Heinrich Schütz: Lukas-Passion
01 November 2009
J. F. Weber
The dacapo disc is the first of a series of new recordings of the narrative works of Heinrich Schütz. That is good news, for multiple recordings of his complete published collections have been appearing at the expense of the three Passions and two oratorios, which were much better known in the vinyl era. We have had only wo versions of each Passion in the present decade, including one of each in the Brilliant box (30:5); none of the three alternative versions has come for review.
The note by Daniel Melamed is an excellent introduction to the work, for it assumes that most listeners will come to Schütz after knowing Bach's Passions. While Bach's obituary credited him with five Passions, we now only two masterpieces; his St. Mark is mostly lost, his St. Luke is probably a copy he made of a minor omposer's work, and there is no trace of a fifth work. He explains the great difference in approach of the two composers, while pointing out that Schütz's work was much closer to the liturgical Passion settings that receded him. This setting is almost entirely given to the Evangelist's recitative set to simple melodic ´formulas in free rhythms. Jesus is given the few lines that belong to him, while the chorus, together or in solo voices, takes the remaining dialogue. Tenor Johan Linderoth is superb in the demanding role of the vangelist. Like the rest of the singers, he brings the utmost restraint to the narrative. Bass-baritone Jakob Bloch Jespersen is affecting as Jesus. This performance is reminiscent of Hillier's only previous Schütz Passion, the St. Matthew (8:5), which was notably lighter and more delicate than anything heard before.