Schütz: the Teacher
Thursday, 17 March, 2022 at 11 am (doors open @ 10:30am)
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
Schütz’s influence on the next generation of performers and composers was profound; this program explores the music, instrumental and sung, of some of his students, including Matthias Weckmann, Johann Kerll and Johann Krieger, names now rarely heard but who nevertheless wrote music of profound beauty.
Johann Crüger (1598 - 1662)
from Geistliche Kirchen-Melodien
Wie schöne leucht der Morgenstern
Johann Vierdanck (1605 - 1646)
Sonata à 2 Violini soli
Stehe auf meine Freundin
Johann-Caspar Kerll (1627-1693)
Sonata à due in F Major
Johann Philipp Krieger (1649 - 1725)
O Jesu, du mein Leben
Matthias Weckmann (1616-1674)
Sonata No. 2 à 4
Angelicus coeli chorus
Johann Theile (1646 - 1724)
Sonate à 4 in C major
Johann Rudolf Ahle (1625 - 1673)
Oster- oder Auffahrtsfreude
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.
Heinrich Schütz (1575-1672), arguably the first German composer to achieve true international
renown, was equally influential as a teacher. Many of his students, several of whom feature on this
program, went on to important court and church appointments from which they propagated
Schütz’s musical legacy of increasingly intricate counterpoint, expressive text-setting, and Italianate
melodies to future generations of German composers.
Johann Crüger (1598-1662) travelled extensively in his youth before settling in Berlin to study
theology. Crüger published several major collections of Lutheran church chorales in which he
compiled and arranged chorales already in use and included his own original compositions. His
Praxis Pietatis Melica (Practice of Piety in Song), first published in 1647, was perhaps the most influential
and widely re-published anthology of chorales in the 17 th century (certainly, it was more popular than
Schütz’s own efforts in the genre). Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern is drawn from Crüger’s Geistliche
Kirchen-Melodien (Sacred Church Melodies), published in 1649, in which he arranged chorales from Praxis
Pietatis for four voices with instrumental obbligato and thoroughbass. He was one of the first
German composers to add a non-thoroughbass/continuo instrument to the chorale; this practice
soon became widespread.
Johann Vierdanck (1605-1646) became a choirboy at the Dresden Hofkapelle in 1616 where he
studied composition, violin, and cornett. Schütz, the music director at the time, described the young
Vierdanck as “a fine, modest person […] making a very good, solid beginning in composition.”
Vierdanck wrote extensively for violin and brought notable innovations to the genre of instrumental
music. His first publication, a 1637 collection of works for violin and continuo, was a significant
early example of the instrumental suite, and his second publication, in 1641, in which Sonata à 2
violini soli appears, contains striking early examples of violin duets without continuo. His sacred
motet Stehe auf, meine Freundin, a setting of the Song of Songs, alternates a homophonic ritornello
with contrapuntal verses.
Johann-Caspar Kerll (1627-1693) was widely known in his lifetime as a keyboard player and
composer of keyboard and sacred music. He is relatively unknown today, in part due to the loss of
most of his music, including dozens of operas and oratorios. Kerll was particularly renowned for his
mastery of counterpoint. Nowhere is this more evident than in his scintillating Passacaglia, one of the
first examples of the genre by a German composer. In it, he combined German counterpoint with
the passacaglia form (a series of variations in triple meter over a descending bass line) he had
encountered while studying in Rome. His surviving instrumental music, including the Sonata à tre, is
characterized by extensive use of imitative counterpoint. Kerll’s keyboard music was studied by later
German composers, including J.S. Bach, and G.F. Handel, both of whom would incorporate Kerll’s
melodies into their own works.
Like Kerll, Johann Philipp Krieger (1649-1725) was widely known in his lifetime but was
eventually forgotten as most of his music—including over 2000 church cantatas—was lost.
Following study sojourns in Rome and Venice, he played for Emperor Leopold I and was so
impressive that the Emperor ennobled him and all his siblings. Krieger contributed to the
development of the German church cantata with his introduction of the Italian practice of using
original religious texts in addition to the traditional Bible verses. His cantatas, including O Jesu, du
mein Leben, are characterized by the then-innovative combined use of recitative, arias, and chorales.
Matthias Weckmann (1616-1674) exhibited significant musical talent from a young age and was
sent to study with Schütz at the chapel of the Elector of Dresden when he was around 12 years old.
He progressed rapidly under Schütz’s attentive mentorship, and at the age of 17, on Schütz’s
recommendation, the Elector sponsored his studies in Hamburg. Weckmann was attentive to the
works of his contemporaries and maintained an extensive collection of autograph manuscripts, many
of which contain his own annotations (and occasional critical remarks about sloppy counterpoint).
His mastery of counterpoint is evident in his Sonata a 4, which weaves together oboe, violin,
trombone, bassoon, and continuo. His vocal writing, demonstrated in Angelicus coeli, is characterized
by his combination of expressive, Italianate text setting, probably adopted from Schütz, and the use
of imitative counterpoint, adopted from his teachers in Hamburg.
Johann Theile’s (1646-1724) original life plan was to become a lawyer, and in fact he was a law
student at the University of Leipzig from 1666 to 1672. However, he does not seem to have been
particularly attentive to his legal studies, as during that time he also studied composition with Schütz,
published his song books, and busily cultivated musical connections. These would lead him first to
Lübeck, where he was great friends with the composers Dietrich Buxtehude and Johann Adam
Reincken, and then to the court of the Duke of Holstein-Gottorp, in Schleswig, where he served as
Kapellmeister. He remained there until 1685, before taking positions in Wolfenbüttel and then
Merseburg. In addition to a substantial output of sacred and secular music, some of which has been
lost, he was a prominent teacher and published several well-regarded treatises on counterpoint. His
mastery of invertible counterpoint was such that his contemporaries called him “the father of
contrapuntists.” His ease in interweaving complex melodies is on display in his Sonata à 4 in C,
scored for two violins, trombone, bassoon, and continuo.
The bulk of Johann Rudolf Ahle’s (1625-1673) output was sacred vocal music. His first and only
major post was as organist at St. Blasius in Mühlhausen, a position he would hold until his death and
in which he would be succeeded first by his son and then by J.S. Bach in 1706. His style hewed
towards traditional Protestant church music rather than novelty. He had the stated goal of
“revitalizing” sacred music, and to this end he composed sacred songs for one to four voices that
featured an instrumental ritornello introduction and interlude between each sung stanza. Oster-Oder
Auffahrtsfreude is representative of this genre.
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DAVID & PEP GROOS FUND FOR VOCAL MUSIC, VICTORIA FOUNDATION
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GETTING TO ALIX GOOLDEN PERFORMANCE HALL
Patrons must enter the venue from 900 Johnson St.
The VCM parking lot is reserved for staff and faculty at all times. Street parking and public lots are available within short walking distance.