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Schütz: Motets and Concertos Import

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Amazon.com: 7 reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Radiant 27 Feb. 2005
By Caterina Sforza - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Doesn't look promising, does it? Early German Baroque, a meditation on death, mostly a capella, some continuo. Pretty austere. But this is some of the most passionate religious music ever composed, prompted by some of the most richly consoling texts-- In his German Requiem, 200 years later, Brahms paid tribute to Schütz's work in setting "Selig sind die Toten (Blessed are the dead")

Schütz never lets limited resources limit his invention or blunt his emotion-- this is a perfect coexistence of restrained dignity and an almost ecstatic spirituality. His magic includes divided choirs crying "Erbarm' dich!" --have mercy-- back and forth, unexpected hemiola dance rhythms (in a Requiem!) and a Monteverdian drama blended into a wholly a capella, polyphonic texure, with the two "angels" and the "blessed Soul" contrasting with the choir in the "Canticum Simeonis."

Gardiner and company are the perfect agents of Schütz's grace-- Gardiner is probably the greatest exponent of the "Get out of the way of the music" school of HIP, and that just happens to be the one I favor. Clarity is what the music needs, and what it gets. Gardiner also has never found a Baroque piece out of which he couldn't ferret the dance rhythms. His singers are clear-voiced, articulation is clean, tuning and balance flawless, tempi strict, rhythms meticulous-- and the result is not at all cold, but full of light and warmth. The emotions rise out of the music and overtake you.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
An unending source of pleasure and spiritual renewal. 9 Sept. 2005
By RENS - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
As a music historian and a German scholar as well as a pastor, I concur with the other reviewers: this is a magnificent recording of first-rate performances of significant compositions by Heinrich Schuetz. For the sake of your health and well-being, for the joy of your heart, get this CD and listen to it often!
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
One of the best recordings of Schütz I've heard 6 Nov. 2003
By Steven Guy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This recording isn't new but it is still extremely good. The Requiem is sung and played with great feeling and style. There are other good recordings of this work, but this one is still out in front.
The four motets on this recording are stunning. Ist nicht Ephraim and Auf dem Gebirge are both performed with great pathos and feeling. The musicians from His Majestys Sagbuts & Cornetts play with great feeling and surround the voices in a beautiful and 'sacred' way. This is how the music of Heinrich Schütz should be performed!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
a voice teacher and early music fan 27 Jan. 2007
By George Peabody - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD

Heinrich Schutz(1585-1672), is now recognized as the outstanding figure in seventeenth-century German musical life. He played a central role in the creation and development of early baroque style in Germany, bringing to it what he absorbed on his two visits to Italy. Apart from early Italian madrigals and a lost opera 'Dafne', all his surviving output is sacred music. His three late Passions, in an archaic style, continued a German tradition which can be traced through to J.S.Bach.

It was in Dresden in 1636, that he composed his so-called 'German Requiem', his "Musikalische Exequiem" for a royal funeral. It is divided into 3 Parts having deep theological meaning based on scriptural passages alternating with hymn verses.

The Wedding Concerto 'Freue dich des Weibes deiner Jugend' is based on a text from Proverbs (5:18-19). and is written with a light touch, and achieves its effects by the masterly disposition of the 4-part choir and two obligato descant instruments.

The Motet 'Ist nicht Ephraim mein teurer Sohn' is for 2 four-part choruses made up of a mixture of vocal and instrumental forces.

The concerto "Saul,Saul, was verfolgst du mich?' has a text based on two passages in the Acts of the Apostles (26:14b and 9:4-5).

Schutz published his seven part motet 'Aluf dem Gebirge hat man ein Geschrei gehoret' in the volume 'Geistliche Chormusik' of 1648. Unlike most of the other motets in that volume, this text is given to only two voices(upper parts, in the alto register),while the 5 lower parts are designed for instrumental execution (French Horn mainly).

John Eliot Gardiner made this recording in 1987, and selected absolutely wonderful performers to execute it. They are all first-rate, and many of the soloists like Michael Chance , for instance, were begining their careers as singers. The duet between Ashley Stafford (alto) and Michael Chance is superb, not to be matched on any disc that I own, anyway. This is all just beautiful music!!!!!A great performance also by the Monteverdi Choir (fairly new at this time) and The English Baroque Soloists was flawless and wonderful to hear. It's no mistake to buy this recording if you are an early music lover!

ADDENDUM: 7/20/13 Having recently discover perfectly wonderfully executed motets of Heinrich
Schutz recorded in 1979/83 by Pro Cantione Antiqua with a fabulous group of singers many of whom are notable today: countertenors=James Bowman, Paul Esswood, Kevin Smith; tenors=Paul Elliott, James Griffett, Ian Partridge; and basses Brian Etheridge and Michael George. Their singing is legendary and perfection on this disc. Don't miss it if you love Schutz and or Early Music. It is still available on the marketplace; I have reviewed it.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Exquisite German Renaissance Liturgical Music 23 Sept. 2006
By B. Marold - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This rendition of Heinrich Schutz 'Musikalische Exequien' is rendered by what may be considered an 'all star cast', lead by director, John Eliot Gardiner with His Majesties Sagbutts and Cornetts, The Monteverdi Choir, and the English Baroque Soloists. Imagine one's surprise that this lineup of Anglican talent does so well with these High German pieces.

The first thing which sets this apart from so many liturgical works is that it is not a rendering of a mass, even a Requium mass, even though it does include motet(s) for the funeral of a German prince. Another thing which strikes me as remarkable is that these works were written at the height of the 30 Years War which ravaged central Germany (actually, the 'Holy Roman Empire').

The highest praise I can give this piece is that it actually rivals Bach's lesser liturgical works, especially in the richness of mix of voices and instruments.
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