Grand Concerto: Saul, was verfolgst du mich
Henrich Schutz (1585-1672)
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 4 Tracks 40-41
Paul and Schutz did well enough without the Internet. Mass communication and the up-to-the minute-avant-guard can only be fleeting. These two gained ideas on their travels that they would take with them and, with time, influence the world. Though times have changed, listeners today have no more advantage then the listener's in Henrich's home town. And music, like religion, progresses no faster or better today than it did then.
I imagine the voice that converted Saul was a complex sound. If I am right it would be a low soft voice, a high piercing voice, many voices and only one voice all at once. It would be cacophony and silence. Inspired by the Italians, Schutz did well to recreate such a voice. The brief excerpt we have in this anthology remains as a memorial to Paul's career. It is also a memorial to the success of Schutz in appropriating Italian advancements. Furthermore, the lesson of both Paul's and Henrich's histories is that beliefs grow from belief.
What I like about this rowdy chorus work is the single voice that becomes fixated on Saul's name. This happens toward the conclusion of the excerpt. As the rest of the ensemble becomes more preoccupied with making noise, the persistence of this voice keeps the work focused on the personal message that is directed to Saul. It also provides the listener's ears a vantage point from which to comprehend the splendor of the whole.
Read also Kyle Gann's argument that reports of our speed are greatly overestimated