In 1623, when the Thirty Years War was raging, Europe was torn apart by the confrontation between Protestant and Catholic peoples. Schütz and Schein, close friends with a deep-rooted Lutheran faith, were thoroughly in accordance with the spirit of their time when they wrote these works imbued with frugality, humility, even austerity. Yet these two great minds were still driven by a burning passion, paradoxically very attached to Italianate style, which is very evident here. With his ensemble La Tempête, Simon-Pierre Bestion has now become established as one of the most creative interpreters on today’s musical scene, revisiting the repertory, juxtaposing works in varying styles and from different periods, as he demonstrated in his first two recordings for Alpha (The Tempest – Diapason d’Or – and Azahar – Choc de Classica). At the head of an exceptional group of performers, equally at home in medieval and contemporary music, he presents here a ‘rewrite’ for a large and colourful orchestra, featuring a Lebanese singer specialising in Byzantine chant in the role of the Evangelist: a radical new take on the ardent mysticism buried in this music, bringing it unexpected vitality and warmth.
This is an inspired exploration of the Resurrection story. A Lebanese singer takes the role of the narrator, his eastern inflections uniting Byzantine and Gregorian chants.
BBC Music Magazine
The selections from Israelis Brünnlein alone are worth the price of admission.
The sound is ideal; clear, uncluttered, by turn intimate and monumental. The vivacity of Bestion’s superb ensemble, the warm expressivity of the singing and a palpable sense of informed adventure add up to a fascinating and unusual issue.
Early Music Review
I found that Schütz’s rather long workaday recits were remarkably animated by this unorthodox (or rather orthodox in its truest sense) approach. The accompanying instruments in both the Schütz and Schein were wonderfully sonorous and expressive.
Early Music Review