The Fountains of Israel

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Program: #06-06   Air Date: Jan 30, 2006

One of those composers who brought the Italianate style of music back to Germany, Johann Hermann Schein, set a series of Biblical texts in a madrigal-like manner for this charming 1623 publication--we'll hear Sette Voci perform.

We continue our long and fruitful association with our partners at Radio Netherlands in presenting a series of concerts from the Holland Festival of Early Music at Utrecht. Please visit their web site, which will provide more in-depth information about the music and performers we hear as well as more information about the festival:

NOTE: All of the music on this program is performed by the ensembles Sette Voci and De Profundis directed by Peter Kooij, who writes:

"Heinrich Schütz, Samuel Scheidt and Johann Hermann Schein are the three major German composers of the seventeenth century. These three masters have more in common than the first three letters of their surname: all three of them enriched German music with the innovations from Italian vocal music. They adopted the frequent use of word painting that is so characteristic of the Italian madrigal, even in church music. Because of this their music often sounds remarkably worldly and often even rather non-German.

"However, the composers&Mac226; intentions were exactly the same in all their music: to convey the meaning of a text, whether from the Bible or a love song, as directly as possible in a strongly evocative musical language. Besides the many occasional compositions he had to write as cantor of the Thomaskirche - a position that Bach would take up later - Schein published a number of collections of madrigals and songs intended for performance in small circles. In his Israelis Brünnlein Schein combines the polyphonic style of sixteenth-century church music with the art of the Italian madrigal. The music is not meant for the liturgy, but belongs to the genre of the sacred madrigal. Most texts arederived from the Old Testament, especially the Book of Psalms, and the Revelation of St John the Divine.

"Israelis Brünnlein (" The Fountains of Israel") marks the transition from the Renaissance to the Baroque. The title page already indicates this: the pieces can be performed either a cappella, or in combination with instruments. More than in his other vocal works Schein uses chromaticism and dissonants when the text demands. In Die mit Tränen säen we hear poignant chromaticism on the word ŒTränen&Mac226;. In the next line the word ŒFreuden&Mac226; is set to jubilant melismas. This is the kind of madrigalism that characterises the music in Israelis Brünnlein.

Johann Hermann Schein (1586-1630)

Israelis Brünnlein, 1623

--O Herr, ich bin dein Knecht
(Psalm 116: 16-17)

--Die mit Tränen säen
(Psalm 126: 5-6)

--Ich lasse dich nicht
(Genesis 32: 27; Psalm 4, 9b)

--Dennoch bleibe ich stets an dir
(Psalm 73: 23-24).

--Wende dich Herr und sei mir gnädig
Psalm 25: 16-18

--Zion spricht: Der Herr hat mich verlassen
(Isaiah 49: 14-16)

--Da Jakob vollendet hatte
(Genesis 49: 33 & 50, 1)

--Lieblich und schöne sein ist nichts
(Revelation 31: 30-31)

--Ist nicht Ephraim mein teurer Sohn
(Jeremiah 31:20).

--Herr, laß meine Klage
(Psalm 119: 169-171)

--Siehe, nach Trost war mir sehr bange
(Isaiah 38: 17)

--Drei schöne Dinge sind
(Sirach 25: 1-2)

--Was betrübst du dich, meine Seele
(Psalm 42:12; 43:5)

--Lehre uns bedenken
(Psalm 90: 12-14)

Composer Info

Johann Hermann Schein (1586-1630)

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