Schütz’ Symphoniae Sacrae

Memorial to Heinrich Schütz, Kreuzkirche, Dresden

Memorial to Heinrich Schütz, Kreuzkirche, Dresden

This Sunday, September 26th at the 10:30 am service, we are in for another musical treat. The offertory will be one of Heinrich Schütz’ concertos or sacred symphonies, “Vater Abraham, erbarme dich mein, SWV 477.” It is an exact repetition of the Gospel lesson (Luke 16:19-31) for this Sunday, except it’s in German. David Del Rocco, long-time singer in the bass section, will be singing the solos, accompanied by two violins (Chad Uyehara and Dayna Furusawa), cello (Teresa McCreary) and organ, alternating with two sopranos (Rachel Lentz and Naomi Castro) and the choir.

Here’s the translation:

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.  In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house–for I have five brothers–that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'”

Spacious galleries in the Kreuzkirche

Spacious galleries in the Kreuzkirche

Three years ago Carl and I visited the Kreuzkirche in Dresden, where Schütz was a church musician for 55 years. We marveled at the wonderful acoustical space with its many galleries, and could easily imagine why Schütz composed music for multiple choirs, located all over the building.

The choir will sing verses of Psalm 27, “Eins bitte ich vom Herren” by Schütz during the communion.

Carl thought that as long as we are having instrumentalists, they may as well play the prelude and postlude, too, so we will perform two of Mozart’s so-called “church sonatas” for strings and organ (K 144 and K 68). Too bad we didn’t do those last week on our mini-Mozart festival!

About Katherine Crosier

In addition to playing the organ I am interested in documenting life's special moments through journaling, scrapbooking, photography and slideshow production. My family just groans.
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