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Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672)
Cantiones Sacrae - Complete recordings, Vol. 5
Frauke Hess (violone); Ludger Rémy (organ)
Dresdner Kammerchor/Hans-Christoph Rademann
rec. 13-17 February 2012, Stadtkirche, Zum Heiligen Namen Gottes, Radeberg,
Full Track Listing at end of review
CARUS 83.252 [55:05 + 53:26]

This 2 CD release of the Cantiones Sacrae, SWV 53/93 is volume five of the projected complete Heinrich Schütz. It’s a project by the Dresdner Kammerchor directed by Hans-Christoph Rademann.
Schütz was such a prolific composer: the list of his compositions on Wikipedia mentions some 500 items identified by their SWV number from the Schütz-Werke-Verzeichnis catalogue. He was the foremost figure in seventeenth century German music and managed a remarkable tenure of fifty-seven years as Kapellmeister to the Electorial Court, Dresden. 

He published his set of forty Latin motets the Cantiones Sacrae (SWV 53-93) in 1625 as his op. 4. This was while he was Kapellmeister at the Dresden Court during the time of the Thirty Years War. It’s an important set regarded by many as pivotal in the evolution of sacred choral music. These short works that are designed to both appeal and to entertain. They prove highly demanding for the choir. The texts are taken principally from the book of devotions Precationes ex veteribus orthodoxis doctoribus written by Andreas Musculus the German Lutheran theologian, published in Dresden. There are also sections of text from the Psalms. Some of the motets recorded here use a basso continuo comprising violone and organ. 
In May this year I saw Hans-Christoph Rademann direct the Dresdner Kammerchor in a Janáček and Bruckner programme at the Annenkirche as part of the Dresden Music Festival. On this release they have recorded the Cantiones under studio conditions at the Stadtkirche, Zum Heiligen Namen Gottes, Radeberg.
To my ear these forty motets of the Cantiones Sacrae inhabit a very similar sound world offering little in the way of tonal variety and memorable melody. Nevertheless they communicate a satisfying sacred atmosphere without plumbing great spiritual depths. What immediately strikes me about this choir, who always seem impeccably prepared, is the excellence of their unison. They are highly confident and sing with clear textures and appropriate reverential quality.
Carus is to be congratulated for including full Latin texts with English translations and the splendid booklet essay by Oliver Geisler is an interesting and highly informative read.
This Schütz set is impressively sung and recorded but will appeal almost exclusively to the specialist listener.  

Michael Cookson  
Track listing:
Cantiones Sacrae , Op. 4: Freiberg (1625)
SWV 053 - O bone, o dulcis, o benigne Jesu [3:02]
SWV 054 - Et ne despicias humiliter te petentem [2:11]
SWV 055 - Deus misereatur nostri [2:33]
SWV 056 - Quid commisisti, o dulcissime puer [3:27]
SWV 057 - Ego sum tui plaga doloris [1:58]
SWV 058 - Ego enim inique egi [4:08]
SWV 059 - Quo, nate Dei, quo tua descendit humilitas [2:34]
SWV 060 - Calicem salutaris accipiam [2:02]
SWV 061 - Verba mea auribus percipe, Domine [2:28]
SWV 062 - Quoniam ad te clamabo, Domine [2:26]
SWV 063 - Ego dormio, et cor meum vigilat [3:43]
SWV 064 - Vulnerasti cor meum, filia charissima [3:05]
SWV 065 - Heu mihi, Domine [3:47]
SWV 066 - In te, Domine, speravi [2:30]
SWV 067 - Dulcissime et benignissime Christe [2:56]
SWV 068 - Sicut Moses serpentem in deserto exaltavit [2:36]
SWV 069 - Spes mea, Christe, Deus [2:51]
SWV 070 - Turbabor, sed non pertubabor [1:34]
SWV 071 - Ad Dominum cum tribularer clamavi [2:56]
SWV 072 - Quid detur tibi aut quid apponatur tibi [2:09]
SWV 073 - Aspice pater piissimum filium [3:16]
SWV 074 - Nonne hic est, mi Domine [1:32]
SWV 075 - Reduc, Domine Deus meus [3:04]
SWV 076 - Supereminet omnem scientism [3:51]
SWV 077 - Pro hoc magno mysterio pietatis [2:04]
SWV 078 - Domine, non est exaltatum cor meum [3:04]
SWV 079 - Si non humiliter sentiebam [2:59]
SWV 080 - Speret Israel in Domino [1:33]
SWV 081 - Cantate Domino canticum novum [2:59]
SWV 082 - Inter brachia Salvatoris mei [3:32]
SWV 083 - Veni, rogo in cor meum [3:07]
SWV 084 - Ecce advocatus meus apud te, Deum patrem [3:25]
SWV 085 - Domine, ne in furore tuo arguas me [2:44]
SWV 086 - Quoniam non est in morte [2:52]
SWV 087 - Discedite a me omnes [3:05]
SWV 088 - Oculi omnium in te sperant, Domine [0:50]
SWV 089 - Pater noster, qui es in cœlis [2:22]
SWV 090 - Domine Deus, pater cœlestis [1:18]
SWV 091 - Confitemini Domino, quoniam ipse bonus [1:40]
SWV 092 - Pater noster: Repetatur ut supra (= SWV 089) [2:31]
SWV 093 - Gratias agimus tibi [1:24]