Ensemble Clement Janequin
Les Saqueboutiers De Toulouse
Ensemble Clement Janequin:
Agnes Mellon, soprano / Dominique Visse, haute-contre
Bruno Boterf, tenor / Philippe Cantor, baryton /Antoine Sicot, basse
Les Saqueboutiers De Toulouse
Jean-Pierre Canihac, Philippe Matharel, cornets a bouquin. Bernard Fourtet, Daniel Lassalle, Francois Fevrier, saqueboutes
Konrad Junghanel, luth
Jonathan Cable, basse de viole et contrebasse
Willemjansen, orgue Bernard Aubertin
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The first work to be published by the young Heinrich Schutz, Il Primo Libro de Madrigali (Venice 1611 - cf. HMC1162), emblematically places his work under the sign of Italy, the undisputed model in early 17th century Europe. It appears that this was a well understood/act in the young musician's entourage at the Kassel court of the Landgrave Moritz of Hesse, since it was decided to send him to Venice. Schutz was 24 and he remained there from 1609 to 1613, leaving the city of the Doges after the death of Giovanni Gabrieli. It is revealing that fifteen years later, at the height of his career, he returned to Italy to acquaint himself with the latest developments (1628-1629).
The compositions recorded here bear witness to the deep impression Italy left on him, while, at the same time, they also attest to another, distinctly German and Lutheran dimension in the work of Henricus Sagittarius, as he was often called, especially in the chorale, Erbarm dich mein, and in the Passion, Die Sieben Worte (The Seven Words from the Cross).
The influence of Gabrieli is obviously very clearly perceptible in the Psalmen Davids, his first religious work, published in Dresden in 1619, and of which Schutz himself said that he had composed them "in the Italian manner, according to the teachings of his most cherished and most illustrious master Giovanni Gabrieli". The Venitian poly choral technique, still quite simple in the 10-part motet, Die mit Tranen saen, appears also in the great Latin Magnificat (SWV 468), in far more elaborated forms which owe a great deal to Gabrieli's Sinfoniae Sacra (1615), and, no doubt, also to the Venetian Monteverdi of the Selva Morale.
But Italy asserted itself in the work of the German composer in other compositional models, as well as in the general aesthetic of his musical expression. Schutz completely assimilated the polyphonic motet-as is shown by his opus prim um of 1611-in addition to the more modern forms of the Concerto Ecclesiastico. In any case, whatever idiom he chose to write in, he reveals himself to beagenutnemusicus poeticus. He had made Monteverdi 5 doctrine his own: "Oratorio domina harmonic". The way in which he expresses the text word for word is manifest proof of this. The same applies to the pieces for small groups and the Magnificat. One need only listen to how certain words are sung to realize to what extent the singing of them is emotional, charging the music with the emotions contained in the words, with the same means as those of an orator. Chromatic patterns, diminished intervals express amorous languishing or pity, as far as the chromatic figure of the passus duriusculus of musical Rhetoric with which he highlights the words "et misericordissime" in Quemadmodum desiderat. This "little sacred concerto "from the 1639 collection literally teems with the musical devices which, since the beginning of the 17th century had been meticulously describe din the German treatises on musical Rhetoric (e.g. Joachim Burmeister's Musica poetica).
In a noticeably different, but aesthetically still closely style, both the Latin and the German Symphonic Sacrse are moulded in the Italian model of the "concerto ecclesiastico": Anima mea - Adjure vos (1629) for 2 voices and 2 instruments, or the "small" Magnificat (Meine Seele erhebet den Herren) of 1647for soprano and various instrumental duos. Monteverdi is very close here - the Monteverdi of the Vespers (1610) or the Seventh Book of Madrigals (Concerto 1619). In addition to the compositional models and the techniques of writing, there is no doubt that Schutz was indebted for certain methods of instrumentation. With Pratorius's Syntagma Musicum (1615), the preface to the Psalmen Davids (1619) is one of the best contemporary sources of information on the subject, in conjunction with Gabrieli's Smtoniae Sacrae. The great Latin Magnificat is an excellent illustration. The four voices of the coro favorito - the two vocalcapella: ad libitu m have not been used on this occasion -are combined with a group of five obbligato instruments: two trebles (here cornetts) and three trombones, which are divided to combine in various ways with the voices, thereby multiplying their possibilities. The trombones form a coro grave to accompany the treble voices, while the cornetts are a coro superiore combined with the lower voices. Sometimes the two groups alternate with one another in dialogue, and on occasion they converge in tutti of great power, at times going as far as a Monteverdian concitato.
From the point of view of his instrumentation, incidentally, one finds in Schutz (in the Symphonic Sacrae...) certain practices borrowed from the pre-Baroque stage forms of the Intermedia, which the Baroque opera, too, was to assimilate. The choice of deep-toned instruments (here trombones instead of viols) to accompany the plaintive chorale, Erbarm dich mein could go back to the lamento of the 16th century Italian Intermedia.
Compared with a genuine Baroque theatrical style (the stile rappresentativo of Monteverdi's Seconda Prattica), the Seven Words from the Cross presents a paradoxical picture. This Historia of the Passion seems to be at the very opposite pole of the great Baroque Passions like the oratorios of the Catholic Counter-Reformation. The dramatic narrative, taken from and allotted to the four Evangelists (roughly, Mark, alto; John, tenor; Luke, soprano; Matthew, 4 voices), is reduced to a minimum in order to focus attention on the Seven Last Words, taken from the Book of Saints and Martyrs of Vmcentus Schuruck (Leipzig 1617), pronounced by the second tenor in an accompanied (two trebles) arioso. It is essentially in these seven sentences of the holy text, enshrined in the narrative like so many musically illuminated sententiae, that the emotion is concentrated with an extremely subtle economy of the word and of silence. There is no exteriorization, no theatricality here: only the text. He retains no more than the element of instruction (docere)from the objectives of Baroque rhetoric, which he knew so well. On the contrary, everything contributes to interiorize the Seven Last Words of Christ in a serene meditation which the music raises to the level of contemplation: "The Seven Words of Jesus on the Cross, keep them close in your heart", the five voices sing in the exordium. The vision, so individual, can only be interior.