The 50th International Heinrich-Schütz-Festival brought us to Karlsruhe from October 10-13 this year. Even though the city of Karlsruhe did not yet exist in Schütz’s lifetime, there are nonetheless direct connections to Durlach, a district of present-day Karlsruhe, through the wedding on 24 August 1613 of Landgrave Otto of Hessen-Kassel, the oldest son of Landgrave Moritz of Hessen-Kassel, with Katharina Ursula of Baden, the daughter of Margrave Georg Friedrich of Baden-Durlach. These contacts were the reason why we spent the first day of the Festival in Durlach. The opening event in the Karlsburg, the residence of the Margraves of Baden-Durlach since 1565, was framed by Christian-Markus Raiser playing harpsichord music of the seventeenth century from a manuscript owned by the Durlach school professor Michael Bulyovszky. We were especially honoured to have Wolfgang Rihm join us for the roundtable discussion. After the city tour, the Johann Rosenmüller Ensemble performed music by Heinrich Schütz, Leonhardt Sailer and Georg Christoph Strattner in the Durlach Stadtkirche, which in the seventeenth century also served as the court chapel, and where this music was heard for the first time again in almost 350 years. The high-calibre scholarly symposium in the Badische Landesbibliothek explored the topic “Representational Music in Residences of Schütz’s Time”. The impressive programme of this year’s Schütz- Festival comprised, moreover, a course on the interpretation and performance of Schütz’s music led by Hans Christoph Rademann; a vocal a capella concert in the Zentrum für Kunst und Medien, presenting music from Schütz to Rihm under the direction of KMD Christian-Markus Raiser; a concert with excerpts from the Psalmen Davids with the Dresdner Kammerchor; an organ walk; a viewing at the Kunsthalle Karlsruhe; a concert featuring music from the wedding at Rudolstadt in 1638 with the Bremer Barock Consort led by Manfred Cordes; and a concert with settings of Psalm 116 from the collection “Angst der Hellen und Friede der Seelen” of 1623. The Festival concluded with the customary celebratory service in the Evangelische Stadtkirche Karlsruhe. The music was provided by the Karlsruhe choirs Cantus Juvenum, Lutherana and the Durlach singing school, with the participation of those members of our Society who were keen to sing. The final concert also involved the Nordbadische Bläserensemble, which treated us to a matinee after the service. We would like to express our thanks here to KMD Christian-Markus Raiser and the organisational team in Karlsruhe for their outstanding efforts. All of the events were very well attended, showing that the conception of the 50th International Heinrich-Schütz-Festival was perfectly tailored to the local setting.
The 51st International Heinrich-Schütz-Festival will take place in the old Hanseatic town of Lemgo on September 24-27, 2020. The last time our Society met there was in 1964, and we gratefully take up the invitation of the Festival mixTour and the Weserrenaissance-Museum Schloss Brake to hold our annual meeting in 2020 there.
I wish all our Society members a restful advent season, a merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year 2020.