is my favorite of the three.
    Beautiful post, Eddie.
    A hauntingly beautiful aria....
    Thank you again, for posting this.

  2. Thanks Jackie - how interesting you chose the last version. Agreed he has a very fine voice but can't agree with you about the violinist.


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