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Notes 63.3 (2007) 688-690

Reviewed by
Alexander J. Fisher
University of British Columbia
Heinrich Schütz. Cantiones sacrae 1625: Lateinische Motetten für vier Stimmen und Basso continuo. Neuausgabe von Heide Volckmar-Waschk. Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2004. (Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke, 8/9.) [Pref., Ger., Eng., p. vii–xii; facsims., p. xiii–xvii; score, 204 p.; Krit. Bericht, p. 205–18; Ger. trans. of the motet texts, p. 219–21. Cloth. ISMN M-00649773-7; Bärenreiter-Ausgabe 5961. €130.]
Heinrich Schütz. Symphoniae sacrae III (1650): Die Konzerte zu sieben Stimmen (Nr. 15–21). Herausgegeben von Werner Breig. Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2002. (Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke, 21.) [Pref., Ger., Eng., p. vii–xvii; facsims., p. xix–xxii; score, 197 p.; Krit. Bericht, p. 199–209; overview of the facsimile reproductions in vols. 18–21, p. 210. Cloth. ISMN M-006-44886-9; Bärenreiter-Ausgabe 4474. €131.]

Although the music of Heinrich Schütz (1585–1672) has been relatively well served in modern editions—at least in comparison to his more obscure seventeenth-century German contemporaries—a complete edition serving the needs of both scholars and performers has been slow in coming. In 1885, Philipp Spitta brought out the first volume of Schütz's Sämtliche Werke (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel), a project that would only see completion in the hands of Arnold Schering and Heinrich Spitta in 1927 (the entire set was reprinted by Breitkopf & Härtel in 1968). Spitta remained relatively faithful to the appearance of Schütz's notation, although his retention of the original clefs made these volumes rather unappealing to many performers. The editors of the earlier volumes of the Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1955–) demonstrated somewhat more concern with the needs of performance, using modern clefs exclusively; however, scholars and many performers can be forgiven for their dismay at the frequent, clumsy transpositions of the music into remote keys, presumably for the comfort of modern SATB choirs. Günter Graulich's Stuttgarter Schütz-Ausgabe, published originally by Hänssler but now in the hands of Carus-Verlag in Stuttgart, showed some promise in balancing the needs of research and performance, but since its inception in 1971, only a handful of volumes have appeared, with uncertain prospects for its continuation.

More recent volumes of the Neue Ausgabe have adopted the sensible editorial principles established in the ongoing series Das Erbe deutscher Musik, and so it is welcome to see new, revised versions of volumes previously issued in the edition's early years, as well as entirely new volumes of music otherwise available only in the earlier complete edition or the Stuttgart publications. An excellent candidate for revision was Gottfried Grote's 1960 edition of the Cantiones sacrae (1625), Schütz's splendid collection of forty settings of Latin psalms and spiritual poetry for four voices and basso ad organum. Typically for the editors of the Neue Ausgabe in that period, Grote transposed items at will—usually up a second or third in the case of originals in "normal" clefs, down a second or third in the case of chiavette—and neglected to indicate the original cleffing or signature in the incipit, although this information could be gleaned from his critical report. Grote provided a parallel [End Page 688] German translation below the Latin text, added a continuo realization, and modernized Schütz's original meter signs (C becoming and rendered simply as ); these features, as Heide Volckmar-Waschk states in her critical report to the present revision (p. 206 n. 8), suggest that Grote's edition seems to have been "conceived more for musical practice" (my trans.) than scholarship.

The differences in Volckmar-Waschk's new edition are immediately evident: she uses modern clefs, but presents the music in original note values and at original pitch, helpfully indicating the original cleffing in the incipits. Schütz was famously reluctant to provide...


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