The court of the Venetian Doges was of legendary magnificence. Princes who desired some of this splendor for their own courts sent their artists and musicians to study in La Serenissima. And so it was that Schütz, Heinrich made his way to the Lagoon City in order to learn his trade under the famous Giovanni Gabrieli. This new SACD by the Hymnus Choirboys of Stuttgart and Musica Fiata demonstrates how Schütz worked with opulent Italian impressions while serving as court chapel master in Dresden and employs the finest 222 technique to transport lavish sound and Venetian grandezza straight to you in your living room.
Four five-part choirs situated in different places in the performance space and varying in membership present this CD’s repertoire discovery: the “Song of the Three Youths in the Fiery Furnace,” a mighty song of praise based on the prophet Daniel. There are shifts between favorito choir and chapel choir and between instruments and singers and along with them an ostinato bass part, so that the praise of God is celebrated in many colors and with magnificent splendor while being repeated many times and undergoes marvelous intensification on its way to a powerful concluding segment.
The Musikalische Exequien are also pervaded by the deepest religiosity and were composed on the occasion of a princely funeral. Here Schütz develops his full compositional mastery, in the old and new styles: from the traditional motet through the concerto with thoroughbass accompaniment to the very up-to- date opera, Schütz had a command of all the genres of the vocal music of his times – and so compellingly employed them that he published the piece initially functioning as a rather chance occasional work under its own opus number.
Schütz’s music is in very good hands with the Hymnus Choirboys of Stuttgart and its young soloists. This traditional ensemble led by Rainer Johannes Homburg, a proven expert in early music and historical performance practice, is complemented by Musica Fiata on historical instruments with such “parlando” articulation that the listener may have the impression that he or she understands every word, even in the purely instrumental presentation of the motet “Das ist je gewisslich war.” Cornetts and trombones with works by Schein, Johann Hermann and Hans Hake round out the solemnities and festivities forming this magnificent program.