Heinrich Schutz - German Requiem

Published Wednesday 1st December 2004
Heinrich Schutz - German Requiem
Heinrich Schutz - German Requiem

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Naxos 8555705
RRP: £4.99

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Heinrich Schűtz was the leading German composer of the 17th century, living through the turbulent times of the Thirty Years War and dying in Dresden in 1672, aged 87. His long career started with a visit of four years to Venice where he studied with Giovanni Gabrielli before returning to Germany where he had a variety of positions in several royal courts. His importance is as a link between the Catholic traditions of Venice with the Lutheranism of Germany and Calvinism of the Netherlands, preparing the way for Bach and Handel. The longest two pieces on this disc are "Musicalische Exequien" ("German Requiem") and "Die Sieben Worte Jesu Christi Am Kreuz" ("The Seven Last Words Of Jesus Christ On The Cross"). Both are powerful, intense works, notable for a rich, dark and, at times, startling sonority. The singers of the vocal ensemble Himlishe Cantorey and Alsfelder Vokalensemble Bremen are excellent and the playing of I Febiarmonici, on period instruments, is equally good. The whole package is, at only five pounds, superb value.

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