Cantiones sacrae is the long-awaited follow up to Magnificat’s critically acclaimed 25th anniversary recording, Scattered Ashes.
• The Cantiones sacrae is an unusual work that stands quite apart from Schütz’s other published sacred music in both scale and style.
• The collection comprises forty Latin motets for four voices, plus a figured bass for continuo accompaniment (realized on this recording by lute, violone and organ), which was added later by the composer.
• The perfectly crafted works are composed in a learned, contrapuntal style rich in dissonance and range of expression.
• Schütz cleverly mirrors the intensely intimate nature of the texts using a musical language that looks to inward expression rather than to external effect.
• Schütz takes every opportunity to exploit vocal timbre and technique in the service of word-painting, with the virtuosic vocal lines ranging from a conservative imitative style to the most avant-garde, chromatic style of the Italian madrigal.
• Magnificat’s performance of the Opus 4 motets reveals Schütz to be a composer with an imagination of extraordinary variety.