Johann Hermann Schein's Cymbalum Sionium is a collection of Italianate poly choral pieces. It actually predates Schütz' Psalmen Davids, a collection in a similar style, by several years. While less brilliant and "Venetian" in character than the Schütz collection, the Schein pieces have a grave beauty all of their own. Today's eight-voice setting of the great passage from the third chapter of the Gospel according to John is appropriately dark and serious. The two 4 voice choruses alternate and expressively punctuate the poignant text.
© Craig Smith