Notes and Editorial Reviews
Hans-Christoph Rademann, dir; Dresden CCh
CARUS 83.350 (2 CDs: 94:32 Text and Translation)
Johann Hermann Schein (1586–1630) was the first to die of the three S’s, German composers born about the same time (Scheidt and Schütz lived full lives). He was Thomaskantor from 1615 to 1630, Bach being his fourth successor in 1723.
The Fountains of Israel
, published in Leipzig in 1623, is one of his better-known
collections, 26 German motets on texts mostly from the Old Testament written in the manner of the Italian madrigal (hence the alternate title,
). Martin Behrmann, Hermann Max (
13:6), and Manfred Cordes (28:5) have recorded complete sets, while Martin Flämig (19:3), Philippe Herreweghe (20:4), and Hans-Christoph Rademann (25:4) have recorded as many selections as a single disc would accommodate. This last name is important because Rademann has returned to the fray almost 12 years later to record the nine selections that he omitted the first time around. The full set is available here laid out in the published order, carefully noting the recording dates and the personnel (not the same members in the later sessions) for each track. Perhaps his passion for completeness was prompted by his recent endeavor to record the works of Schütz in complete sets.
Of these complete sets, Rademann matches the tempos of Manfred Cordes closely, while Hermann Max is considerably faster. Except for the Berhmann recording around 1975 and the Flämig, made in 1984, none of the newer, lighter versions have the heavy sound of a large choir, a shift in taste that marks recordings for the entire Baroque era. Rademann has even used a slightly smaller choir than he did in the earlier sessions, matching Max, who even reduced his forces to one voice to a part in five motets. Cordes used one voice to a part, about the same as Herreweghe. Everyone uses a small continuo group of instruments. But if Rademann uses a chamber choir, the tone is so light and flexible that it is competitive with the vocal ensembles. The other two CD sets have fillers, but this is a really lovely interpretation of Schein’s most important work.
FANFARE: J. F. Weber
In a review in 35:4 of an integral set of Schein’s Israels Brünnlein led by Hermann Max on Capriccio, I regretted that no truly first-rate complete cycle had yet made it to disc, finding both that version and the CPO set with Manfred Cordes to be technically first-class but interpretively somewhat uninvolved or too low-key. Well, there is a Deity who hears and answers prayer, for lo and behold this wonderful new set appeared soon after to fill the void. Actually, it is not entirely new; 17 of its 26 selections appeared on a single CD back in 2000 that was positively reviewed by J. F. Weber in 25:4. Almost exactly 12 years later, Rademann has now chosen to complete the set with the previously missing nine items. Despite the long interval of time, the corresponding changes in ensemble personnel (only two singers, a soprano and a bass, participated in both sets of sessions), and the use of different recording venues in Dresden (the Emmauskirche in 2000, the Konzertsaal der Hochschule für Musik in 2012), the two series of recordings match up seamlessly, with the acoustic of the year 2000 recordings being just a tad more resonant. Throughout the cycle Rademann employs three or four singers per part (soprano I and II, alto, tenor, and bass), with accompaniment on lute (2000) or theorbo (2012) plus violincello and organ. While perhaps still a hair’s breadth shy of the splendidly expressive disc of excerpts with Philippe Herreweghe and the Ensemble Vocale Européen on Harmonia Mundi, also reviewed and commended by Weber (20:4), this release is now easily a first choice for an integral set. It is far warmer, both acoustically and interpretively, than Cordes, and more vibrant than Max. Complete German-English texts are included. As with the ongoing series of Heinrich Schütz recordings by the same forces, Carus has done itself proud here; highly recommended.
FANFARE: James A. Altena Read less
Works on This Recording
Fontana d'Israel by Johann Hermann Schein
Dresden Chamber Choir
Written: by 1623; Germany
O Herr, ich bin dein Knecht
Freue dich des Weibes deiner Jugend
Dennoch bleibe ich stets an dir
Wende dich, Herr, und sei mir gnadig
Zion spricht, der Herr hat mich verlassen
Lieblich und schone sein ist nichts
Ist nicht Ephraim mein teurer Sohn
Unser Leben wahret siebnzig Jahr
Ihr Heiligen, lobsinget dem Herren
Siehe, nach Trost war mir sehr bange
Ach Herr, ach meiner schone
Was betrubst du dich, meine Seele
Wem ein tugendsam Weib bescheret ist
Ich bin die Wurzel des Geschlechtes David
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