The ‘History of the Joyous and Victorious Resurrection of Our Only Saviour and Redeemer Jesus Christ’, composed by Heinrich Schütz in 1623, is regarded as the first oratorio in the German language. When Schütz had taken up his functions at the Dresden court in 1617; it was the tradition to sing the “Resurrection History” of his predecessor Scandello at Easter. The new Kapellmeister gave several performances of this work before deciding to compose a new work on the same text. The Thirty Years War had broken out in 1618, plunging Germany into a long period of tragedy. It was in this context that Schütz was to compose his most luminous works, those most imbued with faith, and those which most clearly echo the experience he had acquired in Italy, which had already been completely conquered by the modern style. The Resurrection History, like no other work of Schütz, is packed with feats of harmonic derring-do – frequent use of augmented chords and surprising chord progressions juxtaposing distant keys after the manner of the stile concitato invented by Monteverdi, to mention only the most striking.
Historia der Auferstehung SWV50;
Musikalische Exequien SWV279-281;