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Posted July 17, 2011
The Passions of Heinrich Schutz fall midway between the early chant renderings by a single voice or a trio of soloists and the elaborate compositions by Bach and his followers. Forbidden the use of instruments during Holy Week, Schutz crafted his settings for voices alone: an Evangelist and Christ are the main singers, and the chorus represents the various groups in the Gospel story, as well as supplying small roles. This is the last of a fine series of discs by Hillier and his Copenhagen forces collecting all of Schutz's sacred narratives. It's interesting how the same singer (Jacob Bloch Jespersen) has been Jesus in all the Passions, while each Evangelist has been different (here tenor Julian Podger); on the other hand, I don't think a female alto works well as Judas. Recorded appropriately in a church, the performance is austere, but not dry-those involved definitely act their parts. Complete text in German and English, and detailed notes.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 21, 2011
The German composer, Heinrich Schutz, and the Italian, Monteverdi, were the first geniuses of the Baroque era. Schutz went on to be highly influential of the later German masters, in his cosmopolitanism and historical eclecticism.
In this recording, Schutz's choral music is imbued with the Venetian polychoral and concertato style of his teachers Gabrieli and Monteverdi. Along with his teachers' approach, there is always a hint of an earlier renaissance modality, which is the hallmark of Schutz's originality.
This 'Passion 'consists of long passages of dialogue recitative followed by too brief choral settings. The recitative singing is convincing in its half way style between a more natural renaissance declamation and a more operatic expressiveness. Julian Podger as the evangelist and Jacob Bloch Jespersen as Christ are highly engaging and extremely capable. Paul Hiller conducts the Ars Nova group beautifully, highlighting subtle phrasing and dovetailing counterpoint. Highly recommended.
Posted April 25, 2011
Thus concludes Dacapo's important four disc survey of the late narrative masterworks of Heinrich Schutz as directed by eminent Baroque scholar, Paul Hillier with Ars Nova Copenhagen. Schutz's a cappella setting of the St. Matthew Passion (Matthaus-Passion) is fervent and dramatic albeit somewhat austere due to the predominance of recitative. Nonetheless, the subsequent rewards more than compensate for the prolonged concentration required for adequate comprehension of Schutz's formidable design. The two essays included with the text are de rigueur reading for anyone seriously interested in this seminal repertoire. Julian Podger as the Evangelist , Jacob Bloch Jesperen as Christ as well as the voices of Ars Nova are captured with a sonic precision that vividly clarifies the complex polyphonic effects employed by the composer. Technically, the performance is beyond reproach as is the elegant, reverential packaging. Recommended.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.