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  • Writer's pictureMitchell Covington

Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen

In this season of social distancing, I'm offering a series of virtual micro-concerts for anyone to enjoy. Every Wednesday, I’ll post one fine performance of notable music for women’s voices. The selections and performing groups will be varied and eclectic. Most will be in the 3-5 minute range. Each post will include an audio recording, brief notes, text & translation and, when practical, a PDF copy of the score in case you want to follow along.

This blog is supported by Voci Women’s Vocal Ensemble.

About the Composer

Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901) was born in Liechtenstein and for most of his life lived in Germany. Composing in the height of German Romanticism, Rheinberger was a contemporary of Johannes Brahms. Like Brahms, he wrote a great deal of choral music, including twelve Masses, a Requiem and a Stabat Mater. Also, like Brahms, much of Reinberger’s choral music was written for women’s voices.

Rheinberger was influenced by the music of Brahms as well as that of composers from earlier times: Mendelssohn, Schumann, Shubert and, above all, Bach. Among his many students were Engelbert Humperdink and Richard Strauss.

About the Composition

Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen for SSAA and harp (or piano)

Rheinberger had a great appreciation for the timbre of women’s voices and a gift for melodic development. He wrote his Hymn Op. 35 to the text from Psalm 84 in 1865, several years before Brahms’ more famous setting in his German Requiem. Rheinberger wrote two versions of Op. 35, one for SSAA with harp (or piano) and one for SATB a cappella. The work is characterized by a tender lyricism, aided by the accompaniment of the harp, that is simpler than Brahm’s style and lacks Brahms dramatic edge. With its rich harmonies and supple melodic lines, this setting exquisitely captures the sense and mood of the text.

About this Performance

This performance is by the Brigham Young University Women’s Chorus. It was given at the ACDA National conference in 2015. Find out more about the BYU Women’s Chorus HERE.


Listen to this week's music and see the score in the Listening Room.


The Text

Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen, o Herr!

es sehnt sich meine Seele nach dem Vorhof des Herrn.

Mein Herz frolockt in dem lebendigen Gott.

Denn der Sperling findet sein Haus,

und die Taube Obdach im Sturm,

ich finde deine Altäre, o du mein König, Herr und Gott.

Selig sind, die in deinem Hause wohnen,

in alle Ewigkeit loben sie Dich.

Barmherzigkeit und Wahrheit liebt Gott,

und denen die da wandeln in Unschuld,

gibt er Gnade und Herrlichkeit.

Line-by-Line Translation:

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord!

My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord;

my heart exults in the living God.

Even the sparrow has found a home,

and the swallow shelter from the storm.

I find a place near your altar, o Lord Almighty, my King and my God.

Blessed are those who dwell in your house;

they ever praise you.

The Lord loves mercy and truth,

and to those who walk blameless,

he gives grace and splendor.

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Mitchell Covington is an award-winning composer and conductor who lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a frequent adjudicator for choir competitions and festivals and

workshop clinician. He has led choir tours and festivals throughout Europe. Mr. Covington has several choral compositions in print with major U.S publishers and his music has been performed by choirs throughout the U.S and Europe. Mr. Covington is the Founding and current Artistic Director of Voci Women's Vocal Ensemble.

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