Magazine article Gramophone

Schein: Cymbalum Sionium-Selections

Magazine article Gramophone

Schein: Cymbalum Sionium-Selections

Article excerpt


Cymbalum Sionium--selections

La Capella Ducale; Musica Fiata / Roland Wilson

Deutsche Harmonia Mundi [F] 88875 05144-2

(76' * DDD * T/t)

Schiitz's close friend Johann Hermann Schein (1586-1630) was Thomaskantor in Leipzig, where the juggling of classroom teaching, musical responsibilities and fending off opposition from unsympathetic local dignitaries was similar to Bach's experiences in the same job a century later. Musica Fiata's rotating assorted instrumentalists and the eight singers of La Capella Ducale present a selection of 15 cantiones sacrae from Cymbalum Sionium (1615), an anthology of music written before Schein's Leipzig years but which already indicates his fusion of Lutheran church music traditions and progressive Italianate styles.

These range in scale from madrigalian six-part psalms up to grand Venetian-style polychoral motets, such as the thrilling 12-part Easter motet Quem quaeris Magdalena that concludes the programme. The Christmas motet Ebr sein Gott in der Hob' allein uses high solo voices separated by a little distance (and accompanied by plucked instruments) to illustrate the angels singing to the shepherds, whereas the remarks of the worshippers below are reinforced rustically by low instruments. …

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