Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A welcome reissue of Heinrich Schütz's Weihnachtshistorie

Christophorus brings back this 2003 recording of Heinrich Schütz's Weihnachtshistorie, first released on the French label K617. It's an excellent performance.

Both the Choeur de Chambre de Namur and La Fenice have a warm ensemble sound. Soprano Claire Lefilliâtre and tenor Hans-Jörg Mammel deliver well-balanced performances, singing in clear, unaffected fashion.

Jean Tubéry uses his performers effectively, bringing out the inherent drama in Schütz's oratorio while keeping within the bounds of 17th Century performance practices. The Magnificant anima mea seems to bounce with joy. Herod's aria sounds suitably regal. And Der Engel zu Joseph, where Joseph is told to flee with his family to Egypt, has a sense of urgency about its quick 16th note figures.

Those are but three examples. At its premier in the 1640s, Schütz's oratorio was considered a masterwork. And this performance demonstrates why that still holds true.

The recording is filled out with other Schütz choral works appropriate for the season. If you missed it the first time around, be sure to grab a copy now.

Heinrich Schütz: Weihnachtshistorie SW 435
Claire Lefilliâtre, soprano; Hans-Jörg Mammel, tenor; Choeur de Chambre de Namur; La Fenice; Jean Tubéry, conductor
Christophorus CHR 77404

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