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Schutz: St Matthew's Passion

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, October 23, 1997
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Product Details

  • Performer: Schutz, Wurttemberg Chamber Choir, Dieter Kurz
  • Audio CD (October 23, 1997)
  • Label: Point Classics
  • ASIN: B000009MI0
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #665,718 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Heinrich Schütz (1585 -1672) is often considered the most important German composer prior to J.S. Bach. He composed pieces in the secular and the sacred areas, including the first German opera, 'Dafne', which is unfortunately lost. A contemporary of Monteverdi, he also exists in the period of transition from medieval polyphony and Renaissance styles and the emerging Baroque era.

One of the interesting features of this Passion of St. Matthew is that it is an entirely choral piece. In the Dresden chapel, where many of Schütz's Passions were first performed, musical instruments were not permitted during Holy Week. Schütz proves himself a grand composer and a skilled dramatist with the play of the composition here. This is an austere work, with elements that are reminiscent of Gregorian chant and aspects that reach fuller expression in Handel and Bach later. Apart from the introductory and concluding words, Schütz uses only the biblical text.

This work was done late in life for Schütz, in 1666. He had been a court composer and sponsored composer for most of his life; trained in Italy, he had a style of combining German song and Italian opera elements together.

The Württemberg Chamber Choir, under the direction of Dieter Kurz, was founded in 1970. They are a group of 35 members who are church musicians and church school students. They have a good list of recordings, broadcasts and live performances to their credit. In 1982, they won a Chamber Choirs competition in London sponsored by the BBC. Director Dieter Kurz also serves as a professor in choir at the Stuttgart Staatliche Hochschule in addition to leading this group.

This is a beautiful recording of a lesser known piece - it is unfortunate that Schütz isn't better known, given the power of his compositions.
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