Les Escapades revive Georg Christoph Strattner sacred music

Georg Christoph Strattner is best remembered today for some of his hymn tunes. But in the late 1690s, he was a well-respected composer of many forms of sacred music. Strattner spent most of his professional life at the court chapel at Weimar. Like Heinrich Schutz, who was of the previous generation, Strattner blended the ideals of protestant simplicity with the beauty of the Italian baroque.

This release features seven of his hymns. These are not four-square melodies set to block harmonies. Many of the selections strongly resemble Italian arias and some late-period madrigals.

Strattner uses chromaticism effectively, giving an edge to the emotional content of the text. He’s also not afraid to use counterpoint. And some of the vocal lines veer close to intricate ornamentation.

And yet Strattner hues the ideal of clarity and simplicity of Luther’s church. There may be polyphony, but all lines are easy to follow.

Even when the entire ensemble is playing, the texture is transparent. This is simpler music than Schutz’s, and in some ways, it points towards the arias of Bach’s sacred works.

The soloists are first-rate. Individually and collectively they sing with a crystalline clarity. The ensemble blend is wonderful.

Les Escapades compliments the vocalists effectively. This is a small group of musicians, as would have been assembled for a court chapel.

Not a lot of Strattner’s music has survived. Based on what I heard here, I hope more will be recorded.

Georg Christoph Strattner
Ich will deh Herrn loben allezeit: Sacred Concertos
Miriam Feuersinger, Monika Mauch, soprano; Alexander Schneider, alto; Daniel Schriber, tenor; Markus Flaig, bass
Les Escapades; Cosimo Stawiarski, director
Christophorus CHR 77454

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