Additionally, the influence of the Dutch composers of the sixteenth century is also prominent in his work. His best known works are in the field of sacred music, ranging from solo voice with instrumental accompaniment to a cappella choral music. Schütz's music, while starting off in the most progressive styles early in his career, eventually grows into a style that is simple and almost austere, culminating in his late Passion settings. Practical considerations were certainly responsible for part of this change: the Thirty Years' War had devastated the musical infrastructure of Germany, and it was no longer practical or even possible to put on the gigantic works in the Venetian style which marked his earlier period. Schütz was one of the last composers to write in a modal style.
His harmonies often result from the contrapuntal alignment of voices rather than from any sense of harmonic motion; contrastingly, much of his music shows a strong tonal pull when approaching cadences. His music includes a great deal of imitation, but structured in such a way that the successive voices do not necessarily enter after the same number of beats or at predictable intervallic distances. Schütz's writing often includes intense dissonances caused by the contrapuntal motion of voices moving in correct individual linear motion, but resulting in startling harmonic tension. Above all, his music displays extreme sensitivity to the accents and meaning of the text, which is often conveyed using special technical figures drawn from musica poetica, themselves drawn from or created in analogy to the verbal figures of classical rhetoric. Almost no secular music by Schütz has survived, save for a few domestic songs (Arien) and no purely instrumental music at all (unless one counts the short instrumental movement entitled "sinfonia" that encloses the dialogue of Die sieben Worte), even though he had a reputation as one of the finest organists in Germany. Schütz was of great importance in bringing new musical ideas to Germany from Italy, and as such had a great influence on the German music which was to follow.
The style of the north German organ school derives largely from Schütz (as well as from the Dutchman Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck); a century later this music was to culminate in the work of J.S. Bach. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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