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Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672)
Kleine geistliche Konzerte 1 (Little Sacred Concertos)
Part 1 SWV 282-305 (1636)
Complete Recordings Volume 7
see end of review for track listing
Dorothee Mields, Ulrike Hofbauer (sopranos); David Erler, Alexander Schneider (counter-tenor); Georg Poplutz, Tobias Mäthger (tenor); Andreas Wolf, Cornelius Uhler, Felix Schwandtke (bass); Stefan Maass (theorbo); Mathias Müller (violine, viola da gamba); Ludger Rémy (organ and director)
rec. September 2012, Trinitatiskirche Zwönitz
Texts and translations included
CARUS 83.254 [71:32]

Carus’s devotion to the works of Heinrich Schütz is such that a Complete Edition of his music is being undertaken, of which this is the seventh volume. It presents the first disc of the Little Sacred Concertos, the Leipzig-published Kleine geistliche Konzerte of 1636. The remarkable thing about the set is its sense of the private. The music was not intended for the stage or even for an audience. It was written during the time of the brutal Thirty Years’ War, when Protestant Saxony was experiencing the full force of its devastation. In the face of this Schütz retreated into himself to produce settings of profound lamentation and also hope -which music, whilst still rooted in Italianate influence, nevertheless strikes a very personal note that ensured that he ‘provided stability’ (in Schütz’s words) during a time of war and plague.
The forces are intimately scaled. Accompaniment is at all times provided by the organ, played by the director, Ludger Rémy, and often also by the basso continuo. Sometimes this is Stefan Maass’s theorbo, and sometimes Matthias Müller’s violine or viola da gamba. Often however both continuo players provide support together. The settings are generally compact and freighted with expressive intensity. Eile, mich, Gott, zu erretten (Haste to deliver me God, SWV 282) is a compound of anger and affront, which contrasts with the consoling and beseeching quality of Erhöre mich (Hear me when I call SWV 289). The recording catches perfectly the fine internal balancing of the voices in Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (Now come, Saviour of the Gentiles SWV 301) and the eagerness of the overlapping soprano and bass vocal lines in Der Herr schauet vom Himmel, and the chaste purity of the two sopranos in Das Blut Jesu Christi.
A word here about the singers. Dorothee Mields, whose soprano is perfectly conceived for this repertoire, is joined by equally fine fellow soprano, Ulrike Hofbauer. David Erler is the alto, Georg Poplutz and Tobias Mäthger the tenors. The basses are Andreas Wolf, Cornelius Uhler, and Felix Schwandtke. Whether solo, duo or in other combinations the voices are finely scaled, appropriately clear, purely focused and idiomatic. One unusual solo - there are very few solo settings in this series - is Bringt her dem Herren (Bring the men SWV 283) in which Mields sings a series of Allelujahs to end each verse with a degree of floridity rare in the Kleine geistliche Konzerte.
This excellent disc has been sensitively balanced and recorded, and well documented. It continues the conspicuous excellence of the series to date.
Jonathan Woolf
Track listing
Haste to deliver me God, SWV 282 [3:10]
Hear me when I call SWV 289 [2:18]
O Lord, help, O Lord, SWV 297 [1:52]
Now come, Saviour of the Gentiles SWV 301 [2:17]
O gracious Lord God SWV 287 [2:49]
A child is born to us SWV 203 [3:13]
The Lord looked down from heaven SWV 292 [2:12]
The blood of Jesus Christ, SWV 298 [2:10]
O help, Christ, Son of God, SWV 295 [1:57]
See, my advocate SWV 304 [3:37]
I thank the gentlemen SWV 284 [4:32]
Create in me, O God, a pure heart, SWV 291 [2:03]
Blessed is the man that walketh not SWV 290 [3:19]
Fear not, I am with you, SWV 296 [2:15]
The Lord is great SWV 286 [2:14]
Bring the men SWV 283 [3:02]
Praise the Lord SWV 293 [1:57]
Your saints sing unto the Lord SWV 288 [2:13]
We believe all in one God SWV 303 [3:42]
I ask one of the men SWV 294 [2:21]
Godliness is for all things SWV 299 [1:21]
O sweet, O kind, O merciful SWV 285 [4:03]
Heaven and earth pass away SWV 300 [1:33]
I have my property SWV 305 [11:07]