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BEFORE BACH: “THE FOUNTAINS OF ISRAEL” BY JOHANN SCHEIN (1623)

Tuesday August 8, 2017 | 7:30pm (Pre-concert talk 6:45pm)
Christ Church Cathedral 

A century before Bach, music in northern Germany came under the influence of a new and powerful musical language originating in Italy and perfected by Claudio Monteverdi. Obsessed with eloquence, rhetoric and the marriage of text to music, the Italian madrigal was the choice musical form of the day. Johann Schein, who held J.S. Bach’s position at the Thomas Kirche in Leipzig exactly 100 years before him, was one of three German composers (Schutz, Schein, Scheidt) who successfully adapted and converted this new form to fit the German language.

Schein’s “Israelisbrünnlein” or “The Fountains of Israel”, written in 1623, is an exquisite and moving collection of madrigals written on biblical texts from the Lutheran Bible. Though relatively unknown, it is a seminally important work in German musical history that was the foundation for the uniquely German relationship between text and music that reached its zenith with the sacred works of Johann Sebastian Bach. As in the Lagrime de St. Pietro of Lassus that EMV presented in our 2015/2016 season, secular techniques are used to communicate a sacred subject.

Gli Angeli Genève is an ensemble of soloists founded by baritone Stephan MacLeod and is based in Switzerland. They are regular guests on stages all over the world and were most recently the ensemble-in-residence at the Utrecht Early Music Festival in 2016. They record for Sony Classical.