Schütz, Heinrich

(baptized 9 October 1585, Köstritz, Germany – 6 November 1672, Dresden)
   The greatest German composer of the 17th century, his talent was spotted by the Landgrave Moritz, who took over Schütz’s education in 1599 and sent him to Venice to study with Giovanni Gabrieli from 1609–1612. In 1615, he joined the court of the Elector of Saxony Johann Georg in Dresden and remained there for the rest of his life except for a short stay in Venice from 1627–1629 to study with Claudio Monteverdi and a sojourn with the Crown Prince Christian of Denmark from 1633–1635 to avoid the disastrous effects of the Thirty Years War. Schütz’s surviving works are almost entirely sacred and command all the various idioms that were available to sacred composers in the first half of the 17th century, although he rarely used chorales. His major publications fall into four categories. (The SWV Schützwerkeverzeichnis catalog numbers generally follow his publications, and so give a rough chronological order.)
   Simple arrangements of psalm paraphrases by Cornelius Becker appeared as Psalmen Davids (1628, 90 works). Motets that approximate the stile antico in texture but are filled with chromaticisms and other expressive syntax from Italian madrigals were published as {}Cantiones Sacrae (1625, four voices and continuo, 41 works) and {}Geistliche Chormusik (1648, five voices and continuo, 29 works). Small-scale sacred concertos for solo voices and instruments were published as Symphoniae Sacrae (Part 1, 1629, 20 works; Part 2, 1647, 27 works) and Kleine Geistliche Conzerte (Part 1, 1636, 24 works; Part 2, 1639, 32 works). Large-scale sacred concertos employing solo voices, instruments, and cori spezzati on the Venetian model of Gabrieli appeared in Psalmen Davids (1619, 26 works) and {}Symphonie Sacrae (Part 3, 1650, 21 works).
   Schütz also composed a funeral service, the Musicalische Exequien (1636), and three passions on St. Matthew, St. Luke, and St. John (all 1666) and three oratorios: on the resurrection (Historia {}Auferstehung, 1623), the Seven Last Words (c. 1650), and the Christmas Oratorio (1660).

Historical dictionary of sacred music. . 2006.

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