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Seven voices are involved on the CD, all expressively at one with the music. Including the male alto, it is the men who predominate, and in fact Schütz is at his most impressive when painting in darker colours. No 7, 'Anima mea liquefacta est', for instance, is for two tenors, intertwining to produce considerable harmonic tension. Here the continuo supports a pair of fiffari or cornettini. Unlike the previous two texts, which come from the Psalms and II Samuel, this is from the Song of Songs, the most sensuous of love poems till needlessly transformed into an allegory. Schütz gives us two love-lorn men pining for their beloved [listen -- track 13, 0:00-1:19].

Text, vocal layout and instrumentation continue in No 8, 'Adjuro vos'. Les Saqueboutiers de Toulouse are a group founded thirty years ago with cornetts and sackbuts central. I have deliberately chosen for illustration pieces that deploy the wind, not only because Schütz uses such instruments so expressively, but since this was the core of this gifted ensemble. Elsewhere there are energetic parts for two flutes, a pair of violins, or three bassoons. Venice had again proved a vital inspiration for Schütz, who could now return in full panoply to Dresden as Germany's greatest composer.

Copyright © 7 April 2004 Robert Anderson, London UK


Schütz: Sinfoniæ Sacræ Op 6

2564 61143-2 DDD REISSUE 70'18" 1986 Erato Disques/Editions Costallat, 2004 Warner Classics

Véronique Dietschy, soprano; Brigitte Bellamy, soprano; Guillemette Laurens, mezzo-soprano; Alain Zaepfel, alto; John Elwes, tenor; Guy de Mey, tenor; Bernard Fabre-Garrus, bass; Les Saqueboutiers de Toulouse

Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672): Sinfoniæ Sacræ Op 6 (published 1629)


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