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Fanfare Magazine: 43:1 (09-10/2019) 
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Reviewer: J. F. Weber

Coming soon after the miscellaneous secular works reviewed herewith, this gives us the miscellaneous sacred works of Heinrich Schütz. Taking the unfamiliar works first, SWV 502 is Betrübte Herzen, titled Trostlied, a touching song of comfort, the only selection claimed to be a first recording. Indeed, it was written in 1647 on the death of the four-month-old son of a town councilor, and I was not even aware that it had been added to the SWV catalog. In addition, I have not found previous recordings of SWV 501 and SWV 467. The former is Mit dem Amphion zwar, funeral music for the composer’s wife, who died in 1625, at 16 minutes a moving solo performance by George Poplutz with continuo. The latter, Wo Gott, der Herr, based on Psalm 24, uses two sopranos and choir.

Seven other selections have only been recorded once. SWV 473 rightfully leads off the first disc, for this is a powerful setting of Psalm 127 for five soloists and choir. “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it” says it all, and its neglect is hard to understand. Werner Bittinger (in his SWV catalog) calls the five soloists a choir, making it a double-choir setting. It is followed on the disc by SWV 466, Herr, wer wird wohnen, a setting of Psalm 15 for two choirs, here sung by soloists. Both works can be dated before 1638 (Bittinger) or 1632 (in the notes). SWV 500 is An den Wasser zu Babel, Psalm 137, too new to be found in my copy of Bittinger. The first disc ends with SWV 462, Auf dich, Herr, traue ich, a setting of Psalm 7, another excellent double-chorus piece that has no liturgical assignment and cannot be dated at all. All four were recorded by Heinz Hennig (16:5) in the miscellaneous collection cited in the review of the secular disc.

The other three pieces recorded once before are on the second disc. SWV 448 is Gelobet seist du, the song of the three young men in the fiery furnace (Book of Daniel), recorded by Roland Wilson (37:1). Another inexplicably neglected work, this uses a choir of five solo voices. SWV 368, Fürstliche Gnade zu Wasser und Lande, is titled Danklied. Recorded only in the early miscellaneous collection of Dietrich Knothe (6:2), this was commissioned by the duke of Weimar for the birthday of the duchess, and the composer directed the performance at Weimar in 1647. Bittinger describes the forces as voice with two instruments, but this performance divides the solo among four voices. SWV 338 is Teutonium dudum belli, recorded only in Manfred Cordes’s miscellany (21:6), coupled with its companion SWV 49 below.

There are two familiar works here. SWV 443, Weib, was weinest du? is the Easter dialogue between the risen Savior and Mary Magdalen beginning “Woman, why do you weep?” It has been recorded at least eight times, most recently by Manfred Cordes and Matteo Messori. It is dated around 1624, just after the composer’s longer setting of the Resurrection Story (SWV 50), which included the interpolated narration of the Evangelist. Sämann, Stosiek, Poplutz, and Mäthger are a superb group of soloists (yes, four voices for a dialogue). In its present state, the dialogue is a fragment of a longer work. SWV 51, Das ist mir lieb, is well known as one of 16 settings of the psalm commissioned by Burckhard Grossmann and published by Johann Weidner in 1623. It is in the Cordes collection, and the complete set of 16 settings was recorded by Wolfgang Helbich (20:1); these two are among six previous recordings of this work.

Three works have had three recordings each, and all are in the miscellaneous collections. SWV 475, Veni Sancte Spiritus, is in Hennig’s; SWV 442, Tugend ist der beste Freund, is in Knothe and Cordes; and SWV 49, En novus Elisiis (titled Syncharma Musicum), is in Hennig and Cordes. The last piece belongs to the same occasion as SWV 338 (above), but it is the more dazzling of the two, sometimes dividing into triple choir, splendidly sung here. Both marked the submission in 1621 of Silesian estates to the emperor, represented for the occasion by Johann Georg I of Saxony. Veni Sancte Spiritus, the sequence for Pentecost dated around 1614, is set for four choirs, while Tugend ist der beste Freund, another text by Martin Opitz, is a madrigal set for two voices and two instruments.


Four works have each been recorded twice. Vater Abraham, SWV 477, the rich man’s appeal after seeing Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham, is such a powerful setting that it is hard to understand its neglect, yet it has been recorded only by Jacques Grimbert (4:3) and Roland Wilson (21:1). It is scored for five soloists and choir, but the bass (with strings) and the tenor (with winds) carry the main dialogue. SWV 449, Herr, unser Herrscher, is a setting of Psalm 8 for five soloists and a choir dating before 1625. SWV 461, Herr, der du bist vormals, sets Psalm 85 for a similar aggregation. SWV 465, Da pacem, Domine, leading off the second disc, performed in Mühlhausen in 1627, is an interesting acclamation of the seven imperial electors (the duke of Saxony is one of them, of course), one choir singing the antiphon, the other singing the acclamations. The last three pieces are all in the Cordes miscellany.


In sum, two of these 19 pieces are on the Knothe disc, nine are on Hennig’s, and five are on Cordes’s. In addition to Rademann’s uniformly fine performances, the three discs on these last two issues of the Carus series can be recommended because they are a remarkably complete traversal of Schütz’s miscellaneous compositions. (Remember, there are 20 other pieces of this type scattered as fillers among six other issues in the series, in addition to the seven well-known major works.) The Schütz-Edition of 28 CDs in 20 volumes lacks another dozen discs to complement the single disc of Becker Psalms, but that is not in the cards. There are competing versions of most of the published books, some comparing favorably with Rademann, but in the end Rademann overwhelms the rest by the completeness of his survey. This last entry is especially dominant over the small and scattered number of alternatives. Vol. 20 is recommended unreservedly to every Sagittarian.

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