Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672)

Published in 1647, "Herr, unser Herrscher" is one of the grandest or the concertos for solo voice found in the 2nd book of the Symphoniae Sacrae by Heinrich Schütz. The piece opens in imitative triple-time, the two solo violins in gracious partnership with the solo voice. Throughout, Schütz spares no opportunity for dazzling showmanship on the part of the three soloists. The references to "moon and stars" – "den Monden und die Sternen" – and other allusions to the natural world, seem to inspire particularly fiery writing. Note the stuttering insecurity with which the composer sets the words: "Was ist...?" Finally, the opening text returns with the same musical material - like a courtly bookend - in stately triple meter.

©Michael Beattie

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