St. John Passion SWV 481
Passions-Motetten SWV 53-60
Leitung: Rupert Gottfried Frieberger (Orgel)
Evangelist: Martin Steidler
Jesus: Christoph Prinz
Susanne Lebloch, Sopran (Magd)
Ursula Katzlinger, Alt
James Curry, Tenor (Judas, Pilatus)
Victor Lebloch, Bass (Knecht)
========= from the cover ==========
Heinrich Schutz St. John Passion
The tradition of singing the passion in Dresden most likely originated with Johann Walther. In 1561 Antonius Scandellus wrote his St. John Passion for Dresden; a Dresden passion by Rogier Michael has been lost. Other compositionsas well presumably found theitway into the practice; for example, in 1621 Samuel Besler revised the Scandellus passion (with the addition of a fifth voice).
One may assume that the passions Heinrich Schutz first had performed in Dresden came from this repertoire. Customarily (according to the rules of the worship service from 1681) the St. John Passion was sung on Palm Sunday and the St. Matthew Passion on Good Friday. Schutz composed in his later creative years three passions: if a reason for this is sought, it might be found in the court diaries of the electoral prince Johann Georg II. Here for the first time it is mentioned that a passion was to be sung on Judica Sunday, Palm Sunday and on Good Friday - thus, that three passions were suddenly needed. This corresponds on the one hand to Martin Luther's demand in his "formula missae" that the passions should not be sung on the workdays of the Easter Week - because they are days of working - on the other hand, to a pre-Reformation custom of singing the passions according to biblical order. In 1 665 the diary reports that"... the Passion according to St. John was sung in the new setting by Kapellmeister (musical director) Heinrich Schutz". This leads to the presumption that this work was probably written in this yea rand that Prince Johann Georg II had given the decisive impulse for the composition of the passions just as he had done previously in the cases of the preparation of the Becker Psalter and the composition of the Weihnachtshistorie (Christmas Story).
The St. John Passion of Schutz is distinguished by the tenor of the evangelist's role in deuterus, the third and fourth modes of the octoechos on b/c and g/a, whereby it is also possible to interpret f as a possible tenor (this is not without reference to Gregorian models). The monophonic, unaccompanied "recitatives" (which actually have a chorale cantor function) are enriched through number symbolism (for example, "Es ist voll-bracht" ("It is finished") with the seven tone melisma on the word "ist": seven is the number symbolizing "completion", "perfection"). The choruses are distinguished on the one hand by an outlining of the speech melody and on the other hand, by meaningful symbolism (for example, the motif of the cross) and it often masterfully enveloped in an imitative style of composition. In the present recording the voice parts of the chorus are sung by soloists in orderto offer the possible interpretation of a "Lectio Passionis" around the cantor's stand.
Cantiones Sacrae, Motets I-VIII
In 1 625 Schutz wrote as opus III forty four-part Latin motets with the title "Cantiones sacrae quatuor vocum cum Basso ad organum" and dedicated to Prince Hans Ulrich von Eggenberg. He had become acquainted with him in 1617 in the retinue of Emperor Matthew in Dresden. Hans Ulrich converted probably due to his connections with the court in Graz and finally became the minister of Ferdinand II. Did Schutz perhaps hope for a corresponding dissemination in the Catholic countries with this dedication?
The textual basis of the compositions are psalm texts and texts from the Song of Songs related to the psalms on the one hand, and pre-Reformation meditation texts from the collection of Andreas Musculus (Frankfurt/O.) 1553 "Precationes ex veteribus orthodoxis doctoribus ex eccelsiae hymnis et canticis" on the other; the latter were also used as models for prayers in home meditations. If we let the preface by Schutz speak for itself, we learn that he is striving in these works "to compose partly in an old, partly in a new way". It is interesting to note the comment that the publisher blackmailed him, so to speak, insisting on the addition of the figured bass. It is noteworthy that the texts of the Old Testament may be classifed as belonging to the old a cappella style while, in contrast, the newer meditation text settings need a figured bass. Schutz attempts to combine contrast, symbolism (for example, Kreuz [Cross] in III and VI), tonal production in the sense of textual dualism (Motet VI: ego - tu: choral division), affects of pain and pleading - in short, all possible madrigalistic means of expression. He himself proposes a division into cyclical relationships through subdivisions ("secunda pars", etc.), according to which the first eight motets build a unit and within this are to be divided as I, II + III, IV-VIII. They were sometimes referred to as "Passion Motets" by later editors.
The "Collegium Musicum Plagense" provides under the direction of Stiftskapellmeister (cathedral chapter musical director) Rupert Gottfried Frieberger the figural church music atthe abbey church Schlagl in Upper Austria. ("Schlagl", Latin "plaga", "abbatia Plagensis"). The core of the group is a permanent vocal quartet which is doubled for Renaissance polyphony with an fundamental instrumental scoring (recorder, gamba, trombone). Expansion of the scoring occurs according to the needs of the literature. Musicmaking in keeping with its respective stylistic performance practices is the standard, whereby emphasis is placed on the Renaissance and Baroque of the a I pine countries and on contemporary music. In addition to this the tradition of Gregorian chant at the abbey church Schlagl is maintained.
Live radio broadcasts, recordings and concerts give evidence of the demand for the attempts made at the abbey church Schlagl to follow historical performance practices.