The third programme of The Different. 4
Choral Music Festival is dedicated to sacred music: Matthäus-Passion
by Heinrich Schütz (1585–1672), one of the greatest masters of German baroque, will be performed at the concert. The soiree will continue the passion music line that began at the previous festivals with Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. Matthew Passion
and Krzysztof Penderecki’s St. Luke Passion
Heinrich Schütz’s contemporaries called him “the Father of new German music”. It is absolutely fair because he opened for Germany music the way leading to Bach. Schütz combined in his work all the most significant schools of the 17th century and imparted new meanings to the canonical genres. The composer left a great heritage – about 500 works including primarily sacred compositions – oratorios, psalms, sacred hymns and many others. He returned to the Biblical texts again and again all his life.
Matthäus-Passion was written in 1666, when the composer was 80. At that time Schütz had already lived through the terrible Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) that had a powerful impact on him. While in his early compositions prevails the Italian theatricality (Schütz travelled a lot and took lessons by Claudio Monteverdi), here his music idiom is absolutely different. In Matthäus-Passion the monody alternates with the four-part choruses. The sound is rough, ascetic, without any external colourfulness, but that formal simplicity has profundity and dramatic power.
It is paradoxical that although Heinrich Schütz played an very important role in the development of German musical culture, his compositions were not performed for several centuries. It was not until the 20th century that researchers and musicians turned their attention to Schütz’s works.