Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672)

Texts of St. Augustine figure prominently in Schütz' first great motet collection, Cantiones Sacrae. The luminous and glowing text for the Ascension, "Supereminet omnem scientiam," brings forth from Schütz one of his greatest Latin language settings. The whole of Cantiones Sacrae is very influenced by Schütz second Italian journey. Here the liquid and madrigal-like lines even have choral "trillos," an early Baroque vocal ornament. While the harmonic language is very chromatic, the chromaticism is of soft-edged and very un-threatening variety. The portrayal of the great mystery at the beginning of the second section is one of the most profound things in all of Schütz.

©Craig Smith

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