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Brilliant Classics

Heinrich SCHUTZ (1585-1672)
Symphoniae Sacrae

From Symphoniae Sacrae, op. 6 (1629)

1. Concerto 11 - Psalm 34, 1-3 Benedicam Dominum in omni tempore
2. Concerto 13 - Samuel II, 19, 4-5 Fili mi, Absalon
3. Concerto 18 - canticles 4, 16; 5, 1 Veni, dilecte mi, in hortum meum
4. Concerto 20 - Psalm 150, 4; Ps. passim Jubilate Deo in chordis et organo
From Symphoniarum Sacrarum Secunda Pars, op. 10 (1647)

5. Concerto 26 - Ludwig Helmbold, 1563 Von Gott will ich nicht lassen
6. Concerto 3 - Psalm 8 Herr unser Herrscher, wie herrlich ist dein Nam
7. Concerto 4 - Luke 1, 46-48, 50-55 Meine Seele erhebt den Herren
8. Concerto 8 - Psalm 18, 2-7 Herzlich lieb hab ich dich, o Herr
9. Concerto 16 - Psalm 68, 2-4 Es steh Gott auf
10. Concerto 12 - Luke 2, 29-32 Herr, nun lässest du deinen Diener im Friede fahren
11. Concerto 10 - Psalm 150 Lobet den Herrn in seinem Heiligtum
12. Concerto 27 - Psalm 33, 1-3 Freuet euch des Herren, ihr Gerechten
Cappella Augustana/Matteo Messori (organ and direction)
Recording: July 2003, Chiesa arcipretale di S. Giacomo, Polcenigo (Pordenone), Italy
SUPER AUDIO CD DSD Direct Stream Digital Stereo
This SACD can also be player on CD players. DDD


Most of the surviving music from early baroque German composer Heinrich Schütz was composed for liturgical purposes; these Symphoniae sacrae (Sacred Symphonies) are no exception. They were composed in three books, two of which are contained on this Brilliant Classics release. The first collection appeared in Venice in 1629; the second in 1647. They mainly consist of settings of Biblical texts, particularly from the Old Testament, with some non-scriptural and Lutheran material.

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 his works, particularly in the three books of Symphoniae sacrae. We are told that the German performers of Schützís day found the requirements of the Italian style technically extremely difficult to perform.

The amount of variety that Schütz puts into these works is tremendous, constantly contrasting each piece with different instrumental and vocal combinations ensuring a kaleidoscope of German early Baroque colour.

The performances from Cappella Augustana under the capable direction of their founder and organist Matteo Messori are generally excellent. Especially fine are the team of vocalists who perform with plenty of expression, imagination and commitment. However occasionally the trumpet, cornet and trombone players find their period instruments difficult to tame but this should not put off any prospective purchaser.

Brilliant Classics recordings are infuriating where booklet notes are concerned. There are usually so many mistakes, poor translation and crucial omissions in the annotation that it is easy to question the accuracy of any information that we are given. Yes, I know that Brilliant Classics are a super-budget label but to sort out these problems should be so simple. I am pleased to say that on this release we are given texts which have been translated into English (often texts are not included at all). However bewildering mistakes abound in the booklet notes due to poor translation.

The SACD sound is naturally recorded and the performances are really well sung and played, getting right to the heart of the music. This Brilliant Classics release from the Cappella Augustana under Matteo Messori should serve any purchaser well and at super-bargain price will not lighten the wallet too much.

Michael Cookson

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