Sunday, 3 February 2008

46. Heinrich Schutz - The Christmas Story (c. 1660)


Title: Christmas Vespers
Performer: Gabrielli Consort and Players
Director: Paul McCreesh
Year: 1998-99
Length: Around 35 minutes


This is a piece which is really interesting in the way that it prefigures the work of Bach, namely his Passions, it is a kind of Oratorio on the birth of Christ, and it does have a lot in common with what Germans would be doing in the next century.

This is never as grandiose as any of Bach's Passions, and it is of course much shorter, but it does have some subtlety that is perhaps lost in the epic Passions. This is a quite smart work in its use of instrumentation in order to represent the various characters being mentioned in the story.

Schutz makes excellent use of recitative in order to link all the different Intermediums which work as Arias here, sometimes choral and sometimes sung by a soloist. In the end the work is not particularly impressive but it is giving us a taste of things to come, and for that it is an important recording performed flawlessly as always by Paul McCreesh and the Gabrielli Consort & Players.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Almost no secular music by Sch├╝tz has survived, save for a few domestic songs (arien) and no purely instrumental music at all (unless one counts the short instrumental movement entitled "sinfonia" that encloses the dialogue of Die sieben Worte), even though he had a reputation as one of the finest organists in Germany.

Some kids sing Schutz:

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