Hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, a collection of love songs grew up. Under the title of the “Most beautiful of songs”, they found a home in the Old Testament-it was Martin Luther who first gave them the name of “Song of songs”-and since that time they have inspired and fascinated a vast number of theologians, mystics, philosophers, poets, painters, and, last but not least, composers. Particularly during the Baroque period, these poetic, sensual, vividly descriptive texts were set over and over again to music, and they inspired librettists to expand on the original texts. Some of the most beautiful settings of the Song of Songs were produced in Germany. One classic example is the motet for double chorus, Steh auf, meine Freundin (Arise, my beloved) (SWV 498) by Heinrich Schütz. It is among the few of his surviving compositions which have not been printed. We still know little of the background for this lively work; it has been dated approximately 1650.Download booklet
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