The Windsbacher Knabenchor is a German boys' choir that has recorded several volumes' worth of music by Heinrich Schütz with conductor, Karl-Friedrich Beringer; on this disc and others the group is teamed with the delightfully named brass ensemble Bach, Blech & Blues. The choir's virtues are warmth and a direct engagement with the text rather than pristine blend; the perfectly chiseled fusion of music and text in Schütz's late Geistliche Chormusik (Sacred Choral Music) heard here is a trifle less well-suited to the choir's style than are the earlier and more sumptuous Psalmen Davids (Psalms of David) on a different release. But hear the treatment of Die mit Tränen säen, SWV 378 (Those who sow with tears), with its deeply felt emphasis on the score's bald dissonances, or the hushed progressions of Weib, was weinest du, SWV 443 (Woman, why do you weep?). Texts are in German only, but a Bible in one's native language will furnish a translation; chapter and verse citations are given for the texts. The choral pieces are lightly accompanied by the brass instruments of the curiously named German ensemble Bach, Blech & Blues, and Beringer shapes a careful balance between the brasses and his youthful choristers. The unique feature of the program here is the interpolation of canzonas and sonatas for brass by Giovanni Gabrieli (incluing the Sonata "Pian e Forte" à 8, the first piece of Western music to contain dynamic markings) into the sequence of choral pieces. Although the Gabrieli works date from nearly half a century before those of Schütz, they make a nice frame; their festive sacred splendor sets off Schütz's inward-looking religiosity beautifully even if there's nothing about the program that resembles any sequence of music heard in a German church of the time. Indeed, if your taste runs toward the more variegated and altogether rougher sound that historical-performance groups have adopted for Schütz, this entire album probably isn't for you. Lovers of Schütz in the classic mode will find it satisfying, although not so much as the Windsbacher group's Psalmen Davids recording.
Share this page