Heinrich Schütz (1685-1750)

Heinrich Schütz stands as a major figure in the development of music, synthesising the German and Italian traditions on the path that led to and beyond the creative work of JS Bach. Coincidentally, Schütz was born exactly 100 years before Bach and lived to the great age of 87, dying in Dresden where he had spent so much of his working life as Kapellmeister. The second volume of Symphoniae Sacrae from which this piece is taken was published when Schütz was 62. It shows the influence of the Italian school, in particular the music and philosophy of Claudio Monteverdi in Venice, whom Schütz visited when he was 43. Not that this was Schütz’ first visit to Italy. Some twenty years earlier, he had been to study with Giovanni Gabrieli, and the influence of the Venetian church music style was already absorbed into Schütz’s music. The new characteristics that he found in his later visit are those of Monteverdi’s stile concitato. Indeed, one of the other pieces in the Symphoniae Sacrae II (Es steb’ Gott auf) is an adaptation of Monteverdi’s Armato il cor and Zefiro torna.