This release features sacred concertos by Samuel Scheidt and some of his contemporaries. The Thirty Years’ War disrupted the court of Halle, where Scheidt enjoyed a court position. Forced to freelance, Scheidt wrote and published almost non-stop. It did little to improve his financial position. But virtually all of his music survived to the present in his published editions.
Scheidt was a student of Jan P. Sweelinck and a colleague of Michael Praetorius. Scheidt adopted Martin Luther’s musical tenets. Although his contrapuntal passages are imaginative, they remain models of clarity.
The same is true of his concertos. The vocal passages are expressive without being overly florid. The I Sonatori Ensemble has but five performers. Their sound gives these works an intimacy that I think resembles the original performances. After all, in a time of war, famine, and plague, large orchestras are difficult to put together.
Some of Scheidt’s contemporaries are also included in this release, such as Melchior Franck, Andre Hammerschmidt, and Bartolomeo de Selma Y Salaverde. They all shared Luther’s conviction that music was a gift from God, and could provide solace in times of trouble.
And that makes this collection of music born of the Thirty Years’ War something special. There is a soothing and uplifting quality to these works. Something that Knut Schoch conveys in his delivery, and the I Sonatori in their playing.
Samuel Scheidt: Sacred Concertos
Music by Samuel Scheidt, Bartolomeo de Selma Y Salaverde, Andreas Hammerschmidt, Melchior Franck, Johann Erasmus Kindermann, and Thomas Selle
Knut Schoch, tenor
Christophorus CHR 77411