Albums

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released October 28, 2016 | HORTUS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama

Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released April 1, 2016 | Carus

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released February 1, 2004 | Studio SM

Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released March 3, 2015 | Carus

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released June 12, 2012 | harmonia mundi

Sacred Vocal Music - Released April 3, 2012 | Carus

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released May 12, 2011 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklets Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Record of the Year - Hi-Res Audio

Sacred Oratorios - Released April 12, 2010 | Da Capo

Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Choirs (sacred) - Released March 26, 2010 | deutsche harmonia mundi

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released November 20, 2009 | Berlin Classics

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released July 1, 2009 | Brilliant Classics

Sacred Oratorios - Released April 28, 2009 | Da Capo

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Hi-Res Audio
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released April 6, 2009 | Christophorus

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released February 5, 2009 | Berlin Classics

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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released November 6, 2007 | harmonia mundi

Belgian conductor Philippe Herreweghe founded the vocal ensemble La Chapelle Royale in 1977 with a primary focus on music of the French Baroque, but the group has since branched into the repertoires of other countries and eras. In this release, the group sings Heinrich Schütz's three-movement Musikalische Exequien (Musical Funeral Rites) of 1635, as well as several motets. Schütz wrote the Musikalische Exequien for a Protestant nobleman who wanted it to be performed at his funeral. (The German language texts came from Biblical and liturgical texts the nobleman had had inscribed inside his coffin.) The time and places in which Schütz lived were dominated by war, pestilence, and violence, and the composer's personal life was marked by great losses, so it's not surprising that he poured such deep feeling into these texts dealing with death and the hope of a better life hereafter, and the texts he chose for his motets frequently deal with the same subjects. Schütz had been a student of Giovanni Gabrieli's in Venice, and some of the funeral music uses an antiphonal deployment of choirs around the church. The tone of most of the works recorded here is indeed sober and mournful, but the composer's ingenuity gives it variety through his use of differently constituted ensembles alternating with soloists, and the interweaving of monophonic and polyphonic textures. The members of La Chapelle Royale sing with exceptionally pure and warm sound, and the tonal variety and vitality they bring to the motets keep the music from seeming lugubrious, in spite of the dark subject matter. A small ensemble of strings and organ provides a chaste and circumspect continuo accompaniment.
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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released August 15, 2007 | harmonia mundi

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Choirs (sacred) - Released July 31, 2007 | harmonia mundi

Heinrich Schütz's final set of Symphoniae Sacrae was composed in 1650, as Germany was emerging from the chaos of the Thirty Years' War. With the exception of the magnificent Saul, Saul, was verfolgst du mich?, SWV 415, these pieces for five to eight vocal parts with instrumental ensemble are less well known than the composer's earlier sacred masterpieces, which merged the magnificence of the Venetian polychoral style with the direct, devotional impulses of German Protestant music; Schütz's music does not sound much like Bach's, but he nevertheless looms in works like these as perhaps Bach's most important ancestor. This performance by the Cantus Cölln and Concerto Palatino brass ensemble, directed by German early Baroque specialist Konrad Junghänel, goes maximal in one way and minimal in another. One reason performers have steered away from these pieces is that, in addition to all the other interpretive challenges Schütz poses, they exist in two different versions, with a set of optional added parts. This recording uses those parts, which adds considerable contrapunal complexity to the music and makes it busier and denser. On the other hand, the Cantus Cölln, as usual, sings with one voice to a part. Those used to hearing choral Schütz may be unhappy, but the case here is stronger than it is for Bach -- small, flexible performing forces were the norm in the wake of the Thirty Years' War, and the "full" version of this music is clarified by the madrigal-like grouping. In any event, the performers aim not toward the grandeur often associated with Schütz but toward clear, nimble delineation of the ways in which he turns the new concerted (contrasting-groups) style to dramatic ends. And they succeed in their aims: their style has a lightness and transparency that is likely to hook even the listener who has been put off at first. They make a good case for the Symphoniae Sacrae III, and even listeners who like a more imposing Schütz may enjoy hearing him sung like this for a change.
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Choirs (sacred) - Released July 31, 2007 | harmonia mundi

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released April 1, 2006 | Brilliant Classics