Early Music - Schütz: German Requiem, Etc / Helbich

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Before you judge that the playing time is a bit short, notice the well-chosen group of works that make up such a homogeneous program and remember the price of the disc. Wolfgang Helbich and his Alsfelder group have appeared in similar repertoire on full-priced labels, but this recording, made at St. Peter’s cathedral in Bremen just three years ago, ranks with the best performances on disc of any of the selections. In fact, we had the two major works on a Berlin Classics CD, but even without two fillers, the playing time was longer than this, for the older Dresden performances were slower and heavier than we hear nowadays.

While the two motets from Geistliche Chormusik are familiar, the two larger works are favorites among the mid-length compositions, longer than the little pieces that make up published books but not as imposing as the historiae and the passions. One a funeral service, the other a meditation on Good Friday, they have been recorded separately over a dozen times each, even if couplings are varied in the CD era.

The soloists are ensemble singers rather than famous names. It’s not clear whether the seven named singers make up the Himlische Cantorey, a new formation. The Febiarmonici is also a new group of period-instrument players. Most enthusiasts will probably have all these works, but a newer collector intent on building a Schütz library should grab this disc to fill one of the slots. He will probably return to it again and again, for it is such a satisfying realization of this deeply felt music.
J. F. Weber, FANFARE

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: 8555705

  • UPC: 747313570522

  • Label: Naxos

  • Composer: Heinrich Schütz

  • Conductor: Wolfgang Helbich

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Alsfeld Vocal Ensemble, Febi Armonici, Himlische Cantorey

  • Performer: Beate Röllecke, Henning Kaiser, Henning Voss, Jan Kobow, Ralf Grobe, Ulrich Maier, Veronika Winter