Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672)

After the splendor of Schütz' early works, particularly the Psalms of David, the austerity of the Kleine Geistliche Konzerte is surprising. The horrors of the Thirty Years' War so decimated church music all over Germany that the refulgence of the 1619 Psalms would have been impossible in 1636, the year of the first book of Kleine Geistliche Konzerte. Any great composer makes good use of the limitations placed upon him, and these works are just as treasurable as the larger earlier works. "Das Blut Jesu Christi," for two sopranos, baritone, and continuo, is a meditation on the purity of Jesus' blood. Its counterpoint is almost Bachian in its thoroughness and detail.

©Craig Smith

Back to Other Notes & Translations