sábado, 25 de octubre de 2014

The Choir Project al día | 04-X-2014

Johann Hermann Schein [1586-1630]: Fontana d’Israel, Israelis Brünlein, auserlesener Krafft-Sprüchlin altes und newen Testaments … auf einer … Italian madrigalische Manier, 5vv, [one for 6vv], bc [Leipzig, 1623].
Gli Angeli Genéve | Stephan MacLeod.
The splendor of German Baroque.

  Kerala J. Snyder & Gregory S. Johnston wrote about:
«German composer and poet. He was an important predecessor of Bach, both as Leipzig Thomaskantor and as a gifted composer. He was one of the first composers to graft the style of the Italian madrigal, monody and concerto on to the traditional elements of Lutheran church music.
After the death of his father, a pastor and former schoolmaster, in 1593, Schein’s family moved to Dresden, whence they had originally come. There, at the age of 13, he was taken into the Hofkapelle of the Elector of Saxony as a soprano. Already grounded in the principles of music, he received further instruction in both theoretical and practical music from the Kapellmeister, Rogier Michael, and became acquainted with an extensive repertory of both secular and sacred choral music in Latin, German and Italian. He distinguished himself not only in music but in his other studies as well, and following a brief matriculation at the University of Leipzig he was admitted on 18 May 1603 to Schulpforta, an electoral school near Naumburg that specialized in music and the humanities. He arrived there just after Erhard Bodenschatz had ceased to be its Kantor. Bodenschatz had compiled his famous motet collection Florilegium Portense (16181–16212; the first part appeared in a different form and with a different title, 16031) for the edification of the students, who sang the motets before and after meals. Schein must have been thoroughly familiar with this repertory, though he was actually taught music by Bodenschatz’s successors, first Bartholomäus Scheer and then, from 1606, Martin Roth. He left Schulpforta on 26 April 1607, returned to Dresden and in 1608 enrolled at the University of Leipzig, with an electoral scholarship, to study law and the liberal arts; he remained there for four years. The Thomaskantor at this time was Sethus Calvisius, who had preceded Bodenschatz as Kantor at Schulpforta. Schein’s first publication, Venus Kräntzlein, appeared in 1609.

  In 1613 Schein went to Weissenfels to become house music director and tutor to the children of Gottfried von Wolffersdorff, a friend from his Schulpforta days who soon recommended him for his first purely musical position, as Kapellmeister to Duke Johann Ernst the Younger at Weimar. He took up this post on 21 May 1615. On 12 February 1616 he married his first wife Sidonia, a native of Dresden and daughter of the district Rentsekretär Eusebius Hösel; they must have known each other from childhood for the two families had long been acquainted, and three of Schein’s poems for the Venus Kräntzlein have acrostics spelling her name. Of the five children of this marriage only the elder son survived into adulthood. Schein’s tenure at Weimar was happy but short. On 19 August 1616 he was called to Leipzig to audition for the position of Thomaskantor, which had been vacant since the death of Calvisius the previous November. He was accepted, began work in late September or early October and was immediately plunged into a dispute with the Konrektor, who was jealous of the Kantor’s prestige and salary and especially of the extra income he received for wedding and funeral music. In addition to his responsibilities of directing the choral music in the Thomaskirche and the Nicolaikirche, Schein was required to teach 14 hours a week in the Thomasschule – ten hours of Latin grammar and syntax and four of singing. His most illustrious pupils were the poet Paul Fleming and possibly the composer Heinrich Albert, whose continuo arias show the influence of his Musica boscareccia.

  Schein’s wife died as a result of complications of childbirth on 30 June 1624; his song Sei fröhlich, meine Seele was performed at the funeral on 2 July. He remarried on 22 February 1625; his new bride was Elizabeth von der Perre, daughter of a painter who had worked on the decoration of the organ in the Nicolaikirche. At least four of the five children of this marriage also died in infancy. In addition to the sorrows in his family life Schein suffered from poor health: he was afflicted with tuberculosis, gout, scurvy and kidney stones. Illness forced him to cancel the performance of a large work composed for the Reformation Jubilee of 1617 and postponed the publication of the first part of Opella nova; it also appears to have sapped his creative energy from about 1626. Two visits to the springs at Carlsbad were of no avail, and he died at the age of 44. Johann Höpner, pastor of the Nicolaikirche, preached at his funeral, and the sermon (reprinted in Spitta) includes an account of his life that provides valuable biographical information. His successor as Thomaskantor was Tobias Michael, son of Rogier Michael.

  As late as 1691, W.C. Printz still identified Schütz, Schein and Scheidt as the leading German composers of their time. They were all born between 1585 and 1587, worked in close geographical proximity and knew one another. The closest friendship was between Schein and Schütz; Schütz visited Schein on his deathbed and at his request composed a motet on the text Das ist je gewisslich wahr (published separately (swv277) in 1631 and revised (swv388) in Schütz’s Geistliche Chor-Music, 1648). There are many parallels in the early careers of these two composers, born within four months and 80 km of each other. They both began as choirboys with a talent that attracted the attention of a nobleman who supported their education, both studied law and, as composers, both distinguished themselves through the expressive setting of Luther’s biblical language for a few voices with instrumental accompaniment. Several obvious differences help to account for the greater importance that history has accorded Schütz: extensive international travel, including his periods of study in Italy; more prestigious appointments; better health and much longer life.

  Schein had already risen to expressive heights in sacred music with the 1623 publication of Fontana d’Israel or Israelis Brünlein, a collection of pieces composed ‘in a special, graceful Italian madrigal manner’. The texts are mostly from the Old Testament, and all but one are set for five voices (two sopranos, alto, tenor and bass) and continuo. The title-page states that they can be performed ‘either alone with singers and instruments or with organ or harpsichord’. The continuo is not really necessary: it is a basso seguente doubling the lowest sounding part, and there are seldom fewer than three voices singing. The ‘madrigal manner’ refers to the particular care with which each phrase of text is set, though this is done more with the musical-rhetorical figures of the musica poetica of German humanism than with the extreme word-painting of the Italian madrigal. Schein’s madrigals are also less contrapuntal than classical Italian madrigals, and on numerous occasions he split the voices into two groups, with the alto participating in both. His use of unusual intervals and dissonant harmonic figures, especially the diminished 4th, is more frequent in this collection than any other. It ranks with Schütz’s Geistliche Chor-Music as one of the masterpieces of early Baroque choral music in Germany.»

Wonderful performance of one of the best sacred music collections in early Seventeenth Century german music.
The voices are really amazing and rethoric expression is absolutely great.

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