Schütz: the Influencer
Saturday, March 19, 2022, at 8 pm (doors open at 7:30 pm)
Alix Goolden Performance Hall
Marc Destrubé, director
Kathryn Wiebe, violin
Natalie Mackie, viola da gamba
Marco Vitale, harpsichord & organ
Jeremy Berkman, sackbut
Robert Fraser, sackbut
Katrina Russell, dulcian
Isolde Roberts-Welby, soprano
Alana Hayes, alto
Clayton Butler, tenor,
Rowan McWilliams, bass
Aside from his visits to Italy and a brief sojourn in Copenhagen, Schütz spent most of his working life at the Saxon court in Dresden, and his presence there was essential to establishing a distinctive German style of writing for organ and for voices. He also wrote the first German opera (now lost). Restrictions to musical activity brought about by the Thirty Years War meant that much of his output during that time was for small forces, with single voices and a small instrumental ensemble being the norm.
Heinrich Schütz (1585 - 1672)
from Die sieben Worte Jesu Christi am Kreuz, SWV 478 (1645)
Johann Michael Nicolai (1629 - 1685)
Sonata à 2 in C major
Johann Paul Westhoff (1656 - 1705)
from 2 Pièces parues dans 'Le Mercure Galant'
Violin Sonata in E Major - A Major ‘La Guera’
Andreas Oswald (1634 - 1665)
Sonata à 3 for violin, sackbut, dulcian
Anonymous (Attr. to Heinrich Scheidemann, 1595 - 1663)
Pavana Lachrymæ WV 106
Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1644 - 1704)
Sonatina for viola da gamba and basso continuo
from Symphoniae sacrae II, Op.10
Was betrübst du dich, meine Seele, SWV 353
Daniel Speer (1636 - 1707)
from Grund-richtiger Unterricht der Musicalischen Kunst
Sonata in D major for viola da gamba, bassoon and basso continuo
from Symphoniae sacrae II, Op.10
Es steh Gott auf, SWV 356
from Kleine geistliche Konzerte,Op. 9
Herr ich hoffe darauf, SWV 312, arranged for dulcian and 2 sackbuts
from Symphoniae sacrae III, Op.12,
Feget den alten Sauerteig aus, SWV 404
This concert is generously supported by
Olive Olio's Pasta & Espresso Bar
and Russell Nursery
COVID SAFETY PROTOCOLS:
The health and safety of our patrons, musicians, staff, and volunteers is of paramount concern. Please see below to read the steps we are taking to ensure everyone's safety while enjoying the concert:
Please wear a mask at all times when inside the building.
Please allow for 2 meters distance between parties when moving to or from your seat.
Please do your best to exit promptly at the end of the concert.
Proof of vaccination and valid ID is required for persons aged 12 and older to access this event.
The exact timeframe and circumstances of the composition of Heinrich Schütz’s (1585-1672)
oratorio Die Sieben Worte Jesu Christi am Kreuz (The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross) are shrouded
in mystery. It was lost until the 1850s, when the original partbooks were rediscovered. It is thought
to have been composed in the mid-1640s. It would have been written for a Holy Week service, in
the lead-up to Easter. The scoring is of particular interest, as tradition dictated that no instruments
be used in church during Holy Week; only in the early 1640s did composers begin to defy this. The
Introitus and Sinfonia are performed here by two violins and two trombones with basso continuo. The
The Sinfonia is rather unusual: the instruments, left unspecified in the score, are given expressive,
emotional lines more stylistically like vocal lines than idiomatic to any particular instrument.
Little is known of the early life of Johann Michael Nicolai (1629-1685), save that he received
training of the highest level in Thuringia. He was employed as a multi-instrument musician in the
court of the Duke of Save-Lauenburg and later the Stuttgart court. The Sonata à 2 in C (published in
1662) is representative of his compositional style. It is lively, with extensive use of imitative
counterpoint. Each movement is a variation on the same theme. This mono-thematicism was also
characteristic of Nicolai’s work.
Johann Paul Westhoff (1656-1705) was one of the leading violinists of his day. He spent most of
his career as a member of the Dresden Hofkapelle, an ensemble Schütz directed from 1615-1672.
