Sunday, December 30, 2007

Schutz: So far ich hin zu Jesu christ SWV 379

Preparing for next semester . . . studying the Schutz piece I gave you at the end of the semester.

Lots of recordings on Itunes.

Here's the one I like best. And it's nine cents cheaper at Amazon's mp3's.
This one is also worthy of a listen. Or purchase. (it's only 99 cents, you know)

Found this information about the work here.

11. So fahr ich hin zu Jesu Christ

SWV 379 is a setting of the fifth and final stanza of the hymn Wenn mein Stündlein vorhanden ist by Nikolaus Hermann (1500-1561) published in the Gesangbüchlein Geistlicher...Psalmen at Bonn in 1575. It has a rhythmic scheme of 87878888 syllables, and a rhyme scheme of abcbde.

Schütz's setting is intensely depictive. The opening figure, with its simultaneous stepwise ascent and descent, demonstrates the contrapuntal technique fuga inversa, which Schütz used to encapsulate the spiritual paradox that the descent into death was simultaneous with the ascent to the afterlife. To set "ruhe" Schütz's rhythmic motion nearly stands still and comes to a full stop in m. 19. The music for "kann mich aufwecken" seems to shake the listener from slumber, and the motet closes with "ewigen Leben" set with rapturous flourishes.

So fahr ich hin zu Jesu Christ,
mein Arm tu ich ausstrecken,
so schlaf ich ein und ruhe fein,
kein Mensch kann mich aufwecken,
denn Jesus Christus, Gottes Sohn,
der wird die Himmelstür auftun,
mich führen zum ewigen Leben.

Thus I go hence to Jesus Christ,
I stretch out my arm,
thus I fall asleep and rest soundly;
no one can wake me
except for Jesus Christ, Son of God,
who will open the gate of heaven
and lead me to eternal life.

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