Johann Hermann Schein (1586-1630)

Johann Herman Schein was Kantor of the Thomaskirche in Leipzig from 1616 to his death at age 44, in 1630. He published his collection of  “choral madrigals in the Italian style,” Israels Brunnlein (which includes Der Herr denket an uns) in 1623, exactly a century before Bach began his tenure in the same Leipzig position (serving for 27 years).  Partly because he was conceiving of these pieces more as madrigals than as motets, Schein’s writing in this collection exploited bold contrasts, wide vocal ranges, and unusual chord spacings.  Spontaneous detail and rich harmony interested Schein more than poised architectural designs. 

©John Harbison

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