“Him alone did they call the Father of all musicians, to whom the Germans were indebted for enabling them now to bring music to a standard equal to that of the Italians, if not even higher”. So wrote Johann Mattheson in 1740 in praise of Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672), the most revered German musician of his generation. On this CD the ensemble inAlto present works by Schütz himself, but also by some of his students, which show why Schütz was such a good teacher, who handed on his talent to the following generation.
Instrumental and vocal techniques are intertwined in the music of Harrison Birtwistle: he often treats the voice instrumentally and his instrumental writing has vocal characteristics. Many of his works for small ensembles, with or without voices, occupy this common ground, his highly individual style juxtaposing the static and the violently dynamic and intersecting with his fondness for ritual and myth – not least a recurrent concern with the figure of Orpheus. This recording presents some of these relatively neglected pieces, recorded live in the presence of the composer, who also talks about his songs in interview.