Johann Hermann Schein was one of the most famous predecessors of Johann Sebastian Bach as Thomaskantor in Leipzig. Like Bach he was very much interested in and influenced by the Italian music of his time, although neither of them had ever been in Italy. And the similarity goes even further: both aimed at combining the contemporary Italian style with traditional polyphony.
Schein's Israelsbrünnlein (Fountains of Israel), published in the year
1623 and dedicated to the Leipzig city government, is designated as
a set of sacred madrigals for five voices. From this set of 27 short
settings of psalms and other lyrical passages from the Bible, comes
today’s motet Zion spricht: Der Herr hat mich verlassen. The text is
from today’s Old Testament reading: Isaiah 49: 14-16. A typical 5 voice
setting by Schein, alto voice is cleverly used in a dual role – both
as the lowest female voice, but also the highest male voice. The Italian
manner in which Schein sets the text is, for the most part, that of
early Monteverdi, giving distinct text painting to each phrase.