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A Heinrich Schutz Reader: Letters and Documents in Translation [Hardcover]

Gregory S. Johnston

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Book Description

May 22 2013
Heinrich Schutz (1585-1672) was the most important and influential German composer of the seventeenth century. Director of music at the electoral Saxon court in Dresden, he was lauded by his German contemporaries as "the father of our modern music", as "the Orpheus of our time." Yet despite the esteem in which his music is still held today, Schutz himself and the rich cultural environment in which he lived continue to be little known or understood beyond the linguistic borders of his native Germany. Drawing on original manuscript and print sources, A Heinrich Schutz Reader brings the composer to life through more than 150 documents by or about Heinrich Schutz, from his earliest studies under Giovanni Gabrieli to accounts of his final hours. Editor and translator Gregory S. Johnston penetrates the archaic script, confronts the haphazard orthography and obsolete vocabulary, and untangles the knotted grammatical constructions and syntax to produce translations that allow English speakers, as never before, to engage the composer directly. Most of the German, Latin and Italian documents included in this volume appear for the first time in English translation. A number of these texts have not even been printed in their original language. Dedications and prefaces of his printed music, letters and memoranda, poetry and petitions, travel passes and contracts, all offer immediate and unabridged access to the composer's life. To habituate the reader ever more in Schutz's world, the entries are richly annotated with biographical detail; clarifications of professional relationships and ancestral lines; information on geographic regions, domains, cities, courts and institutions; and references to biblical, classical and contemporary literary sources. Johnston opens a door for researchers and scholars across a broad range of disciplines, and at the same time provides an historical complement and literary companion for anyone who has come to appreciate the beauty of Schutz's music.

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Review


"Gregory Johnston translates 169 documents by or about Schutz in an attractive volume
suitable for scholars, performers, and students... Johnston's annotations, which appear in footnotes, provide much-needed contextual information to situate the documents in their religious, political, economic, and social settings... The quality of the translations, Johnston's adherence to stylistic principles of the seventeenth century, and his rich annotations help draw in students, performers, and scholars from disciplines of history, art history, Germanic studies, cultural history, and religious studies." --Renaissance Quarterly


"An excellent insight into what Schütz achieved...An invaluable source for (specialist) researchers...Read it and you are more than likely to want to revisit his music; and in so doing get more from it than previously. Musicologically, A Heinrich Schütz Reader is a technical success. But its scope is sufficiently wide for the book to be both relevant and appealing to many constituencies other than musicologists." --ClassicalNet


"[An] immense amount of painstaking research that has gone into the book... The texts are equipped with helpful and detailed notes, explaining unusual terms and biblical references, giving information about the correspondents and other figures referred to, and clearing up matters of dating." --Daphnis


"[W]ill serve readers of English and the many admirers of [Schütz's] music very well." --Musical Times


"Gregory Johnston has produced a powerful companion to all interested in Heinrich Schütz, 17th-century music, and life at court. The breadth of material presented and the quality of the translation make this an indispensable addition to the library of the Baroque enthusiast, performer, or musicologist." --Early Music America


"Johnston's central contribution stands as editor of the largest collection of documents by or about Schütz in English. This alone makes the volume a constant companion of scholars of seventeenth-century German music and Baroque culture. The quality of the translations, Johnston's adherence to stylistic principles of the seventeenth century, and his rich annotations help draw in students, performers, and scholars from disciplines of history, art history, Germanic studies, cultural history, and religious studies." --Renaissance Quarterly


"Beautifully produced...A welcome and superb resource dedicated to a great composer who deserves to be far better known. It would be of real interest to the scholar, musicologist, student, those interested in cultural, social, and church history and to all lovers of Baroque music." --American Organist


"[T]he most comprehensive collection of Schütz documents to date... Recommended." --Choice


About the Author

Gregory S. Johnston is Associate Professor of Musicology at the University of Toronto.

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