Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672)

Heinrich Schütz published his Geistliche Chormusik in 1648. It is a summary of the musical and textual preoccupations of the last half of his compositional career. It is music at the highest level; only Bach, Mozart, Beethoven or Stravinsky at their peak (you can name your own pantheon) have matched the inspiration, variety, formal resourcefulness, and depth of this music. In "Tröstet, tröstet mein Volk" Schütz moves quickly through many words. The geography of Isaiah’s verses is graphically rendered – the road in the desert – the shape of the mountains. The uneven is made straight, the rough, plain. But it all happens quickly; the piece leaps past, challenging us to keep up.

©John Harbison

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