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Heinrich Schütz: Die Sieben Worte; Johannes-Passion ()

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Heinrich Schütz's musical representations of the crucifixion of Jesus are milestones of German music before Bach, but they're much less well known than Bach's Passion settings. As conductor Paul Hillier has pointed out in connection with these Danish releases, they're something of a hard sell -- especially the extremely spare, unaccompanied, and chant-like Johannes-Passion, written late in Schütz's life. This work divides the words of the biblical Passion According to John among an Evangelist, Christ, the other characters in the narrative, and a chorus that frames the action with a short opening announcement and final prayer but elsewhere adopting the role of the crowd calling for Christ's crucifixion. The effect is economical but extremely powerful, for this setting, with the angry outbursts from the crowd, is actually more dramatic than the other work included, Die Sieben Worte, SWV 478 (The Seven Words), which is more like a series of scenes realized in the concertato (contrasting groups) style of... Hide synopsis

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