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Heinrich Schutz: Musicalische Exequien

Schutz / Vox Luminis / Meunier
Release Date: 07/12/2011 
Label:  Ricercar   Catalog #: 311   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Heinrich SchützSamuel ScheidtMichael Praetorius
Performer:  Bernard Foccroulle
Conductor:  Lionel Meunier
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 55 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

If you had not noticed before that the Musicalische Exequien – the 30-minute funeral sequence Schütz composed in 1636 for Prince Heinrich Posthumus von Reuss – is a masterpiece, then this disc should go some way towards convincing you. Schütz took his texts from Reuss himself, or more specifically from the biblical extracts he ordered to be inscribed on his densely decorated sarcophagus, so it does not have quite the same specifically personal hinterland as the work with which it is often compared, Brahms’s German Requiem. Neither does it draw on the same resources, being written for a small ensemble of voices with simple continuo accompaniment, yet the skill and refinement with which Schütz juggles solo and tutti passages, Read more and the depth and emotional precision of his response to the text, results in something no less profound and no less moving in its utterly Lutheran vision of death as welcome release from the world’s travails into God’s loving care. Listening to the plangent concluding Nunc dimittis, one has to wonder if death has ever seemed more noble or sublime.

The 12 voices of Belgian ensemble Vox Luminis put their faith in tonal focus and sweetly balanced textures. Though one might expect from that a certain coolness, their singing produces music-making of intimate, aching beauty. The recorded sound, gently resonant, is perfect. This great work is preceded by other funeral motets by Schütz, including two more settings of the Nunc dimittis and a heartfelt musician’s memorial to the composer Schein. In Vox Luminis’s hands even the four verses of Luther’s unison chorale Mit Fried und Freud tugs at the heart. A marvellous disc.

– Lindsay Kemp, Gramophone Read less

Works on This Recording

Herr, nun lässet du deinen Diener, SWV 432 by Heinrich Schütz
Conductor:  Lionel Meunier
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1657; Germany 
Herr, nun lässet du deinen Diener, SWV 433 by Heinrich Schütz
Conductor:  Lionel Meunier
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1647; Germany 
Ich bin die Auferstehung und das Leben, SWV 464 by Heinrich Schütz
Conductor:  Lionel Meunier
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1620; Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Das ist je gewisslich wahr, SWV 277 by Heinrich Schütz
Conductor:  Lionel Meunier
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1630; Venice, Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Musicalische Exequien, Op. 7/SWV 279-81 by Heinrich Schütz
Conductor:  Lionel Meunier
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1636; Germany 
Length: 11 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Tabulatura nova, Book 1: Wir glauben all an einen Gott by Samuel Scheidt
Performer:  Bernard Foccroulle (Organ)
Conductor:  Lionel Meunier
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1624; Halle, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Musae Sioniae, Book 8: Mit Fried' und Freud' ich fahr' dahin by Michael Praetorius
Conductor:  Lionel Meunier
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1612; Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 28 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Musicalische Exequien (Schütz): Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt
Herr, nun lässet du deinen Diener in Friede Fahen, SWV 432 (Schütz)
Silent Night (Gruber)

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  4 Customer Reviews )
 Generally a fine performance December 20, 2018 By Robert D. (Somerville, MA) See All My Reviews "Overall a sensitive and balanced performance. Vocal quality is uniformly high, with appropriate organ continuo. The title work is a high point, although the recording engineer's balance of the two choirs in the concluding 'nunc dimittis' could be faulted. Two minor criticisms: (1) the director apparently failed to recognise the stile concitato writing in Track 4 (Das ist je gewißlich wahr); and (2) the inclusion of a unison Track 6 (Mit Fried und Freud fahr ich dahin) is musically incomprehensible and an utter waste of the group's considerable talents. Lovely disc nonetheless." Report Abuse
 Schuetz - Musikalische Exequien  January 8, 2013 By hans de Groot (Toronto, ON) See All My Reviews "I sang in the chorus for this marvellous work many years ago and here finally is a recording which does it full justice. Strongly recommended." Report Abuse
 An International Winner December 29, 2012 By Herschel V. Anderson Herschel V. Anderson (Tempe, AZ) See All My Reviews "Four of Schutz's funeral motetss and two organ solos (Samuel Schedt and Martin Luther) precede the title work, a funeral mass commissioned by prince Heinrich Posthumus von Reuss of Gera. Since the liturgical language used in all the sung works is that of the Lutheran tradition, these funerary works are joyful rather than sad. Vox Luminis, of Namur, Belgium, sings with clear and sparkling harmonies. Their recording engineers have carefully brought that crystal clear quality to this recording of early German Baroque music. Schutz studied under Gabrieli in Venice and was instrumental in bringing the Baroque style to his native Germany. This recording is so exemplary that it has won Gramaphone's 2012 "Recording of the Year" as well as the Baroque Vocal Gramophone Award. It has also won the International Classical Music Award. I recommend this recording as one of my ten most important choral recordings of 2012; its is elegantly beautiful." Report Abuse
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