Schein's Opella Nova I is one of the first volumes of Italian style chorale arrangements published in the Baroque period. Schein, who was Cantor at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig exactly one hundred years before Bach, was a talented contemporary of Schütz. He died while in his middle forties but was a prolific and versatile composer. The chorale arrangements in Opella Nova are all for two or three voices, sometimes with obbligato instruments. The setting of "Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam" is one of the best, both colorful in its word painting and profound in its subject matter.
© Craig Smith