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Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672)

Picture of Heinrich SchutzHeinrich Schütz was a German composer of the early Baroque and a master of 17th century church music. His Dafne (1627; now lost) has been called the first German opera. Schütz traveled to Italy twice during his lifetime and studied in Venice with both Giovanni Gabrieli and Monteverdi. Gabrieli was so impressed with the young Schütz that he bequeathed him his signet ring as a sign that he considered him his truest disciple. Schütz thoroughly internalized the Venetian polychoral concertato style, which is the predominant style of his works, particularly the three books of the Symphoniae sacrae. However, his works include all styles, ancient and modern-subtleties of Venetian concertato for few voices, dramatic Florentine monody, the imagery and emotions of concertato madrigals, the seriousness of the German motet, the simplicity of German secular song, and so forth. Schütz wrote oratorios and settings of the Passion that combined the Venetian style of antiphonal (alternating) choirs and the dramatic declamation of Florentine monody with German polyphony. This choral style influenced German music th rough the time of Handel and Bach.


For more information about the life and music of Heinrich Schütz, check out these other websites:

The Classical Music Pages: Heinrich Schütz
An excerpt from the Grove Dictionary of Music on Schütz’s life, as well as a short list of his works.
The Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672) Home Page

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