Schütz: Die Vögel unter dem Himmel (Sacred Choral Music)

The massed voices of the 140-strong National Youth Choir revel in the magnificence of Schütz’s soaring lines, complemented by John Kitchen’s contributions on the powerful Rieger organ of St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh. Revered by his contemporaries as the ‘Orpheus of our time’, Schütz would never have heard his music performed by forces such as these and on such a scale – surely he would have been a strong advocate of this astounding aural experience. Kitchen’s solo contributions contextualise the choral music with organ works by Samuel Scheidt and other contemporaries of Schütz.

"On the whole the choral singing is admirably disciplined and contoured. The most impressive passages tend to be the fullest homophonic sections which close pieces; but "So I go to Jesus Christ" shows that the choir is also adept at music requiring lighter and flexible singing."


"choral singing of the very first rank"

"something very, very special ... superb music, brilliantly interpreted and well recorded"



"Inevitably the 140-strong National Youth Choir of Great Britain sounds big and opulent in these performances of music by the grand master of the early German Baroque, Heinrich Schütz. Yet its legendary director, Michael Brewer, manages to overcome the hefty numbers and the ringing church acoustic, with singing of psalms and other sacred settings which is well-enunciated and never overblown. John Kitchen stylishly punctuates the vocal music with organ works by Scheidt, Schiedemann and Sweelinck."

"The Choir’s attention to the all-important marriage of words and melody that came as much from Schütz’s Italian experiences as anywhere is exemplary: never forced or self-conscious but deliberate yet benevolent. As if the Choir is singing just for you but without any sense of servility or reticence: the music is exposed in all its fervent polish and delicacy – just as is. The Choir and Brewer see no need to embellish in order to persuade. Still, the Choir’s trenchant, engaged and vigorous singing draws the listener into the music without fuss or frills."

"There is at work here an amazing sense of choral discipline combined with genuinely exultant joy. As if this were not enough, these uplifting performances of Schütz’s choral music are interspersed with organ music by Samuel Scheidt, beautifully played by John Kitchen. Most highly recommended, and not only to admirers of Schütz."


"the singing is vivid, text-based, rhythmic and exciting."


"The range of dynamics and clarity of articulation is excellent, especially considering the size of the choir – 140 strong. The tuning in Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnung is excellent, with the choir creating a wonderful antiphonal effect between the upper and lower voices. It is very refreshing to hear such vibrancy and attention to detail from such young singers."


"Under Mike Brewer’s masterly direction, the enormous ensemble sings as one – a phenomenal feat of musicianship and discipline. Dr Kitchen’s fine organ solos, which feature pieces by Scheidt, Scheidemann and Sweelinck, make a significant contribution to this fine release."


Release date: 28 April 2008
Catalogue No: DCD34043
Total playing time: 1:14:16
Recorded on 16-17 September 2006, 12-13 April 2007 at St Alban the Martyr, London and 4-5 August 2007 at Merton College Chapel, Oxford
Producer: Paul Baxter
Engineer: Adam Binks
24-bit digital editing: Adam Binks
24-bit digital mastering: Paul Baxter
Design: Drew Padrutt
Photography: Paul Baxter & Dr Raymond Parks

Album Booklet

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