This has always been one of my favorite arias from Mendelssohn's Elijah. As a young aspiring singer some thirty years ago, I wanted to sing it myself and I often used to try. Alas, I was a rather weak mezzo-soprano and couldn't nail the high notes. I usually don't find I am drawn to this sort of religious theme or anthem, but it's Mendelssohn, and it really is uplifting, even if you don't (and, though a certified God-botherer, I do not) believe in a conventional heaven or heavenly realm.
If I were to die, as of course I someday will, I would want this song performed or played----a recording would be fine----at my memorial service, just to remind people that death is just a transition and that you might as well assume that it is a joyful one. I don't see myself as 'righteous' especially, but I've got to believe based on the available evidence that God actually has fairly low standards. I'm thinking the bar has got to be pretty low.
At 14, hearing it the first time---and at 14, I'd like you to know, I was a 'confirmed' atheist because at 14 I knew everything---it always gave me the feeling of the ceiling of the auditorium being peeled back to reveal the sky and the sunlight. The melody itself is filled with light. If a melody can be that, I ask myself, why not whatever reality lies behind our illusions of solidity and permanence and dimensionality?
So anyway, this isn't just the soundtrack of my life. If my husband remembers, it might even be the soundtrack of my death! I realize that some people will find this morbid. I do not; not at all.
Anyway, here is a lovely performance by a young tenor. It was his favorite, he writes, from his audition for the National Association for the Advancement of Fine Arts. And they are advanced by the availability of performances like this.