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Schütz is generally regarded as the most important German composer before Johann Sebastian Bach and often considered to be one of the most important composers of the 17th century. He wrote what is traditionally considered to be the first German opera, Dafne, performed at Torgau in 1627, the music of which has since been lost.

Schütz was spotted by the Landgrave Moritz von Hessen-Kassel who heard him singing at his father's inn. The Landgrave persuaded Schütz's parents to send him to Kassel as a choirboy and thence to Marburg to study law and Venice to study music under Gabrielli. Gabrieli is the only person Schütz ever referred to as being his teacher. On his return from Venice, Schütz was organist at Kassel from 1613 to 1615. Schütz moved to Dresden and stayed there for the rest of his life. He went back to Venice in 1628 and possibly met Monteverdi. He also had two stays in Denmark. Schütz died in Dresden from a stroke in 1672 at the age of 87

Heinrich Schütz's compositions show the influence of his two main teachers, Gabrieli (displayed most notably with Schütz's use of resplendent polychoral and concertato styles) and Monteverdi. Additionally, the influence of the Netherlandish composers of the 16th century is also prominent in his work. Schütz was of great importance in bringing new musical ideas to Germany from Italy. The style of the north German organ school derives largely from Schütz (as well as from Netherlander Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck); a century later this music was to culminate in the work of J.S. Bach.

Schütz was one of the last composers to write in a modal style, with non-functional harmonies often resulting from the interplay of voices; contrastingly, much of his music shows a strong tonal pull when approaching cadences. His music makes extensive use of imitation, in which entries often come in irregular order and at varied intervals. Fairly characteristic of Schütz's writing are intense dissonances caused by two or more voices moving correctly through dissonances against the implied harmony.

 

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There are lots of good recordings of Schütz sacred music, I personally enjoy Konrad Junghanel and Manfred Cordes:





I also own the ones previously mentioned and I have a great admiration for Concerto Palatino, this is my favourite recording of Symphoniae Sacrae I. Concerto Palatino is one of the best today's wind ensembles of later renaissance/early baroque periods and has great cornettists.
 

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When Brahms was studying counterpoint, he gave a doff of the cap to Schutz in his Motet Op. 110, No. 1, Ich Aber Bin Elend, where at the end, on Gott, deine Hilfeschutze mich, he emphasizes "Schutz." (I'm not making this up; I found this in a peer-reviewed article.)
 

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It is not surprising really, Brahms made an intense study of Gabrieli and Schutz in the 1880s and Op 110 was written in 1889. The 1880s saw the start of the publication of the complete works of Schutz by Spitta and Brahms copied out numerous works from this edition. In his notes to his Brahms symphony cycle, John Eliot Gardiner mentions the influence of Schutz and includes a piece by Schutz - Saul, Saul, was verfolgst du mich - and Brahms' Op 109 for comparison.

Unfortunately I only have one recording of Op 110, Simon Preston conducting the New English Singers and in the concluding line of No 1 they put the emphasis on 'mich'.
 

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Recently I was pleased to discover Herreweghe has recorded a fair amount of his music, I just came across this recording hitherto unknown to me. One can certainly hear some of the influences you've described in this beautiful work.

This is awfully good, isn't it?
 

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I wouldn't have known of Schutz's music, but for my neighbour who is a cantrix at the Church. I went to watch them sing at a local church last Christmas period. A beautiful 1930s church which has sice been sold for flats... They sang the music in the video below (though that isn't them). I read it on the programme, which was also provided with music to follow, and investigated it upon arriving home.

 

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Italianate Heinrich Schutz is just one of many strains of style emerging in Germanic lands during 17th century, I have noticed that smooth harmony style introduced by Sweelinck`s students like Samuel Scheidt and Hermann Schein also left deep marks in german music. German music represents the merge of the two strains of style before the influence of Lully, which was going to be a major influence in later 17th century.

There is also one important, gifted learner of Monteverdian style who further developed it into fuller baroque cantata, one Alessandro Grand(1575?-1630). Rene Jacobs produced a record fully dedicated to his motets+cantatas on DHM. Font Art Circle Musical instrument History
Just one comment, You must get this disc. :)

It would be interesting to compare Alessandro to Heinrich`s music.
 
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