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Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672)
Eleven Motets

1. Hodie Christus Natus Est
2. Fili Mi Absalon
3. Auf Dem Gebirge
4. Heu Mihi Domine
5. Ich Danke Dir Herr
6. Der Engel Sprach
7. O Quam Tu Pulchra Es
8. Die Seele Christi Heilige Mich
9. Was Mein Gott Will*
10. Exultavit Cor Meum
11. Selig Sind Die Todten
12. Auf Dem Gebirge (version 2)*
Pro Cantione Antiqua, London Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble, Restoration Academy/ Edgar Fleet (director)
English Consort of Viols*
No recording details given. ADD
REGIS RECORDS RRC 1168 [61.24]

 

Heinrich Schütz was the leading German composer of the seventieth century and managed to achieve an amazing tenure of fifty-seven out of his eighty-seven year life as Kapellmeister at the Electorial Court in Dresden.

Schütz travelled to Italy twice during his lifetime and studied in Venice with the master composers: Giovanni Gabrieli and Monteverdi. Schütz thoroughly internalised the Venetian polychoral concertato style, giving equal weight to both voices and instruments, which is the predominant style of many of his works. This unlikely fusion of Gabrieliís Italian school and Protestant Germany was cutting-edge music and we are told that the German performers of Schützís day found the requirements of this style extremely difficult technically to perform.

The material contained on this recording from Regis has all been released previously. I recall ten of these motets being released on an ASV Quicksilver disc a few years ago to much acclaim. Regis strangely entitle this release Ď11 Motetsí when in actual fact there are thirteen motets although one of them Auf Dem Gebirge is here in two versions.

As demonstrated on this Regis release the amount of variety that Schütz puts into his works is tremendous, constantly contrasting each piece with different instrumental and assorted vocal combinations thus ensuring a kaleidoscope of German early Baroque colour.

From start to finish under the direction of Edgar Fleet the freshness of the music-making from all concerned is impressive and it is difficult to find fault with this release. Containing several mistakes only the annotation is somewhat below par but with superb performances such as these and at super-budget price the release remains eminently recommendable. This recording would be a wonderful place to start on an exploration of Heinrich Schützís music.

Michael Cookson

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