Concert

RIAS Kammerchor Berlin & Ensemble Promena

Justin Doyle, conductor
Sinfonietta of Psalms

The “Sinfonietta of Psalms” is the title that Justin Doyle, the Director of the RIAS Kammerchor Berlin, has given to this evening – alluding to Igor Stravinsky’s famous “Symphony of Psalms”. The programme includes psalm settings by composers such as Heinrich Schütz, William Byrd, Henry Purcell, Claudio Monteverdi and Orlando Gibbons.

A group of people under a tree are looking intently at a target outside the frame.

Pieter Breughel the Younger: "The Sermon of John the Baptist" (detail), 1604

© National Museum in Krakow, via Wikimedia Commons

“Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied“ (Sing the Lord a new song): just as Johann Sebastian Bach was concerned to make the words of the Bible tangible and present in sonic form in what is probably his most famous motet, BWV 225 for a mixed double choir, Heinrich Schütz created a similar “musical sermon” in his double choir setting of Psalm 98, in which he artfully captured the meaning of the words and their effect in music – with “speaking“ figures, for example in the phrase “denn er tut Wunder” (for he performs miracles), where the audience is surprised by 23 vocal entries in the space of a few moments, the persuasive illustration of “streams of water” running backwards and the imitation of musical instruments mentioned in the lyrics: in the section “Lobet den Herren mit Harfen und Psalmen! Mit Drommeten und Posaunen” (Praise the Lord with harps and psalms! With trumpets and trombones) Schütz imitates skilfully plucked harp sounds in the choral part before apparently producing the sounds of a trumpet fanfare complete with trombone calls. These two psalm settings by Schütz and Bach frame this year’s Musikfest Berlin programme from the RIAS Kammerchor Berlin, which is internationally famed for its homogeneous and transparent sound. The programme also includes additional psalm settings by composers such as William Byrd, Henry Purcell, Claudio Monteverdi and Orlando Gibbons. The musical direction is provided by Principal Conductor and Artistic Director Justin Doyle, who is equally renowned for his ingenious programming and his dramatic readings of individual works.

Concert Programme

Heinrich Schütz (1585 – 1672)
Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied SWV 35 from Psalmen Davids (Dresden, 1619)

Orlando Gibbons
Galliard in G for six instrumental voices

William Byrd (1539/40 – 1623)
Anthem Sing joyfully

Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695)
Fantasia upon one note for five instrumental voices Z 745

Anthem Hear my prayer Z.15

Partsong Jehovah, quam multi sunt hostes mei Z 135

Johann Jakob Löwe (1629 – 1703)
Suite No. 3 in G minor for five instrumental voices (Bremen, 1658)

Heinrich Schütz
Der Herr ist mein Hirt SWV 33 from Psalmen Davids (Dresden, 1619)

Henry Purcell
Anthem O sing unto the Lord Z 44

Claudio Monteverdi (1567 – 1643)
Dixit Dominus SV 191 (Venice, 1650)

Johann Sebastian Bach
Sinfonia from the cantata Der Herr denket an uns BWV 196

Heinrich Schütz
Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen SWV 29 from Psalmen Davids (Dresden, 1619)

Francesco Cavalli (1602 – 1676)
Canzona for eight instrumental voices (Venice, 1656)

Johann Sebastian Bach
Motet Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied BWV 225

Cast

RIAS Kammerchor Berlin
Ensemble Promena
Justin Doyle conductor

A Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin event in cooperation with the RIAS Kammerchor Berlin