Though Westhoff only took the post in 1674, his father had also been employed by the Hofkapelle,
so the younger Westhoff may have known Schütz. As a violinist, Westhoff was particularly known
for his sophisticated left-hand technique and facility with double stops. This virtuosity is reflected is
his Sonata La Guerra, originally published in the Parisian literary gazette Le Mercure Galant. The
Sonata’s nine contrasting movements display both flashy musical fireworks and emotional lyricism.
Though Andreas Oswald (1634-1665) was employed primarily as an organist, first at the court of
Weimar and later in the town of Eisenach, in his lifetime he was reputed to be an equally fine
virtuoso violinist. His music was lost until the mid-1990s, when a the Partiturbuch Ludwig, compiled in
1662 and containing hundreds of instrumental works, was rediscovered. His Sonata à 3 for violin,
sackbut and dulcian uses extensive imitative counterpoint.
The anonymous Pavana Lachrymae is a harpsichord variation based on the English composer John
Downland’s (1563-1626) lute song Flow My Tears. It is in the form of a pavane, a 16 th century Italian
processional dance characterized by a staid, grave mood. Flow My Tears was incredibly popular in
Germany in the 1620s and 1630s, and multiple keyboardists used it as a starting point for their own
variations. Heinrich Scheidemann (1595-1663) is the probable composer. He was familiar with
English music via his teacher, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621), and wrote a definitively
attributed song variation in a very similar style to the Pavana Lachrymae.
If Oswald was a virtuoso violinist and Westhoff was one of the leading violinists of his day, then
Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1644-1704) was the leading violin virtuoso of his era, as well as a
first-rate composer. The Sonatina for viola da gamba and basso continuo was originally attributed to
Biber’s contemporary Augustinus Kertzinger, but has more recently been deemed Biber’s work. It
has a free, improvisatory character and mercurial changes of mood between sections, and allows the
gambist to display their own virtuosity.
Daniel Speer (1636-1707) was primarily known as a music theorist and author. His Sonata in D
Major for viola da gamba, bassoon and basso continuo is drawn from his music theory treatise Grund-richtiger
Unterricht der Musicalischen Kunst (Instruction in the Correct Fundamentals of Musical Art), which included
many keyboard, wind, and string instrumental works of his own composition. It is today considered
to be a useful source of examples of the musical practices in contemporary Southern Germany.
Schütz’s Symphoniae sacrae II, his second set of sacred concerti for solo voices and instrumental
obbligato, was published in Dresden in 1647. Though his first set of Symphoniae sacrae were popular
in Germany, they were often performed in German translation, rather than the Latin Schütz had
originally set. Perhaps to avoid this, the second and third sets would all be on German texts. Both
Was betrübst du dich, meine Seele and Es steh auf Gott are set for two voices, two violins, and continuo.
Was betrübst du dich alternates sections of slower, more melodic and even meditative writing, and
brisk, energetic sections, while Es steh auf Gott is notable for its extensive use of complex melismas,
and demanding, virtuosic vocal writing.
Schütz’s Kleine geistliche Konzerte, Op. 9 (1639) (Small Sacred Concertos) were written at a time when, due
to the lingering hardships of the Thirty Years’ War, Schütz did not have access to the same number
of musicians he had previously enjoyed. He shifted his output to smaller scale works with simple
scoring. This made them accessible to smaller churches that did not have access to many musicians
even at the best of times, and his Kleine geistliche Konzerte were popular throughout Germany. Herr ich
hoffe darauf, originally for two sopranos and continuo, is arranged here for two sackbuts and dulcian.
The lines are closely intertwined, particularly in the declamatory middle section, as the parts tumble
over each other eagerly.
For Schütz, the late 1640s marked a return to more elaborate scoring. Symphoniae Sacrae III, published
in 1650, is a culmination of Schütz’s melding of Italian musical techniques, learned from Gabrieli
and Monteverdi and cultivated over a lifetime, with German sacred music. In the Italian tradition
Schütz was adapting, the vocal parts and instrumental obbligato parts would have been kept
separate, with the latter sounding only in instrumental sinfonias that framed vocal sections. In Feget
den alten Sauerteig aus, for four voices, two violins, and continuo, Schütz includes traditional sinfonia
sections, but often treats the two violin parts similarly to the vocal lines and integrates them into the
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GETTING TO ALIX GOOLDEN PERFORMANCE HALL
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