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Paul Hillier’s Acclaimed Schütz Recording Cycle

April 4, 2010

With three volumes of his highly praised recordings with Ars Nova Copenhagen of Heinrich Schütz’s sacred music already released, the world-renowned conductor, singer and writer Paul Hillier embarks on the fourth and final recording for DACAPO.

In his diary on, Paul Hillier writes:

‘Over the next few weeks I shall be performing and recording Schütz’s Mathäus-Passion (St Matthew Passion) with Ars Nova Copenhagen, and Julian Podger as Evangelist. This will mark the conclusion of our 4-CD cycle recording all the “narrative” works of Schütz. This project has been rather an interesting exercise in balancing budgets and diaries, and for that reason I am quite impressed that we have actually seen it through! Musically it has been a very fine experience—involving a number of singers and instrumentalists—and I am happy to say that the results have been very warmly received. Schütz is a familiar enough name, and yet he can be a hard ‘sell’. Perhaps this is because his music is somewhat inward looking—or gives the impression of being—and somehow he is, I feel, a neglected master. But I come away from each of these CD projects with renewed admiration for his music, especially the pseudo-chant style he created for the Passion settings. It seems easy, but it most certainly is not. All composers should follow his example…

‘Each of the CDs carries a picture of one of the four Evangelists by Karl Schmidt-Rotluff (1884–1976). I am a great fan of Baltic painting from the turn of the last century: Emil Nolde, the Skagen painters from Northern Denmark (especially Krøyer), and the Bridge (Brücke) group formed in Dresden in 1905. About four years ago I was in Berlin and visited the Museum “Die Brücke”—a small, potentially distinguished collection (if they would but show a bit more). On one wall were these four reliefs in beaten metal by Schmidt-Rottluff. As I looked at them, I realised that I had my CD covers for this Schütz project, then still in the planning stage. I always reckon that a visit to an art gallery has been worthwhile if i can carry away the memory of just one specific painting or group of pieces—so I was well satisfied on this occasion.’

SCHÜTZ St Luke Passion
Johan Linderoth, tenor • Jakob Bloch Jespersen, bass
Ars Nova Copenhagen
Paul Hillier, conductor

DACAPO 8.226019

‘The Dacapo disc is the first of a series of new recordings of the narrative works of Heinrich Schütz. That is good news…Tenor Johan Lideroth is superb in the demanding role of the Evangelist. Like the rest of the singers, he brings the utmost restraint to the narrative. Bass-baritone Jakob Bloch Jespersen is affecting as Jesus.’—Fanfare

‘…this CD is nicely presented with a useful introductory essay and the text in German and English. The acoustic is immediate, vibrant and appropriately resonant. So set aside preconceptions and listen to Schütz’ direct, honest, calm and altogether tidily persuasive Passion.’—MusicWeb International

SCHÜTZ Die Geburt unsers Herren Jesu Christi (Christmas History), Die Auferstehung unsres Herren Jesu Christi (Resurrection History)

Christmas History: Adam Riis, tenor • Else Torp, soprano • Jakob Bloch Jespersen, bass • Rikke Lender, alto • Linnea Lomholt, alto • Tomas Medici, tenor • Kasper Eliassen, tenor • Josef Hamber, tenor • Asger Lynge Petersen, bass • Henrik Lund Petersen, bass • Thomas Kiorbye, bass
Ars Nova Copenhagen • Concerto Copenhagen
Paul Hillier, conductor

Resurrection History: Johan Linderoth, tenor • Else Torp, soprano • Louise Skobaech Korsholm, soprano • Hilde Ramnefjell Dolva, soprano • Linnea Lomholt, alto • Tobias Nilsson, alto • Watson Christopher, tenor • Tomas Medici, tenor • Josef Hamber, tenor • Kasper Eliassen, tenor • Asger Lynge Petersen, bass • Henrik Lund Petersen, bass
Ars Nova Copenhagen • Sirius Viols • Concerto Copenhagen
Paul Hillier, conductor

DACAPO 8.226058

‘Schütz’s Christmas Story is one of the composer’s late works, but one those closest to perfection…The Resurrection Story is an earlier and, given the subject, an unsurprisingly somewhat more austere work…The overall effect is not as overtly dramatic as the Christmas Story but is certainly compelling and moving. The evangelist in this work is Johan Linderoth whose subtle freedom and perfect articulation of the text are close to the ideal. The other performers maintain a similar standard. Overall this is a disc which gives immense satisfaction and which is a great credit both to Paul Hillier as director of both works and to the Danish Arts Council for its support of the project.’—MusicWeb International

SCHÜTZ The Seven Words, St John Passion
Else Torp, soprano • Linnéa Lomholt, alto • Adam Riis, tenor • Johan Linderoth, tenor • Jacob Bloch Jespersen, bass
Ars Nova Copenhagen & instrumental ensemble
Paul Hillier, conductor

DACAPO 8.226093

Ars Nova Copenhagen and Paul Hillier here present the third recording in a series devoted to the narrative works (Historia) of Heinrich Schütz (1585–1672). The Danish vocal ensemble thus celebrate Denmark’s proud connection with this German master who was appointed Kapellmeister to King Christian IV and worked at the Danish court for two periods over the course of eleven years. The cover illustrations for this outstanding series show reliefs in beaten metal by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (1884–1976), a member of the Die Brücke group founded in 1905 in Dresden—a city with which Schütz himself was closely associated.


Watch a fascinating video clip about the recording of this album on YouTube

Paul Hillier Biography & Discography

Heinrich Schütz Biography & Discography


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