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DKDM Spring Project 2015 

Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672)

Motet &

Nunc Dimittis 

from Musikalische Exequien


Johann Schein (1586-1630)




Directed by Andrew Lawrence-King



Friday 27 Feb - Wednesday 4 Mar 2015



Wednesday 4 Mar 2015, 17.00 

The repertoire has been changed, to accommodate the particular singers and instrumentalists who have registered so far. Registration is still open for the new program.



This Spring Project places Schütz's religious music alongside Schein's dance-music and in the context of 17th-century music-making: led from the Continuo, in Tactus, and with Baroque Gesture.     





Friday 27 Feb - Wednesday 4 Mar 2015



Wednesday 4 Mar 2015, 17.00 




Schein Suite a 5 

Padouana – Gagliarda – Courente – Allemande – Tripla

All instruments

*IMSLP score here


Schein Es ist das Heil uns kommen her 

Soprano Traverso Continuo

*IMSLP score here


Schein Herr, wenn ich nur Dich habe 

Tenor Violin Continuo

*IMSLP score here


Schutz Musikalische Exequien II


Herr,  wenn ich nur dich habe   

Double Choir with instruments & continuo


Schein  Herr, nu läßt du deinen Diener in Friede fahren 

Bass Rec Rec Continuo

*IMSLP score here


Schutz Musikalische Exequien III

Canticum B. Simeonis:

Herr, nun lässest du deinen Diener in Friede fahren   

SST (solos) M + instruments & continuo

[The three soloists represent two Seraphim and the Blessed Soul with the Seraphim]


At the Temple, old Simeon held the baby Jesus in his arms and declared, “Lord, now you let your servant depart in peace: for my eyes have seen your salvation”. These words became a canticle in the evening liturgy, and in 1635 they were selected by Count Henry Reuss as he planned the music for his own funeral, together with composer Heinrich Schütz. Biblical verses and texts by Martin Luther were interwoven to create the work we now know as the Musikalische Exequien: a ‘German funeral Mass’, and the two movements heard in tonight’s concert, both for double-choir.


The Motet re-affirms the Lutheran faith, as the two ensembles repeat phrases from one side of the church to the other, in a musical style inspired by Venetian polychoral church-music. The Canticle reminds us of Monteverdi’s dramatic works, with a theatrical vision of the Blessed Soul ascending into heaven, guided by two soprano Seraphim. This trio sings a text from the book of Revelation, whilst the voices and instruments down on earth sing the Song of Simeon. As the two texts intermingle, we begin to see the earthly choir also as the mourners at the Count’s funeral, remembering the dead man’s “good works”.  After one beat of dramatic silence, it is their emotions that colour the most expressive harmony of the whole piece for the very last repeat of the words deines Volks (your people).


The rhythm of early 17th-century music was guided by the Tactus, a slow, steady beat that could be shown by the movement of singers’ and players’ hands or feet (of course, there was no conductor in this period). The Tactus was compared to the heartbeat, and to the perfectly steady movement of the cosmos, i.e. the heavenly dance of the stars and planets to the Music of the Spheres. Hand gestures were also used to express the words, as part of rhetorical oratory in church, in a princely court, as well as in the theatre.

Text, Rhythm and Action (baroque gesture, facial expressions and dramatic imagery) were the highest priorities in 17th-century performance. In this evening’s concert, we contrast word- and dance-rhythms whilst maintaining the slow, steady Tactus. We compare settings of the Exequien texts by Johann Schein. And we invite you to imagine for yourselves the baroque Action. What images do the sacred texts suggest to your mind’s eye? Can you imagine the dancers stepping out in a solemn Pavan, or leaping high in a wild Galliard? Can you envisage the grand ceremony Count Henry Reuss planned? Can your eyes, like Simeon’s, see a mystical light of hope?

Heinrich Schütz

Henry II Reuss of Gera

Andrew Lawrence-King

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