, SWV 279-281.
Das ist je gewisslich war
, SWV 388.
Gesang der drei Männer in feurigen Ofen
, SWV 448.
Das Wort ward Fleisch
, SWV 385.
, SWV 432 and 433 (two settings).
Suite No. 10
Rainer Johannes Homburg, cond; Stuttgarter Hymnus-Chorknaben; Roland Wilson, cond; Musica Fiata
MDG 90217846 (SACD: 62:22
Text and Translation)
The big news is the first recording (as the notes correctly state) of the song of the three young men in the fiery furnace (from the Book of Daniel), which existed only in a manuscript dated 1652, lost in World War II, and in Spitta’s print edition of 1893. Even if the manuscript was not an autograph, there is little excuse for ignoring this interesting piece for so long. The main work is the familiar funeral music, often recorded (as here) with a selection of music on similar themes. The Schein piece is found in
, and another instrumental piece is by Hans Hake, a little-known composer, a contemporary of the other two, whose dates are unknown. This is Hake’s first appearance on my shelf. He was a municipal musician of Stade, and later of Hamburg, who wrote this eight-part piece for violins and trombones in 1643. Three of the Schütz pieces, SWV 388, 432, and 433, are also rendered instrumentally.
That leaves, in addition to the funeral music, two other sung works. The short excerpt from the prologue to St. John’s gospel (SWV 385) is found in
. The text from the Book of Daniel is more extended at nine minutes of praise to the Lord, a sort of litany with a series of invocations and a constant refrain. It is similar in structure to Psalm 135 (136), which Schütz set twice. Walter Werbeck (in the notes) sees this piece as displaying a development of style that places it later than the
Kleine geistliche Konzerte
of 1636/39. That, as it happens, is around the date of the funeral music, 1635. This main work on the program was most recently recorded under Hans-Christoph Rademann (35:6) and Lionel Meunier (35:2). Meunier also included sung versions of SWV 432 and 433, the canticle of Simeon that Schütz also set as the final movement of the funeral music. The choir of men and boys with the prominent brass of the ensemble makes a forceful performance of the funeral music, in contrast to several more restrained interpretations.
The Stuttgart boys’ choir has been in existence since 1900. It recorded in the early stereo era under Gerhard Wilhelm, notably a set of Bach motets for Vox. Here the soloists are named and their ages given (from 12 to 24), for even the tenors and basses of the choir are young graduates of the boys’ choir. The choir has a distinctive sound, not as edgy as the boys from Tölz. It also contrasts with other boys’ choirs that are heard in Schütz works, such as the Dresden Kreuzchor, which is a larger formation. Roland Wilson’s instrumental ensemble from Cologne has been familiar more recently in a variety of baroque works. His group has recorded Schütz with the Hannover boys’ choir and the adult Stuttgart Chamber Choir, but this seems to be their first collaboration with this choir. The surround sound provides only a trace of ambiance from the rear speakers, and the specifications indicate that a Super Audio or any other multichannel player will produce either 5.1 or 2+2+2 sound. This is a varied and interesting program, valuable for the single premiere recording, but among recent recordings of Schütz I lean toward the funeral music in Rademann’s ongoing series. His interpretations are stylish and his series promises to be valuable.
J. F. Weber