Schütz – Kleine geistliche Konzerte II; Little Masterpieces

Schütz published his second volume of “little spiritual concerts” in 1639, three years after the first. It’s a remarkable collection of sacred works, full of inventiveness and variety.

Schütz spent some time in Venice studying with Giovanni Gabrielli. There are some indications he also studied with — or at least studied the music of — Claudio Monteverdi. The works in this volume show Monteverdi’s predilection for illustrating text with music.

The Holy Spirit is depicted in long, drawn-out tones — appropriate for the Breath of God. Basses sing at their extreme low register to illustrate the depths of despair. A quickening of the heart prompts a flurry of rapid 16th note passages, and so on.

Like Monteverdi, Schütz doesn’t let the text shape the music superficially. Each work has an emotional center that’s paramount to understanding the import of the text.

The program groups the pieces by theme: Christmastide, Easter, God’s Love, etc. When I listened straight through, it was as if I was hearing a series of suites rather than a parade of very short selections.

The selections are beautifully sung. There’s a quiet intimacy to these works that Ludger Rémy and his musicians successfully capture. It would be his final recording in this series before Rémy’s death. It’s an appropriate legacy.

Heinrich Schütz
Kleine geistliche Konzerte II
Complete recording, Vol. 17 
Gerlinde Sämann, Isabel Schicketanz, Maria Stosiek, David Erler, Georg Poplutz, Tobias Mäthbger, Tobias Berndt, Felix Schandtke, Ludger Rémy 
Carus 83.271

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